WASHINGTON, DC – July 31, 2014 – Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) executive director, Chett Pritchett, has been detained by the United States Park Police for an act of civil disobedience in front of The White House. Pritchett, along with Love Your Neighbor Coalition Coordinator, Rev. Steve Clunn, joined with other United Methodist clergy and laity, as well as ecumenical leaders, to witness to The White House from across the street in Lafayette Park. All involved expect to be released by early evening.
“If this act of civil disobedience can raise public awareness that children and families are being harmed by current government policies and practices, then we will have been successful,” stated Pritchett prior to his detainment. “Our United Methodist Social Principles call us to recognize, embrace, and affirm all persons, regardless of country of origin. To not stand for the safety and welfare of our Christian siblings is equivalent to ignoring John Wesley’s first general rule of ‘do no harm.’”
This act of civil disobedience outside The White House developed as a way to bring moral clarity to the injustice of the Obama administration’s immigration enforcement policies. Those gathered prayed for affirmative relief and expansion of deferred action from deportation for immigrant families, so that families might be kept together.
Teams of organizers from across the United States joined their hearts and voices with those arrested today. Some of those teams are from local chapters of MFSA, while others are from annual (regional) conference groups organized by The United Methodist Church’s General Board of Church and Society, working to advocate for local, grassroots welcome of immigrant families. Tomorrow, those teams will gather with ecumenical partners for movement mapping, new media organizing, and spokesperson trainings to heighten the effectiveness of today’s witness and civil disobedience.
Since 1907, the Methodist Federation for Social Action has worked to mobilize, lead, and sustain a progressive movement, energizing people to be agents of God’s justice, peace, and reconciliation. As an independent, faith-based organization, MFSA leads both Church and society on issues of peace, poverty, people’s rights, progressive issues, and justice within The United Methodist Church.