WASHINGTON (PNS) — President Donald Trump was not the first leader to use tweets, the Rt. Rev. W. Darin Moore told a crowd Monday from the steps of the United Methodist Building, across the street from the U.S. Capitol.
He cited Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, saying the powerful leader used to issue pithy statements and edicts akin to today’s tweets.
“I have come to let you know that there’s a spirit of Trumpism that has been a part of the human experience,” said Moore, chair of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. “But every time, God has raised up a people to resist, to protest and to cause trouble in the face of the enemy.”
The crowd of more than 100 people before him stood ready to join the ranks of those people on Lobby Day, the culmination of Ecumenical Advocacy Days. On Monday, the participants in the four-day social justice training conference went from the meeting rooms of an Arlington, Virginia, hotel to senatorial and congressional offices surrounding the Capitol to urge their elected officials to take action on voting rights in the United States and human rights abroad.
“This is what it’s all about,” the Rev. Dr. Leslie Copeland-Tune, director of Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice, said of Lobby Day.
The game plan for the day calls for conference participants to go to meetings that have been arranged with their hometown legislators — senators and congresspeople — or their staff and appeal to them about issues that the Advocacy Days committee representing nearly a dozen denominations has agreed on.
“It can be very intimidating to go talk to members of Congress and their staffs,” Copeland-Tune said. “What we’re wanting people to do is go speak from their own understanding of the issue and how it’s impacting where they live and their community, or people who they know.
“We’re all experts, and that’s the position we want to go from. There’s a lot of power that you get, and you feel powerful after you do it. You think, ‘Wow, that wasn’t so bad.’ ”
But before the small meetings started, leaders of Advocacy Days wanted to make a statement, which is why a crowd gathered in front of the Methodist Building, the only nongovernmental building on Capitol Hill, at 9:30 a.m.
All weekend at Advocacy Days, participants had been signing a petition to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), calling on him to allow a vote on S. 949, a bill that has already passed the House of Representatives as HR 1 and calls for the extension of voting rights. McConnell has refused to bring the bill to the Senate floor for a vote, at one point calling it the “Democrat Politician Protection Act,” saying the proposed reforms favor Democratic politicians.