Protest Chaplains Bring Spiritual Ministry to Occupy Movements
Photo Credit: The Protest Chaplains
With the flurry of violence against #Occupy Wall Street protesters this week, it is easy to overlook the peaceful presence that clergy members bring to the movements happening across the country. The Protest Chaplains, a group of clergy-in-training, arrived at Zuccotti Park (and later Occupy Boston) with a desire to be in service to fellow protesters through nonviolent action and compassion. All evidence points to the Protest Chaplains fulfilling their mission:
“We are committed to caring for all who join, chronically homeless and well-heeled activist lawyers alike. We work through our differences to envision the future together. These are the values and actions woefully missing from our public life and political discourse. It is unclear how we will regain these values without first relearning them. Thus, we feel it is necessary to show the United States and the world: this is how humans flourish together in dignity, respect, and love.
I’ve seen it with my own eyes: a disheveled man, a bit twitchy, walks into the village and says, “I’m here and I want to stay.” Within two hours he has a tent, a sleeping bag, warmer clothes, and a hot meal. The cuts on his hands have been bandaged, and he stands next to me at the General Assembly, our democratic forum.
If a rag-tag group of protesters managed this, why can’t the wealthiest nation on Earth? Why can’t many religious organizations and social service institutions with billions of dollars and all the right intentions manage to do this? What are the missing ingredients? This is the challenge and promise of the Occupy movement, often overlooked in both pro and con commentary. It’s less about what we’re saying, and more about what we’re doing.”