WASHINGTON -- A handful of protesters marched to Capitol Hill on Thursday carrying a large golden bull with them before praying outside the office of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in hope that he'll raise taxes.
The paper-mâché bull was designed to look like the iconic Wall Street statue in New York's financial district.
The marchers, who mainly came from two interfaith groups and the National Nurses United union, walked around the Capitol building, where they were hassled by the Capitol Police for not having a permit, and then on to the United Methodist Building adjacent to the Supreme Court, where they parked the bull.
James Salt, executive director of Catholics United, then led a smaller group to Boehner's Longworth Building office to deliver a petition with more than 8,000 signatures calling for Congress to institute the so-called Robin Hood tax, which would place a small levy on speculative trades in the financial markets.
"We feel that if there's a tax on these derivatives and on these commodities, that there will be more thoughtfulness in how these banks throw around their wagers in the markets," said Salt.
Protesters also argued from a religious standpoint. They said that Boehner, a Roman Catholic, should heed the words of Pope Benedict XVI and the Vatican, which have called for the redistribution of wealth.
"The religious people aren't just for the conservative right. There really are some progressive religious voices out there," said march organizer Jessica Brown, who works in Washington, D.C., but hails from Detroit.
Members of Catholics United and Faith in Public Life came up with the idea to build a golden statue, a reference to the false idol in the Book of Exodus. They spent two days creating it from chicken wire, campaign-sign wire and organic paste.
"The golden calf is a dog and pony show, so to speak," said Catholics United member Jason Miller, adding that the real goal of the day was to deliver the petition to Boehner.
The members of the interfaith groups and the nurses union had gathered in McPherson Square around 10 a.m., hoping that Occupy DC protesters camped there would join them in the march. But only a few individuals from the traveling contingent of Missouri's Occupy Springfield and a couple of D.C. demonstrators made the trek to Capitol Hill.
After delivering the petition, Salt told reporters that he believed Jesus Christ would absolutely want the richest Americans to pay a little more in taxes.