Friday, May 31, 2013

CLT clergy wind up in jail for protesting legislature

Some Charlotte clergy have been getting arrested and they’re eager to tell you why.

 In recent weeks, these Baptist, Presbyterian and Unitarian Universalist ministers have traveled to Raleigh to protest what they consider the General Assembly’s assault on the poor, teachers, minorities, and the unemployed.

 They’ve joined hundreds of other dissidents – professors, doctors, lawyers, students, senior citizens – to sing, pray, chant, clog the halls of the Legislative Building and, in some cases, get arrested.

The state NAACP, which organizes the protests every Monday, dubbed them “Moral Mondays.”

So far, four Charlotte clergy have been arrested, though that number may grow on the Mondays to come.

Among the protesters who’ve been charged with second-degree trespassing and failure to disperse on command: The Revs. Peter Wherry, pastor of Mayfield Memorial Missionary Baptist; Rodney Sadler, associate professor at Union Presbyterian Seminary; Kojo Nantambu, pastor of Green Oak Missionary Baptist (and president of the local NAACP); and Robin Tanner, minister of Piedmont Unitarian Universalist.

Tanner, 29, who was arrested May 20, told me this was her first act of civil disobedience.

 “I call it moral obedience,” she said. Acting on behalf of vulnerable people, she said, “is at the core of every religious tradition that I know of.”

 She cited the Republican-run legislature’s decision to cut back unemployment benefits, refuse to accept more people on Medicaid (the federal health-care plan for the poor), and prohibit people without a photo ID from voting.

In the face of such action, Tanner said, “there’s a sense of powerlessness – what else can we do?”

She said it was “deeply humbling” to be arrested. As in: having your hands zip-tied behind you and then being searched, finger-printed and photographed.

She and other arrestees were bused to the Wake County Detention Center, where she remained for four hours.

Her court date is in July.

Yes, there was some fear, she said. “But then I remembered I wasn’t there for me.”

This week, Tanner blogged about her experience.

On Sunday (June 2), Tanner’s congregation will join with two other UU churches to support “Moral Mondays.” The service, featuring several speakers, is 6:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte, 234 N. Sharon Amity Road. Its minister: the Rev. Jay Leach.

Then, on Monday (June 3), dozens of Charlotte-area UUs will travel to Raleigh for what’s being called “Mega-Moral Monday.”

And on June 10, Sadler ( and others are organizing a “Moral Monday” in Raleigh that will feature hundreds of clergy from around the state. More than 40 Charlotte ministers have committed to joining that protest, he reported.

“This is really a non-partisan event,” said Sadler of Union Presbyterian Seminary, whose academic specialty is the Bible. “It’s these policies that are the problem.”

-- Tim Funk


Anonymous said...

"This is really a non-partisan event".

No, it's really a non-event.

Keep trying, y'all.

Maybe you need to threaten us with another "D-Day"...

Too bad no one's actually rioting anywhere to pose a credible threat.

kantstanzya said...

Nice try. But no one "wound up in jail for protesting the legislature." They got arrested for "trespassing and failure to disperse"... harassing and disturbing the legislature from conducting the business they were elected by a majority to do.

They have every right to protest policies. They might to take some lessons from the Tea Party on how to do it peacefully and legally. But then that is not what they really wanted anyway... is it?

Clay said...

God Bless these moral crusaders.

God will judge them very favorably in the next life and punish the Republican legislators that decided to cut back unemployment benefits, refuse to accept more people on Medicaid, the federal health-care plan for the poor, and prohibit people without a photo ID from voting.

God is speaking directly to these fine folks to do his work here on earth.

Anonymous said...

I think their mission has about as much focus as Occupy Wallstreet did. It they had one law they were trying to overturn (that I agreed with them on) I would respect them.
Unfortunately they are embarrassing themselves and the churches they serve. First of all they are coming rightout and protesting a republican majority legislature... Sorry but that is pure politics that is not religion or God telling you to go get arrested. Then there are things like reduced unemployment benefits and not expanding medicare. Those are government handout programs. That is not a war on poor people. It isn't the governments job to provide for people. Anything they do is extra. Then there is voter ID. Self explanatory policy. Put them all together and they are all over the place. There is no way all of those laws or a republican legislature is going to disappear all at once. At least have a focus and an achievable goal. Otherwise you are just getting arrested for nothing. Which is what is happening here.

Anonymous said...

I just find this to be sad and comical at the same time.

Here you have church leaders who one would think they believe that God will provide in times of need - but instead they expect the government to instead.

The whole idea of churches is for the community to take care of one another and redistribute resources to those in need, whether they be sick hungy, unemployed but alas even these church leaders have given up and turned to the government to provide.

Anonymous said...

These are just silly arguments in the name of religion or in the name of god.
Where did God command anyone not to show ID when they vote? Did he command them to show ID when they buy alcohol or get on an airplane?

Did they have medicare or unemployment benefits in the old testament? how about the new testament? Where did God command anyone not to cut medicare or unemployment benefits. Where did he command the government to provide any of that in the first place?

Then the finale' They are protesting the republican majority legislature. Oh god has a political party now... It didn't exist in the old or new testament but he decided the republicans should not have a majority?

Translation whatever I think - I'll say god thinks
They left out the rising cost of state college tuition and teacher pay ...

Anonymous said...

Render unto Caesar...

Now go away.

Anonymous said...

If Kanstanzya is correct that the arrest charges are trespassing & failure to disperse, then this article is far from news - it's just a partisan rant, and predictably so. Yet, even in a rant, there's no reason not to include an even-handed recital of the facts, which this failed to do.

Anonymous said...

They are using non-profit tax free money to politic.

Their non-profit status should be revoked.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 9:19: Then so should the high-holy Silly Billy and Franklin "Pour Me Another" Graham.

Matt M said...

At Least they don't have to worry about the IRS auditing them. They are not "Patriots".

Anonymous said...

Matt M, they certainly aren't Patriots...more like "parasites".

Wade said...

John 18:33-37 - "Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" "Is that your own idea," Jesus asked, "or did others talk to you about me?" "Am I a Jew?" Pilate replied. "Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?" Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place." "You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.""

Romans 13:1-6 - "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God's servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing."

Maybe these clergy should spend more time reading and obeying the Bible and less time getting involved in politics. This applies to all churches: Stay out of politics. And these are not the only scriptures that show religion and politics should not mix. One more example is 1 Peter 2:13-14.

Anonymous said...

Well, it is refreshing for a change, to see clergy being arrested for crimes that will not land them on the sex-offender registry.

Ray McKinnon said...

My goodness. It seems the majority of folks here need to understand how to love others as themselves. As a member of the clergy,I plan to join in the Moral Monday protests because many of the policies of late are downright immoral. Oh, and I won't hide behind the "anonymous" heading. I'm Rev. Ray McKinnon...and that's a fact, Jack. Lil DD humor. :D