Thursday, December 15, 2005
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Capitol Police arrested 115 religious activists who were protesting a House Republican budget plan's cuts in social programs when they refused to clear the entrance to a congressional office building Wednesday.
"These are political choices being made that are hurting low-income people," said Jim Wallis, the event's organizer and founder of the Christian ministry group Sojourners. "Don't make them the brunt of your deficit reduction and fiscal responsibility."
Outside in the frigid cold for several hours, more than 200 demonstrators sang religious and holiday songs, prayed aloud and chanted, "Stop the cuts." Those who were peacefully arrested and led away from the steps of the Cannon House Office Building faced booking and a $50 fine, said Sgt. Kimberly O'Brien, a Capitol Police spokeswoman.
Wallis refused to consider the vigil a partisan affair, saying the religious and political spectrum was widely represented. "The media seems to think only abortion and gay marriage are religious issues," Wallis said. "Poverty is a moral issue, it's a faith issue, it's a religious issue."