In the Community: Occupy Oakland
“Justice is not an ancient custom, a human convention, a value, but a transcendent demand, freighted with divine concern” — Abraham J. Heschel
We stand at a point in history when the onerous weight of inequity has become so burdensome that it calls forth the forces of resistance. We are witnessing one of the most pronounced divides between rich and poor in the history of this country. That divide has manifest itself in the most palpable ways: months of unemployment, foreclosed homes, mounting debt and precipitous loans, and cutbacks in social services. We would be remiss to ignore that those who have been most adversely affected are disproportionately people of color, further cementing our history of racial disparity.
The circumstances we now face are similar to those described by the prophets of the Old Testament. Amos decried those who “trample on the poor” and “push aside the needy at the gate,” Jeremiah spoke out against those who “have become great and rich” with “deeds of wickedness,” and Isaiah railed against those “who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is room for no one.” In the New Testament, we read of Jesus overturning the money changing tables and calling on the wealthy to give their possessions to the poor, These are the voices of our tradition, crying out from the pages of our most sacred text.
Those same words of righteous indignation now echo through the streets of our nation. They can be read on the signs of people camping out on Wall Street. They can be heard on the lips of seasoned protestors and disillusioned young people, returning war veterans and longtime union members. The spirit of principled resistance, so epitomized in scripture, is now spreading through our country.
As Progressive Christians, we speak of God’s call to work for justice and righteousness in the world. We speak of the good news promised by Jesus—that the last shall become first, the hungry shall be fed, the naked shall be clothed. We speak of an age of hope and possibilities, of new beginnings that draw ever closer to God’s kin-dom. This nascent movement is an opportunity for progressive Christians to add voices and our vision to the plurality of people calling for change. The occupation of Wall Street & the subsequent protests that have sprung up across the country call us forward to live into our faith, to lend what resources we have, to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters, to articulate our expectations and our dreams.
People of faith will gather for a meeting in early November. For more info on official UCC coverage of the Occupy movement, check out these links: