‘Occupy Faith’: This Is What Christian Pastors Are Doing to Help the Occupy May Day Protests
- Category: Uncensored News
- Published on Monday, 30 April 2012 22:06
Since Occupy’s inception, select faith leaders have been pledging their support for the movement. But as time goes on, it seems their devotion is only increasing. From progressive pastor Jim Wallis to the Rev. Michael Ellick , leftist preachers have latched on to both the initiative and its adherents. It seems, based on increased activities and planned events, that leftist Christian leaders will now be helping Occupy transition into its next phase of protest and action.
A few days ago, the official Occupy Wall Street blog promoted the fact that Christian pastors will be supporting today’s May Day events. Their involvement, though, is certainly strategic and intended to assist in the spring and summer growth of the movement. After all, churches are localities that provide access to a large number of people who are bonded together by shared beliefs. If properly accessed and utilized, faith communities can be valuable in spreading any and all messages — including Occupy’s.
“May Day is really going to kick off a whole series of actions that are going to go on this summer,” the Rev. John Merz, the head faith leader at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, recently explained. “There are sleeping bags in front of the [New York] Stock Exchange. There may even be attempts at various reoccupations, whether it’s Zuccotti or elsewhere. That may happen on a mass scale.”
Merz, of course, is only one of the many preachers who is currently mobilizing believers to support the movement. When examining the overall participation coming from preachers, the Episcopal Church has a heavy-weighted presence. A few weeks ago, the Episcopal News Service highlighted much of the denomination’s involvement:
Episcopalians and other people of faith have supported the movement from the beginning. Harvard doctoral candidate Marisa Egerstrom organized a group called Protest Chaplains that participated in the launch at Zuccotti Park and has supported Occupy Boston. In New York, Episcopal clergy, including Diocese of Long Island Bishop Lawrence Provenzano and those arrested Dec. 17, spent time with occupiers at Zuccotti Park and have been involved with Occupy Faith NYC .
In late March, Occupy Faith members from across the country…attended a national planning meeting in Oakland, California, where members of various religious groups had maintained an “Interfaith Tent” at Occupy Oakland and 14 were arrested in November after refusing to evacuate that encampment.
The Oakland meeting included discussion about national coordination and actions, including what will happen May 1 and a push for a commission on