480 Religious Leaders Arrested On ‘Moral Monday’ For Protesting UnChristian GOP Policies (VIDEO)

 More than 480 North Carolina faith leaders have been arrested for protesting GOP policies on Moral Mondays.

These faith leaders risk jail every week on ‘Moral Mondays’ to protest the NC GOP’s senselessly cruel agenda. Do Tea Party demonstrators ever get arrested? Photo from Think Progress.

Watch out, conservatives. The REAL ‘moral majority‘ is in town, and this time they’re coming from the left. The New Observer reports that Raleigh, North Carolina police arrested 84 demonstrators this Monday for protesting a slew of blatantly cruel and immoral policies promoted — and often enacted — by a Republican governor and GOP-led state legislature. Some of these leaders were taken to jail while praying for an end to the GOP’s agenda. Organized by clergy and diverse groups, including the NAACP, five religious denominations, and Raging Grannies, the weekly “Moral Monday” civil disobedience events at the state house have been gathering steam since launching in late April. This latest round brings the total number of religious leaders and other citizens arrested to more than 480:

For the seventh Monday since April 29, a growing crowd of demonstrators gathered late in the afternoon outside the legislative building to raise voices of dissatisfaction with the Republican majority’s legislative agenda.

Although Governor Pat McCrory dismisses the protesters as “outsiders,” researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill interviewed 316 people and discovered this wasn’t at all the case. Only five respondents came from out-of-state, most came from within or around the immediate Research Triangle area, and the demographics fairly reflected the state’s population:

The average age of the protesters, according to the UNC researchers, was 53, with 25 percent under age 36. Sixty percent were female, and the racial breakdown largely matched the 2010 Census findings – 79 percent were white, 17 percent African-American, 6 percent Hispanic and the rest were Asian, Pacific Islander, Indian or other.

Elizabeth Benefield, a 53-year-old fundraiser, came with her 17-year-old daughter and told reporters:

“I want the legislators who are intending to roll back our rights to hear our voice and know we’re not in favor of it. There’s too much at stake, and justice will always prevail. They can pretend not to listen, but we cannot be silenced.”

Alas, North Carolina’s liberals have little hope of warming the cold, shriveled hearts of their Republican lawmakers or persuading them to reverse their laws or change their agenda. They’re just biding their time in hopes of throwing the bums out when the 2014 elections roll around.  Reverend Dr. William Barber, president of the NAACP’s North Carolina chapter and the most visible leader of this emerging grassroots movement told the American Prospect:

“We’re going to make sure that the contrast is so clear between meanness and immorality and extreme politics and the politics of love and justice and compassion, that when 2014 comes, the people will be able to make a decision.”

It’s not surprising that folks are turning out in droves to reject the GOP’s increasingly heavy-handed, senselessly cruel, and regressive legislation. The list for this litany of complaints is at least 12 items long and growing, according to information gathered in articles by Think ProgressJack Jenkins, and Addicting Info‘s Stephen D. Foster, Jr. and Deborah Montesano:

  1. Rejected Obamacare’s Medicare expansion, which — according to a study of 14 states whose GOP governors oppose the expansion — will cost over $8.4 billion per year and leave 3.6 million uninsured (the study did not provide figures for individual states).
  2. Passed discriminatory voter ID laws that will effectively bar seniors, people of color, young people, and low income people from voting.
  3. Proposed legislation that would discourage college students from voting by denying tax deductions to parents whose children register to vote at school instead of their home towns.
  4. Gave tentative approval for a budget that would  divert $90 million in public education funds towards school vouchers that can be applied to private schools, charters, and even “bible-based” education.
  5. The above budget will also cut early education funding for 30,000 children.
  6. Terminated unemployment benefits for 70,000 North Carolina residents who are out of work.
  7. Overrode a veto in order to authorize hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Thankfully, a North Carolina House panel has managed to instate and uphold a moratorium on fracking.
  8. Repealed the 2009 Racial Justice Act, which allows prisoners on death row to appeal their sentence if racial bias influenced their conviction.
  9. Raised taxes on 95% of North Carolina’s population, while cutting taxes for the top 5%, costing the state $1.6 billion over 5 years.
  10. Made an unconstitutional attempt to impose Christianity as the official state religion.
  11. Require humiliating background checks for people applying for food stamps.
  12. Proposed a “Healthy Marriage Act” that would make it harder to get divorced and force domestic violence victims to get counseling with their abusers.

In his inspiring Open Letter to State Leaders — recorded on video — the ever-riveting Reverend Dr. Barber states in his rich, resonant baritone:

“I’m calling on [State House] Speaker [Thom] Tillis, Governor McCrory, and the Pro Tem [State Senate] Leader [Phil] Berger to look into the eyes of the people affected by the policies of cynicism and the policies of division are sowing, and see the hurt it will reap in North Carolina.”

Here’s the video:

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