Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Occupy Movement: A Call to Repentance

This Saturday, I went to visit Occupy Boston with my friend, Brother Anthony, who was in town for the weekend. I have been following the formation of Occupy Boston since the first General Assembly a couple of weeks ago, but I had been following it online. I arrived just as the march of the day converged at the Federal Reserve building in downtown Boston's financial district. The patch of ground that OB is occupying is Dewey Square, which is in between that building and the Bank of America building. As soon as I arrived, I was introduced to the "people's mic," which is a procedure by which people can make speeches even if they don't have a permit to use a bullhorn. The speaker says a phrase, and then all the people around her/him repeat it loudly so that the whole crowd can hear. I also immediately spotted these young ladies holding a handmade sign:

photo is mine

I realized then that it was Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement and a time of repentance and making amends for one's sins against others. I thought that their sign really demonstrated... well, why they're demonstrating. They are upset that Wall Street bankers are getting away with theft against the American people, and they haven't been held accountable for their actions- actions that have impoverished millions of Americans and forced them to leave their homes.

I only took a quick tour of the camp, but right away I got the sense that folks were there for the long haul. They were about the business of building a movement. I will definitely have to return frequently. While I don't agree with, say, the anarchists or the socialists, I do agree with the main message of the movement- fairness and accountability. Equality. Democracy. No one knows where this movement is going, but I am excited to find out!

I hope you'll stick around for what I hope will become regular installments about the movement. I think we can all agree that we are all accountable to God for our actions. And that a nation that purports to believe in equality and ethics should hold wrongdoers accountable too. Our justice should become more and more like God's justice. It's time to start thinking about where we went wrong and what we can do to make things right. In a sense, it's time for a Yom Kippur for the whole nation.

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