The security and surveillance state, after crushing the Occupy movement and eradicating its encampments, has mounted a relentless and largely clandestine campaign to deny public space to any group or movement that might spawn another popular uprising. The legal system has been grotesquely deformed in most cities to, in essence, shut public space to protesters, eradicating our right to free speech and peaceful assembly. The goal of the corporate state is to criminalize democratic, popular dissent before there is another popular eruption.
That “demonstrators have already been branded “domestic terrorists” under the law” is the scary part of this administration’s tacit approval and ACTUAL support of draconian crackdowns on dissent. It really makes a mockery of any talk of how we honor freedom in America. Of course, that’s almost always been the mythology of America, and EVERYTHING is brought back to “in the name of freedom”, which we now see being taken away. This isn’t a mythological fear of “they’ll be coming for our guns”, but actual laws with wiggle room to declare any activist a “terrorist”, and remove the remaining freedoms and give the government carte blanche allowance to define you as an enemy of the state. Sounds more like Rome every day.
Hedges says it best here: “If we remain passive, if we permit the state to continue to use the law to take away our right of political expression, we will have no legal protection of resistance when we will need it most.”
I concur deeply. In other words, a hearty amen on just about every point. I’m disappointed in RLC, as I have been over the past year in the “social justice” orgs and their strange, what I can only identify as “reticence” to really be a support and encourager and enabler and participants with the Occupy movement. To say “they (Occupy) helped start a conversation” is certainly true, but it can’t stop there. The church needs to be “full-throated” and energetically resource-ful in ENABLING the movement and TEACHING their communities about what the Occupy movement says to us (SHOULD say to us) theologically and spiritually.
I also love this post by @glassdimlyfaith (Jeremy John)
“Cautious Affirmation” of Augustine (toward a “Theology of Occupy) #occuppytheology cc: @james_ka_smith
I was just in a mini-stream on Twitter with
@james_ka_smith , where I tried to re-open the topic re: the church and the Occupy movement. I had tweeted a while back to JKA on this, but it didn’t seem to spark much interest on his part. He and I had done a bit of back and forth back in 2005-06 over his sense about Jim Wallis and “God’s Politics”, and I didn’t really know of his approach, which slowly worked on me to the point that I became a big fan of Jamie’s (James K.A. Smith’s) theological sensibilities here. When I read his article , “Reforming Public Theology: Two Kingdoms or Two Cities”, I thought this was an excellent positioning on the perceived relationship that the church can/should/can’t/shouldn’t with “political movements”, but in particular in the case of OWS, a “People’s Movement” that widely eschews the political assumptions of American politics.
So I saw the connections; those “affinities”; those values that naturally elicit the comradery of many Christians who have known that this economy of ours is nowhere near “adequate” as an ideal; questioning that “the American dream” visa vi the National dogma is , “the greatest idea” or “greatest country on earth” (or that the very phrase “American dream” absolutizes the ultimacy of the American form of nationalism.
When Jamie writes:
The citizen of the city of God-which is itself political in some significant sense-will always already find herself thrown into a situation of being a resident alien taking up residence in some outpost of the earthly city. Contra two-kingdom readings of Augustine, this does not necessarily translate into a basically positive or sanguine stance vis-a-vis the earthly city; rather, the first political impetus is one of suspicion, which is then tempered by ad hoc evaluations about legitimate selective collaborations for the common good. The correlate of this suspicion is, of course, a tempered evaluation of the ecclesia.
I determined that I must try to draw him into a more robust exploration of the significance of Occupy Wall Street; to be one of the contributors to whom I can turn in exploring a Theology of Occupy Wall Street.
The tweets this morning
@james_ka_smith wish I had asked you about this when I saw you in Nashville at C3 in March…you left b4 it was over, so I waited too late
@james_ka_smith as in?
@james_ka_smith also, as you rightly put “they” in quotes, it wholly depends on who you identify as “they”. Multitudes of keen analyses
@james_ka_smith and as I’ve said b4, your analyses of i.e. “God’s Politics” which we debated 7-8 years ago was ultimately convincing to me
@james_ka_smith I belabor this b/c you are first one I wonder “what would JKA say about this”? You helped shape my questioning stance here.
@james_ka_smith Want to press you on utilizing some things you say the 2 Kingdoms article & “cautious affirmation” of which you write @dlature But seriously: Twitter is not the medium for this. I don’t have pithy evaluations, nor do I probably have adequate knowledge. @james_ka_smith I’m going to put this stream of tweets in a blog post and invite comments. When you can, I will deeply desire your input. @james_ka_smith I know you’re a busy guy. But I think you would like this, bigtime. I see you contributing to this analysis big time.
@james_ka_smith in fact, I think occupytheology is deficient without your input as helping us frame this theologically @james_ka_smith and seriously, I’d love to have a 5 minute conversation via phone to just say a few things about where I’m going with this @james_ka_smith doesnt have to be now…but could be …..hope we can
I totally agree with my friend Brian here:
In the end if they break ways with Christ’s teachings we are required to break with them as well and speak truth in love
And saying such things just scares the bejeebies out of so many of my “secular” friends. They just can’t seem to grasp the idea that the “theocracy” ideas of the Religious Right are not what one is necessarily proposing in speaking of following Christ’s teachings rather than political parties. I want to say something like “Be not afraid”, but the American political ideology that says “Separation of Church and State” seems to require of them that they eschew any traces of “religious ideology” when considering politcal policy. My attempts to steer them off of this course of thinking, or to try to explain how such a sharp separation is not feasible (except to those who claim they have no such “religious problems”– to which I try to argue that no matter how “detached” and “rational” they claim to be, their “politics” is also based in spiritual/social values that they will insist are not “religious” in nature — but they ARE. )
And so I find myself hesitating to say this often enough (things such as what Brian has said here, and tweeted just prior to his post going up). I’m afraid it may pigeon-hole me in the eyes of certain political tweeters who follow me. I can only hope that they read into just a few of the details.
I noticed just within the last hour that @james_ka_smith was having to explain to a tweeter that he was NOT Republican, assumed by that tweeter since Smith had no doubt said something “un-euphoric” about Obama. This euphoria was all over Twitter last night, as well as on MSNBC. I watch MSNBC, but it’s been immensely harder lately. The blind spots are glaring even brighter than they usually are.
I sure wish we could talk about this in the churches. But it is as about as TABOO to take ANY side whatsoever, even a non-partisan one that would get up the dander of the defenders of the “beloved” (such as Obama) being questioned.
Maybe I should try to set up such a conversation where we can talk about what the church we inhabit needs to be saying to the powers that be, or talk about the question of just how to do that.
My title of this post is based on a bumber sticker that I got from Sojourners back in 2004. But I differ somewhat from the way one often hears it discussed by Sojourners writers. While I find much , much more in common in terms of what we see the Gospels telling us about the merits of political platforms and discourse, I am somewhat less enamored with the political process as it exists in America than I find in m any (but not all) Sojourners articles/speeches.