A faithful protest on Moral Monday

June 11, 2013 

Gov. Pat McCrory says protesters who have rallied and been arrested at the state Legislative Building during “Moral Monday” demonstrations are “outsiders.”

This Monday there indeed was a prominent presence in the crowd who hails from beyond North Carolina – God.

Well, maybe not the Creator himself, but a lot of people who regularly speak to him. Members of the clergy lent the power of their presence in the sixth week of the NAACP-led protests. They were among nearly 1,000 people who turned out to object to legislative efforts to, among other things, shift the tax burden downward, cut benefits for the unemployed, cut education funding and reject an expansion of Medicaid to many of the working poor. More than 80 people were arrested, many of them clergy.

The ministers, priests and rabbis turned the pattern of protesters entering the People’s House to be arrested into something of a religious ritual. The clergy formed two lines, and as protesters walked between them into the building, they were showered with blessings.

It was heartening to see the religious leaders come forth. Their presence refutes claims that the protesters are extremists and not reflective of the state. That clergy have joined the crowd shows that objections to the legislature’s course are arising from the hearts – and the consciences – of North Carolina communities.

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