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Episcopal priests arrested on Moral Monday

Episcopal priests arrested on Moral Monday

Update on our earlier story on Moral Monday protests being held in North Carolina. Several Episcopal priests and laity have been arrested on trespass charges during the Moral Monday protest.


The Rev. Karla Marie Woggon, and The Rev Mike Cogsdale, the Rev Deb Blackwood, and 60+ others were arrested. Cogsdale and Woggon were Deputies to General Convention 2012 from Western North Carolina.

Caroline who blogs at Enough Foolishness tells of her experience:

Many (including MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry) have aptly pointed out North Carolina’s strong tradition of nonviolent resistance – most notably the Greensboro beginnings of the sit-in movement in 1960. This is part of my heritage as a North Carolinian, and yesterday, I was proud to participate in that tradition by attending Moral Mondays, a rally against the regressive, painful, and unjust agenda of the current state legislature.

So why did I choose the Duke Divinity t-shirt instead of, say, something that would speak to my Carolina Blue roots? Because at rallies like this, the slogan written on your posterboard or printed on your t-shirt points to the heart of why you’re there. It names the issue or the ideology or the institution that propels you to travel a long distance or brave extreme weather – what it is that gives you the courage to break out of your comfortable routine, choosing to lend it your voice.

Of course it really has nothing to do with the shade of blue, but rather with the weight of responsibility I feel when I mark myself as a Christian. The responsibility to advocate for the “least of these,” speaking words of hope to the hopeless and words of truth to those in power.

More photos of the arrests are here.

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Jack Ryan

Paige Baker - No. What you DID say is that "The church is saying that legislation proposed/passed by the General Assembly and signed by the governor is immoral and a violation of the Gospel's mandate." It would be hard to interpret that as anything less than a Christian mandate.

Unfortunately, a right wing fundamentalist's activism is also rooted in their faith and the scripture they cite. Which side should public policy follow?

As an American you are already 97% richer than the rest of the world's population. You use 80% more of the earth's non-renewable resources. If you drive a gasoline powered car or buy anything made in China or own stocks in any number of large corporations in your 401(k) - you are contributing to children in third world countries going hungry. No one is guiltless in the oppression and hunger of the poor. We all have the fate of millions of people in our hands. Yet no one wants to give up their personal piece of the pie. It is much easier to pass the buck. Blame someone else. To say that you are hypocritical but 'they' are more of hypocritical seems to be an awful shaky footing for claiming the moral high ground.

I agree with Ms. Hicks that words are very important. To use scripture as a broadsword is no different than what the church has done to homosexuals. Browbeating people with the Bible? Shaming people? Tell me what is Gospel based about that? It's no wonder Christians have such a negative reputation.

Would churches be willing to pay their fair share of taxes if guaranteed that their money would go to social programs? Would they be willing to put their money where their mouth is? I wonder. Would you give up your car, or your cheap electronics, your cheap food or an equitable piece of your income?

To whom much is given, much is expected. Indeed.

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Paige Baker

Jack Ryan--I didn't say anywhere that I thought we should have a "Christian government." (In fact, I find the thought of that abhorrent.) What I said was that Christians--and all people of faith--have a responsibility to hold our leaders to account when their actions are inimical to the most vulnerable among us.

My political activism is rooted in my faith and in the scripture I cited. But the public policies I support are also supported by Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Pagans, and Atheists. It's just that--in this case--most of the legislators voting for these heinous policies wave their "Christian faith" around like a broadsword. I just want to use language they supposedly understand to remind them that what they are doing bears no resemblance to Jesus' command to us--and, yes, shame them into backing down.

As for failing to live up to God's calling...of course I do. Every.Single.Day. But I don't run around bragging about it (as several of these legislators have done), and my doing so--to my knowledge at least--has never resulted in a child going to bed hungry at night. I am as hypocritical as the next person--but I don't have the fate of millions of people in my hands, as these people do.

To whom much is given, much is expected. And I'll keep using the scripture they often turn into an idol to remind them of that. That in no way should be taken to imply that I want a theocratic state.

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Jack Ryan

Does Paige Baker believe that our government should be a Christian government, governed by Bible scriptures? Or that legislators, just because they profess themselves to be Christian, run the government according to Biblical standards? Should North Carolina proclaim themselves a Christian state so we can hold our leader's feet to the fire when they don't follow the Bible?

I wonder how many of the protesters themselves live up to Matthew 25: 31-46 "at every possible opportunity." How many of us "pretend" to follow Christ, yet continually fall short.

While I agree that what the legislature is doing is immoral, I think we are on very shaky ground when we say it is immoral because it is a violation of the Gospel's mandate . . . unless we want the Bible to be the law of the land.

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Paige Baker

John Chilton--the church is not saying the problem is that Republicans are in power. The church is saying that legislation proposed/passed by the General Assembly and signed by the governor is immoral and a violation of the Gospel's mandate that we care for the least among us. We'd be down there doing this no matter who was in power.

I would be proud to lose our tax-exempt status if we do so because we are doing what Jesus commanded us to do. What the General Assembly is doing here is absolutely unconscionable--and so many of those who are doing it claim to follow Christ. I believe it is the job of this diocese and all its members to hold those elected officials to account and remind them of Matthew 25-31-46 at every possible opportunity. If we don't, why do we even bother to pretend that we follow Christ?

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Donna Hicks

I just finished a conversation with a friend around some of the language used at the rallies. I suspect we know how hard that can be to control and would suggest we each need to be mindful of what we say if we're involved. What is the language of nonviolence and peacemaking, I guess is the question. And how do we define common ground in coming together for Moral Mondays?

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