Religious activist Rita Warren will not allow House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D. Irving — or anyone else, for that matter — dictate how or when she carries out her business on the Capitol grounds this Easter.
The 86-year-old demonstrator — who has been bringing Christ to the attention of congressional visitors for so long she’s been dubbed the “Jesus Lady " — told HOH that Irving’s office alerted her on Tuesday that, due to a recent rule change, she was prohibited from bringing the oversized cross she uses in her annual procession onto the campus.
“They’re telling me I can’t bring the cross. Without the cross, we can’t do the crucifixion,” she said. Congressional authorities told HOH nothing had changed regarding Warren’s ability to display things, (“She can bring all the stuff she wants,” the Sergeant-at-Arms' office said.) but noted that unapproved vehicles will not be allowed on the plaza.
For the past several decades, Warren has conducted a re-enactment of the condemnation, execution and resurrection of the Christian figurehead that begins in Lafayette Square, wends its way down Pennsylvania Avenue and culminates at the Capitol.
Per Warren, the ceremonial trek has never been a problem before.
Now, she fears forces are aligning against her.
“I think I know who changed the rules … Mr. Obama,” she said, accusing the president and congressional Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., of orchestrating a shadow campaign to undermine her right to freedom of expression. “The whole thing is so sickening, what they’re trying to do.”
But she remains undeterred.
“If I have to get arrested on Good Friday … we will be making history,” she said of her plans to erect the giant wooden cross (“It takes two or three men to carry it,” she noted.) no matter what.
“After 39 years you think I’m going to find a new spot for Jesus? You’ve got to be kidding me,” she mused.
Warren plans to bring up this latest indignity with Speaker John A. Boehner just as soon as Congress comes back into session. She is on a mission to have the Ohio Republican invite British actor Robert Powell, who portrayed the doomed messiah in the 1977 TV mini-series “Jesus of Nazareth,” to address the 114th Congress.
“When I get done with Boehner, he won’t have much of a choice but to say ‘yes,’” she predicted.
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