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‘Moral Monday’ demonstrations update

‘Moral Monday’ demonstrations update

Two recent stories on the Moral Monday demonstrations in North Carolina involve Episcopal Clergy:

Newsobserver.com writes on The Rev. Jane Holmes:

An Episcopal priest is barred from ministering to inmates at the Mecklenburg County jail because she was arrested during a “Moral Monday” protest at the state legislature….

Like other protesters who have rallied at the legislature on Monday evenings for 10 weeks, Holmes believes Republican-led policies will harm North Carolina, including laws cutting benefits to the unemployed, restricting voting, and refusing federal Medicaid money for the working poor….

“The more I thought about it, I thought this governor is trying to push North Carolina back into the ’60s and that’s not right,” Holmes said. “As Christians, we are supposed to be supporting one another. We’re supposed to be protecting the poor, also respecting the stranger … and loving our neighbors.”

The article quotes the Sheriff Office’s rational behind their action.

Joel Burgess writes in the Black Mountain News:

A powerful state senator’s recent outburst shows progressive protests are working, local demonstrators say.

Black Mountain musician and international peace activist David LaMotte was one of half a dozen Swannanoa Valley residents submitting to arrest at General Assembly protests in Raleigh. Four of the six were active and former clergy, including Lamotte’s retired Presbyterian father, John, and the Rev. Scott Oxford, of St. James Episcopal Church in Black Mountain….

The story reveals that Oxford told his congregation of his plans to be arrested.

Growing up with little means in Morganton, Oxford said his family was called “poor white trash.” Now as an Episcopal minister it is his job to be a voice for “the the weak, the poor, the helpless, and the destitute. And those who have no power and no voice themselves,” he said….

“I’m convinced that the effect, it may not be short-term but in the long-term all these small actions will build to change. And there’s an old adage that I find strength in: ‘The seed never sees the flower, but we sow the seeds nonetheless,’” he said.

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Julie

I completely agree with the sheriff on this one.

Yes, the Rev. Holmes is free to protest, but she had to know that being arrested would have consequences for working in a jail. Even as a monthly volunteer priest at a prison, I was warned that any arrest would end my volunteer service. It’s just a given that the people working in a prison/jail setting must be held to a high standard of legal compliance. It strikes me as odd, and somewhat arrogant, to think that rules necessary to ensure safety and discipline in the jail shouldn’t apply to the Rev. Holmes just because she’s a priest.

Further, I would guess that every single person who engages in a protest that violates the law does so knowing the act can have detrimental consequences — including getting a criminal record and all the attendant costs that comes from such a record. (After all, it’s not civil disobedience if one is not disobeying….) A disciple, whether lay or ordained, who is protesting in the name of Jesus Christ and is willing to pay such costs in His name can be someone truly to be admired.

(And I say “can be” because protests in the name of Christ don’t always reflect my understanding of Christ -e.g., those who cross the legal protest line in intimidating patients at abortion clinics or trying to disrupt same-sex weddings.)

Julie Murdoch+

tgflux

An Episcopal priest is barred from ministering to inmates at the Mecklenburg County jail because she was arrested during a “Moral Monday” protest

Disgraceful. The Rev. Holmes is giving her allegiance to Jesus, not Caesar. God bless her, and all the MMers!

JC Fisher

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