Tar Sands Action, religious leader: "For me, getting arrested is a sacred act"

The two week long Tar Sands Action continues. Several of my friends were among the 595 total arrested as of yesterday. Will Obama listen? He alone can stop it now.

Why dozens of religious leaders risked arrest

Rose Marie Berger, a Catholic peace activist and editor at Sojourners magazine, was co-coordinator of the interfaith religious witness at the Tar Sands Action on Aug. 29. To join the final days of the Tar Sands Action, sign up here: www.tarsandsaction.org/sign-up

I’m home. I’m tired. And I feel great! Today 143 people were arrested in front of the White House to bring attention to the Keystone XL pipeline, a linchpin in the battle for climate justice. My police wristband shows that I was number 49.

With more than 60 people from the religious community joining the Tar Sands Action today, we were able to push the number of arrests over the past week up to 522.

We had a very hot ride in the police van but the Park Police processed us very quickly. We were released from custody and greeted outside with water, granola bars, and hugs. What could be better?

But the point was not to get arrested. The point was to make of our lives a living witness. To make it clear that climate change has gone too far and we are no longer going to stand idly by while our sisters, brothers, and home planet are torn apart by oil companies.

I’ve been arrested numerous times – but for me, it’s always a sacred act. As a Catholic, I see it as public liturgy. We make a symbolic sacrifice in order to tear open the the curtains of heaven and shine that light on places of injustice.

It’s also true that you meet the nicest people in jail. The cops were joking about whether they should fine Yankees fans more than Red Sox fans. The brand new grandmother and Episcopal priest from Iowa took the freshman from Oberlin under her wing. The young Jewish social justice activists taught everyone in my police wagon the songs they’d learned from Emma’s Revolution.

I always say that a day in jail with people acting for justice is the best $100 education you can get anywhere. Come register for classes!

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