North Carolina Police Arrest Black Preachers For Praying In Protest Of Extreme GOP Agenda (VIDEO)

Reverend Dr. William Barber

Reverend Dr. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP, shortly before being arrested for protesting an onslaught of ultra-conservative legislation. Image screen captured from WRAL TV’s news report.

Apparently it’s now against the law in North Carolina to pray in protest of the un-Christian agenda of the Republican Party. Seventeen NAACP activists, including eight clergymen, were arrested on Monday for praying in protest of the recent GOP agenda that has taken the state by storm in recent weeks.

As part of their extreme agenda, the North Carolina GOP has tried to pass a law that would declare a state religion in direct violation of the Constitution. After that effort failed miserably, North Carolina Republicans introduced a bill to make divorce harder and would force domestic violence victims to wait two years and attend counseling sessions with her abuser. But the GOP didn’t stop there, one Republican actually shut down a radio show in violation of free speech because the show was critical of the GOP agenda.

Then Republicans declared war on welfare recipients with a bill that would force them to have mandatory background checks before they could receive aid. This arises at the same time these very Republicans oppose universal background checks that would prevent convicted felons and terrorists of getting guns. And to top it all off, the North Carolina GOP is pursuing a voter suppression effort in the state to limit the impact of African-Americans, women, and young people in elections.

All of these actions and more inspired the NAACP members to protest peacefully at the North Carolina capitol on Monday. NC-NAACP President Reverend William Barber said in a statement that:

“The decision to engage in civil disobedience is not one we take lightly. But the extremists are acting like the George Wallaces of the 21st century. They are pursuing a cruel, unusual and unconstitutional agenda reminiscent of the Old South. What happens in North Carolina does not stay in North Carolina. It has national implications. North Carolina is ground zero in a national struggle to defend democracy for all. This much is clear: the Republican-led legislature is standing in the way of progress and passing laws that violate fundamental constitutional rights. As leaders of moral conscience, we must draw the line somewhere. That is what this direct action is all about.”

An open letter on the NC-NAACP website went even further, declaring that “These policies are similar to those by repressive regimes in other countries, who see their own citizens as part of the problem, rather than part of the solution. If we are truly moral leaders, we must expose with our words and deeds these shameful attacks on the poor and working people of North Carolina.”

WRAL TV reported on the protest leading to the arrests. Here’s the video:

The hypocrisy here is that if these praying protesters were gun-toting Tea Party members of the Christian Right, they would not have been arrested at all. And if they had been, Republicans would be screaming bloody murder about religious freedom being attacked. But since these clergymen were black members of the liberal leaning NAACP, Republicans have no problem with police dragging them away in cuffs. It is often said that history repeats itself. And it couldn’t be any more true in the South today. Conservatives are once again waging war against civil rights, and African-American leaders are once again having to stand up to fight for those rights. This time, however, the GOP isn’t just attacking African-American’s civil rights, they’re assaulting everyone’s civil rights except their own. If you’re a conservative white male, your rights are protected, but if you’re not, your rights are threatened. And that’s not just in North Carolina, it’s in every red state in America and the only way to stop it is if the people overwhelmingly oppose Republicans until they are forced to relent or suffer the consequences at the voting booth. That is if Republicans haven’t outlawed voting by 2014.