Not In My Backyard

When the Occupy Wall Street protesters camped this fall in Zuccotti Park, a privately-owned space a block away from Trinity Church (Episcopal) in lower Manhattan, the church provided the protesters with substantial logistical and moral support: meeting space, bathrooms, electricity, food, blankets, pastoral care. The protesters were drawing attention to an important subject, economic inequality, and Trinity believed they had a moral right to be in Zuccotti Park, even though the park’s owners, Brookfield Properties, said the park could not safely accommodate them and wanted them to go. Now that the police have evicted them, the protesters wish to camp in Duarte Square,  a nearby park owned by Trinity Church itself. The church, however, refuses – on the ground that Duarte Square cannot safely accommodate them. This has led to complaints from other churches that Trinity is being hypocritical and unchristian, but Trinity has its supporters, too, including most of the Episcopal hierarchy, who say other churches shouldn’t throw stones. “It’s cheap grace,” one Episcopal leader complained to the New York Times. “It’s great to defend the rights of protesters in someone else’s backyard.” A point on which the owners of Zuccotti Park also had occasion to reflect.

One response

  1. You don’t need to be religious to understand -and embrace- the idea that “Whatsoever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” But the 1%, in their blind greed and schemes, have forgotten and closed their eyes to this, and to what the word “society” should really mean. Because of Occupy Wall Street, we are finally talking less about CUTS and more about BLEEDING. Instead of demanding m-o-r-e budget cuts -to be borne by the middle class and poor- we are FINALLY focusing on the shameful bleeding that the poor and middle class has endured for all too long. Instead of talking about even m-o-r-e cuts in the taxes of millionaires….we are now talking about fairness and justice – about an economy and a political system that is increasingly run for the rich, and by the rich. Instead of talking about LESS government, we are talking about a government that WORKS FOR ALL OF US, not just a favored few. Thank you OWS, for reminding us that people -ordinary working people- really DO matter, and for helping open our eyes to what’s really going on in this country. Trinity Church should look deep into its collective soul, do the right thing, and help OWS. For I would bet my life, that if He were physically with us today…as He was 2000 years ago, He himself would be the FIRST to climb those fences, and occupy Trinity’s Duarte Square. Of this I am certain. 

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