at Roman Catholicism's National Shrine
Civil Rights Hero Rev. William Sloan Coffin Among the Jailed
Rev. Jimmy Creech: 'Catholicism is Bigotry's Primary Source'
Compiled by GayToday
104 of the protesters were subsequently arrested for blocking the driveway to the National Shrine, and fined $50 per person and then released after being processed by the D.C. Police.
Among those arrested were: Reverend William Sloan Coffin, one of the nation's most distinguished civil rights leaders; Maryanne Duddy, Executive Director of Dignity/USA; Reverend Mel White, Executive Director of Soulforce; Reverend Jimmy Creech, chairperson of Soulforce and the heterosexually-inclined minister who was defrocked in the United Methodist Church for performing what the minister calls a 'holy union' ceremony for two men; and Fran Taft, a 95-year-old grandmother of a gay man.
The protests began November 13 and continued through Tuesday while a silent vigil also took place at the Hyatt Regency where the Roman Catholic bishops were meeting.
"Of all the Christian bodies, historically the Catholic Church is the primary source of condemnation of GLBT people since medieval times," said Reverend Jimmy Creech, chairperson of Soulforce.
“By taking a stand at the National Shrine, GLBT people and non-gay allies from all over the United States let the NCCB know that Spiritual Violence against them will no longer be accepted in silence."
The protest began with a press conference and silent vigil at the National Shrine on November 13 during a special mass for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and other dignitaries who are meeting this week in Washington D.C.
The protesters stood in silence on the sidewalk as busses filled with bishops pulled in to the Shrine.
Protesters were each holding the name of a bishop to whom they had sent letters and for whom they'd prayed for in the weeks before traveling to Washington D.C.
On November 14, protesters returned to the National Shrine as the bishops were meeting across town and held a prayerful vigil on the steps of the shrine, blessing the largest Catholic Cathedral in North America prior the arrests of 104 protesters.
"This is an historic moment," continued Rev. Creech. "Today we stand together determined to change the teachings of the Catholic Church. How can we remain silent when those teachings cause suffering and incite violence and discrimination against GLBT people? No matter what our faith traditions, we must resist Spiritual Violence and refuse to cooperate with the forces that perpetuate this oppression."
"One of the most powerful moments of these events was to see hundreds of people, brought together through the pain and oppression of our various religious backgrounds to witness to the love of God for all GLBT people everywhere," said Mary Louise Cervone, President of Dignity/USA.
"Dignity/USA looks forward to continuing its relationship with Soulforce and is proud to have stood with Soulforce in solidarity with our GLBT brothers and sisters everywhere".