Who’s getting all the money from the $100 bonds each of the pipeline protesters posts? US Park Police collect it, but it all goes to the District of Columbia. Like many US cities and states, DC has had to cut valuable services due to budget shortfalls and a big deficit.

DC residents have long been protesting “Taxation Without Representation”: many have this slogan on their license plates; several city council members have been arrested demonstrating for voting rights. From 2006 – 2010 DC Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton was allowed to vote in plenary sessions of congress, but that right was revoked after last year’s elections.

I have been privileged to live in the DC metro area for 39 years and belong to Washington DC Christian Reformed Church on the corner of New Hampshire Ave. and Oneida St. NE.  When I arrived in 1972 most church members commuted from either Maryland or Virginia. Now many more live in DC including some young families. At church and in most neighborhoods there are many friendly surrogate grandparents.

This year Parenting Magazine rated DC as the best place to live with children based on good schools, museums and parks, low crime rate, affordable homes and job opportunities. For more than 20 years DC has been designated a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. Due to the restriction on buildings’ height and the absence of polluting manufacturing, many DC neighborhoods resemble small or medium-sized towns with people out on porches, walking dogs, strolling with toddlers, or tending community and home gardens.

DC is also a city of active churches, from storefront to cathedral. An online directory lists a total of 1482 churches within the city limits, including 23 in the Lamond-Riggs neighborhood where ours is located. And I daresay most of them are well-attended. This week I’ve been enjoying reading about Church of the Epiphany in a wonderful book by Diana Butler Bass on the renewal of mainline congregations (subtitled How the Neighborhood Church Is Transforming the Faith).

The DC resident I most admire now is Conception Picciotto, who has lived in a small tent on the sidewalk across from the White House since 1981 protesting nuclear weapons. William Thomas started the demonstration and manned it until his death two years ago. One of his original signs (which I noticed as we lined up to protest) reads “Wanted: Wisdom and Honesty.”  Amen. God have mercy.

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