Religion at Occupy Wall Street
KIM LAWTON, Correspondent: For the Occupy Wall street protesters in New York’s Zuccotti Park, it’s become a familiar sight—religious groups offering spiritual and moral support.
VOICES AT SERVICE: We represent. We represent. The New York City communities of faith. The New York City communities of faith.
LAWTON: Growing numbers of leaders from across the religious spectrum have been supporting Occupy Wall Street’s protest against greed and economic inequity.
REV. MICHAEL ELLICK, Judson Memorial Church, NY: This is not just a jobs issue. This is not only a health care issue or a pension issue. This is also a spiritual issue of the nature of what has happened in the United States and how we function as a people together. And that is very, very, much a matter of moral concern, not only to my Christian tradition but to Islam, and to Judaism, to Buddhism.
LAWTON: There have been regular interfaith prayer services at the park. And religious groups are also providing practical help by donating tents, food and money. They’ve been opening their facilities to the protesters, giving logistical advice and helping to get the message out.
ELLICK: Churches are an excellent place to organize this kind of information because we’re under the radar of commerce or of government.
LAWTON: Many say there is a prominent spiritual dimension to what’s been happening. Inside Zuccotti Park is a makeshift community altar, where protestors of all faiths come to pray or meditate. In several cities, protest chaplains—many of them seminary students—minster to the protesters.
ERICA RICHMOND, Protest Chaplain: We are here to provide a religious presence. We are here to listen to people, to hear what’s on their hearts. And we’re here to pray with people. And people do come up to us and ask us to sit with them in prayer, because people are in crisis and that’s why we are all here.
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From The Urantia Book:
99:3.3 The religionist is not unsympathetic with social suffering, not unmindful of civil injustice, not insulated from economic thinking, neither insensible to political tyranny. Religion influences social reconstruction directly because it spiritualizes and idealizes the individual citizen. Indirectly, cultural civilization is influenced by the attitude of these individual religionists as they become active and influential members of various social, moral, economic, and political groups.