About a dozen members of area religious groups stood before the shuttered downtown office of U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., Tuesday morning, pushing through the mail slot pages of a petition demanding an end to the partial government shutdown signed by 30,000 people nationwide.
“It’s disproportionately affecting poor people,” said the Rev. George Taylor of All-Saints Lutheran Church. “People on food stamps, people on the (Women, Infants and Children) program … a lot of people are suffering.”
The demonstration was part of a national effort led by Faithful America, an online community of Christians who say they’re “dedicated to reclaiming Christianity from the religious right.” Linda Bartholomew, priest-in-charge at Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Spokane Valley, helped organize the event and delivered the petition featuring signatures solicited through Faithful America’s website. She said the demonstration was not about casting blame but reminding McMorris Rodgers of her Christian duty.
“My only concern is for the poor,” Bartholomew said, adding she has compassion for the position the House Republican Conference chair is in. “That’s why I’m here, it’s just so that the Bible is not misrepresented, or somehow used as a tool, to oppress the poor more.”
McMorris Rodgers’ office was open Tuesday afternoon, and a spokeswoman said the petitions were being processed. The demonstration, including prayers, ended after about 20 minutes when a security officer asked petitioners to leave the building.