Faith Leaders Arrested Protesting Immoral Priorities in Budget: Demand That Governor Eliminate Corporate Tax Loopholes to Restore Services
New York, NY- Seven faith leaders led a total of 15 people arrested outside Governor Cuomo’s New York office (633 3rd Ave) at noon. The faith leaders kneeled in prayer before five beds to symbolize the real impact his proposed cuts to human services budget will have on the homeless and other communities in need. Declaring the budget a moral document, leaders demanded that the loopholes letting the wealthiest corporations off the hook over a billion dollars from the treasury must be closed. Under our current system, Goldman Sachs and News Corporation pay lower rate of tax than the neighborhood closed. Faith leaders demanded that the billion dollars be put directly back into services that serve the homeless, the elderly, and youth who are struggling to stay afloat.
The protesters represented a multitude of religions:
"We are people of faith and in every religious tradition, we are called on to demand justice. It is our duty to speak to the governor and to the mayor to stop playing games with numbers. And remember that behind those numbers are real human beings who will not eat, who will sleep in the street, will not read and may die," saidSr. Minister Rosemary McNatt of the Fourth Universalist Society. "People think this is dramatic or an exaggeration but that’s only if you have a place to sleep tonight."
Imam Al-Hajj Talib 'Abdur-Rashid of The Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood added, "We of the faith community we remember that there were prophets who were governed. David, Solomon, Muhammad each governed….and they did it with morality. They used justice, fairness and held the highest regard for the ‘least amongst us.’ So we say to Gov Cuomo, tax the rich corporations. Close the loopholes. Don’t let politics stall your sense of morality."
Rev Michael Ellick, Minister, Judson Memorial Church also commented. “Corporations are back to making billions. Our government is not bankrupt, but cutting services for those who need it most is morally bankrupt. I am getting arrested because our political leaders are taking care for those of us with the most, rather than those of us with the least.”
Partial list of faith leaders arrested include:
Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt, Fourth Universalist Society in the City of New York; Rev. Rev. Michael Ellick, Judson Memorial Church; Rev. Juan-Carlos Ruiz, Scion Lutheran Church; Rev. Paul Mayer Rev. Luis Barrios; Community Minister C.B. Stewart; Community Minister Nathaniel Mahlberg