Twenty-three Clergy members were arrested Tuesday during a rally at the capitol. The rally, by the group Missouri Faith Voices, was meant to get state senators to expand Medicaid eligibility.
Over 300 members of Missouri Faith Voices gathered in the rotunda for a rally before certain clergy members moved into the Senate Gallery. While, other members showed support outside of the gallery, the select clergy members sang and prayed out loud for about an hour before police arrested them.
Molly Housh Gordon is the pastor at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Columbia. She was one of the members who gathered in support of the Clergy members and Medicaid expansions. She said they planned to stay there until they were removed in order to prove their point.
“They continued to pray and sing until they were arrested and removed from the gallery as a witness to the fact that as people of faith we are called to speak out about dignity and that we will not be silenced,” Gordon said.
Missouri Faith Voices has called, written and emailed the legislators to meet with them but nothing has changed. Under the federal health care law, states can use federal money to expand the Medicaid program for low income families.
Michelle Scott-Huffman, pastor at Table of Grace and organizer of faith voices in Jefferson City, said it’s now time to move to a deeper level of action.
She said Medicaid expansion is important because all people are made in the image of god and that all people have an inherent dignity.
“One of the ways that we respect that dignity is by providing avenues for people to remain healthy and live lives that are, if not abundant, are at least sustainable,” Scott-Huffman said.
Scott-Huffman felt as if their voices were heard today, but, she doesn’t know if any change will occur. She does hope the senators now know their voices will continue to be heard in the future.