In a direct action by church progressives who have repeatedly decried the federal spending cuts affecting the poor, more than 100 activists were arrested for blocking an entrance to a congressional office building during a frigid, pre-Christmas confrontation as the House and Senate struggled to pass bills funding the 2006 national budget.
Mainline church leaders and socially liberal evangelicals realize that most Republican lawmakers believe they can afford politically to disregard church petitions on the issue. The result: a nonviolent demonstration on December 14 that led to a reported 114 arrests.
Demonstrators singing “Caring for our neighbors, we shall not be moved” were frisked, photographed and booked on trespassing charges by Capitol Police officers. The misdemeanor carries a $250 fine or 90 days in jail. The event was choreographed by two groups that focus on poverty, Sojourners and Call to Renewal.