The NC Council of Churches is proud to publish a brand new e-book collection of testimonies from Moral Mondays. With 32 short vignettes from North Carolinians across the state, Voices of Moral Mondays tells the story of everyday folks being motivated to speak out on account of their faith. Many, though not all, of the accounts describe what it was like to engage in civil disobedience and be arrested by the authorities. Click here to download the free e-book.
By Larry Gaissert, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Raleigh
I am an educated, financially secure, slightly-beyond-middle-age, healthy, white, heterosexual, southern male. In other words I am a person of privilege. As a teenager in the 1960s, I lived in Birmingham, Alabama and was an almost eyewitness to the events that occurred there during that era’s civil rights struggle.
I am also a person of faith, and my faith tradition tells me that my privileged status is a gift that carries with it certain responsibilities. Primary among those responsibilities is to care for those whom we refer to as the least of these…those on the margins, the ostracized, the powerless, the voiceless.
I watched the Moral Monday events, attended a couple, saw two friends get arrested. All the while, memories of the events, the brave people, the martyrs in Alabama during the 1960s were flooding back. Soon I realized that attending the Moral Monday rallies, posting links to Facebook, and commenting on others’ posts were not enough.
I am not a skilled writer. I am not a strong leader. I lack the power of persuasion. But I am passionate, and from time to time that passion simply must be channeled into action. I came to realize that getting arrested was the way I was to channel my passion. I could not not do it.
On July 8, I attended the civil disobedience training, had a green armband tied to my left arm, and, with 63 other people, entered the General Assembly Building. When ordered to disperse and leave the building, we did not do so and were arrested.
Do I believe my arrest will make a difference? Not for a minute! But eventually more than 900 of us were arrested. I do believe, I must believe, that cumulatively our efforts will eventually make a difference.