The U.S. Capitol Police stopped a small group of marchers from faith-based groups in the Occupy D.C. movement from taking a cardboard golden calf inside the Longworth House Office Building on Thursday, but there were no arrests.
“We believe that Congress should consider taxing Wall Street banks and legal hedge funds if they are asking the American public to make historic cuts in Medicare and Medicaid,” said James Salt, executive director of Catholics United.
Salt led a late-morning march from McPherson Square through downtown and up Capitol Hill. Then the group walked along the sidewalk around the U.S. Capitol, in front of the Supreme Court and to the Longworth House Office Building in hopes of getting an audience with House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio).
While the police didn’t allow the calf into the building — it was about 4 feet tall by 8 feet long and mounted on a wooden palette — they did allow the protesters to sit with it on the steps for five minutes. After the bull was placed on the back of a truck, Salt delivered a petition with 8,000 signatures to Boehner’s office.
Andrew Hochhalter carried the golden calf that rested on a heavy wooden frame the last few blocks before it was finally taken away on a truck.
“I wanted to be part of this because it is a good symbol of how our country has gotten things turned around — putting profits over people,” Hochhalter said.
Salt said his group built the calf because “We are trying to symbolize the idolatry of greed in our culture.”
The symbol comes from a story in the Book of Exodus in which Moses chastises the children of Israel after they melt down their jewelry and make a golden calf, which they then worship.