Thursday, August 11, 2011

Capitol Building Prayer vigil participants arrested

Jordan Blevins, director of the Church of the Brethren's and the National Council of Churches' Peace Witness Ministries, was arrested Thursday, July 28, along with other leaders from the faith community as they held a prayer vigil inside the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. They were released later that afternoon.

Recent events have inspired interfaith leaders to strive to promote a message calling for the President and Congress to exempt programs from budget cuts that help the most at-risk families and children. Without a sustained federal assistance program, these leaders fear they will not be able to support the country's most vulnerable in their time of need.

Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faith-based organizations are united by their shared beliefs in caring for their neighbors. Statements mad by prayer vigil participants included "Our faith calls us to lift up the voices and the stories of the most vulnerable," and "Faith leaders cannot stand idly by and watch while the mandate of the gospel to love our neighbors is violated in the halls of Congress." The interfaith leaders fear further reductions in federal assistance programs will result in heavier strains on finances of houses of worship, already suffering from decreases in contributions from their members.

Blevins said "It was a powerful experience - to kneel in prayer in the Rotunda of the Capitol building, and pray that the decisions made in that building would reflect the values of the faith that so many hold dear. That the Holy Spirit would fill that place, and move our decision makers to seek to make this world more in accordance with the will of God - and to stand where God stands, caring for the poor and feeding the hungry. And then to be arrested for doing that very thing - with 10 other persons of faith."

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