Today, at the U.S. Capitol, some friends of mine were arrested because they care a lot about the poor. They sought to give witness to members of Congress that the budget bill drawn up by Speaker John Boehner is travesty, especially for the poor and vulnerable.
Arrested were people like Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause (also a Methodist minister), Rabbi Arthur Waskow of the Shalom Center in Philadelphia, Rev. C. Welton Gaddy of the Interfaith Alliance, Rev. Jim Winkler, general secretary, General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, and Rev. Jennifer Butler, Executive Director, Faith and Public Life. Sr. Simone Campbell, a Sister of Social Service and director of NETWORK, was an official observer.
"Congress is paralyzed by toxic partisan politics while people suffer," wrote the Rev. Michael Livingston, a past president of the National Council of the Churches of Christ (USA), one of those arrested. "Our elected officials are protecting corporations and wealthy individuals while shredding the safety net for millions of the most vulnerable people in our nation and abroad. Our faith won't allow us to passively watch this travesty unfold."
No Catholic bishops appeared at the Capitol, but I was delighted to discover that the USCCB wrote a letter to all members of the House strongly opposing that same budget bill that the protestors oppose.
The bishops rejected the "cut-spending-only" approach of the Republicans, called for shared sacrifice, advocated less military spending, and strongly urged protection for the poor and vulnerable. And, in spite of the polls, it also called for generous spending for international aid. Here is a link to an article by Dave Gibson with more details.