About 200 young seminarians -- Protest, Roman Catholic and Jewish -- are staging what they call the "Theological Students' Vigil For Civil Rights" in Washington, D.
About 200 young seminarians -- Protest, Roman Catholic and Jewish -- are staging what they call the "Theological Students' Vigil For Civil Rights" in Washington, D.C., at the Lincoln Memorial keeping a 24-hour, seven-days a week vigil while the civil rights debate in the U.S. Senate goes into its eight week (as of Monday 27 April).
The students serve in shifts of two to four hours each. Each shift has in it one Protestant, one Catholic and one Jew -- plus a fourth member to answer any questions visitors may ask, and to hand out pamphlets stating their views.
The U.S. Park Service allows anyone into the Lincoln Memorial any time, but does not allow any kind of demonstration inside, no matter how peaceful. So the seminarians make their visits to the statue of Lincoln itself fairly briefs, and then remain outside on the sidewalk until a new group arrives to relieve them.
The students come in to Washington from seminaries throughout the country, serve a day or two or longer, then return to their class-rooms to be replaced by others.
The loneliest and the quietest time in the Lincoln Memorial is late at night. The traffic and the tourists have long since gone home, for the most part, the lights inside are turned low, and except for the guards and Lincoln, the seminarians are the only ones there.
The seminarians purpose, they say -- "We hope to get our message across and to have an impact without sensationalism."