Occupy Wall Street: Amen!

Democracy Interview Religion

Sunday, October 16, 2011, was a spiritual day for me at Occupy Wall Street. I began the day at the famous Community Church of New York, where Unitarian Universalist minister Bruce Southworth delivered his sermon, "Excellence!" using the Occupy worldwide movements as as fulcrum. What's happening down at OWS, he said, is an explosion of morals. (That's a good thing!)

A couple of hours later, a procession of religious leaders from New York City marched into OWS with a golden calf, chanting "See our calf made of gold! Democracy will not be sold!" In the Hebrew faith, the golden calf represents a false god that should not be worshipped; it is symbolic of false idolatry. On this day, the procession marched in with the famous Wall Street Bull, clad in gold paint.

Religious leaders address the OWS crowd; the golden calf rises above them.

The religious leaders, representing Judaism, Christianity, Catholicism, Islam, and other faiths, addressed the crowd with spiritually-laced messages of solidarity. Between religious speakers, the crowd, led by a small band, sang spirituals and gospels. It was a beautiful and soothing moment.

Later on, I caught up with Chris, PhD in theology student of the Episcopalian tradition. Part of the Protest Chaplains at OWS, Chris discussed the role of religion in the OWS movement and reactions of fellow occupiers. See the video interview below. To learn more, follow the Protest Chaplains on Twitter @ProtChaplainNYC or email them at protestchaplainsnyc(at)gmail.com.

New York City, Occupy Wall Street