Over the last few weeks, a number of clergy, religious activists, and writers — both Christian and Jewish — have spoken out in support of the Wall Street protests. This highlights one aspect of the 99 Percent Movement that has yet to be acknowledged by the mainstream media’s narrative: the growing support the protests are receiving from various faith groups and leaders around the country.
On Monday, Gene Robinson, the ninth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, stopped by the ThinkProgress office to discuss his understanding and support of the 99 Percent Movement, the moral and religious implications of the enormous economic inequality driving the movement, and why he believes the protests fit squarely within the moral critiques of wealth and power put forward in the Hebrew Old Testament and the Christian New Testament:
One-sixth of all the words Jesus spoke, and one-third of all the parables, are about the dangers of wealth and possessions. It is something that we hear from the prophets — particularly of the Old Testament, and of course that’s what Jesus was steeped in, those were his scriptures — that any culture, but certainly one that claims to be Godly, is to be judged on how well the most vulnerable are treated.
It’s more than about numbers, and it’s more than about disparity of income. It’s really about our sense of community. And indeed, do the wealthy have a responsibility to the larger community? Are we really going to live in an “every man, woman and child for themselves” world, or are we going to be a community in which the greater good, the common good, is also a value that we hold?
ThinkProgress has compiled the highlights from Bishop Robinson’s Monday interview. Watch it:
Other examples of religious support for the 99 Percent Movement include Trinity Wall Street and other churches in the Lower Manhattan area opening their doors to provide the protesters a place to rest, clergy in the Bay Area bringing a golden calf –symbolic of Wall Street greed — on a march through the financial district of San Francisco, the canon chancellor of St. Paul’s Cathedral resigning in protest over plans to evict protestors in London, the Archbishop of Canterbury calling for a financial transactions tax, and even the Vatican calling for an overhaul of global financial regulation and a return to more equitable economic relations.