The action group Faithful America is one of a number of groups calling to protest Trinity Wall Street. Their email petition reads:
TELL TRINITY CHURCH: DON’T JAIL OCCUPY ACTIVISTS
One of America’s wealthiest churches is trying to send Occupy Wall Street activists to prison.
Last year, Occupy Wall Street sought sanctuary on vacant property owned by Trinity Wall Street Episcopal Church when they were evicted from Zuccotti Park. The church’s rector, ignoring pleas from Christian leaders like Archbishop Desmond Tutu, had the occupiers arrested and charged with criminal trespass.
Those arrested, including a retired Episcopal bishop, are scheduled to go on trial next week. They’re facing up to 90 days in prison, but so far Trinity’s leaders are cooperating with the prosecution and falsely claiming that the situation is now out of their control.
So a group of prominent New York City pastors is organizing a last-minute prayer vigil seeking to have the charges dropped. We’re hoping to give them a petition signed by over 10,000 people to deliver to Trinity Wall Street — will you add your name?
No one should go to jail for nonviolently seeking sanctuary on church property. Trinity Wall Street, please practice forgiveness and do everything in your power to have the charges against Occupy Wall Street activists dropped.
The Village Voice reports that Trinity Wall Street insists that their hands are tied:
Trinity has responded to emails on the subject with the following statement:
Trinity does not have the legal ability to drop charges. Those cases are being prosecuted by the District Attorney’s office. However, Trinity has contacted the District Attorney’s office and has been advised that the District Attorney has offered non-criminal dispositions without fines or incarceration to all those defendants who were arrested and charged with trespassing for simply being present at Duarte Square.”
The Village Voice continues:
Gideon Oliver of the National Lawyers Guild says this statement is misleading on several counts. For one thing, while many of those arrested were offered and have declined Adjournments in Contemplation of Dismissal, not all of them have. For another, its disingenuous for Trinity to claim it has no control over the outcome in these cases. Sure, the District Attorney is in charge of the prosecution, but without the testimony of the church’s lawyer, Amy Jedlicka, prosecutors would have no case.
Protesters launched a picket outside yesterday’s service, carrying signs that read “Forgive us our trespasses,” “Who would Jesus Prosecute?” and “Trinity Wall Street: Real Estate Company or Church?”