Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Episcopal Church and social justice or why I believe Bishop Sisk is wrong when it comes to OWS and Trinity Church

I was saddened and frankly surprised to read Bishop Sisk's letter yesterday on Facebook. The letter disappeared and reappeared shortly thereafter, along with the accompanying comments. It would appear that Bishop Sisk is bowing to public opinion and caving in and is no longer allowing OWS supporters to utilize their facilities at Trinity Church for toileting, sleeping, hanging out, strategizing and other activities.

One of the reasons I left my former faith, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is that I felt called and even compelled to do more work along the lines of social and economic justice such as I had done whilst engaged with MESJ or Mormons for Equality and Social Justice. I thought I had found that fit in the Episcopal Church of my birth. Now I am beginning to wonder.

Yes, this might be an isolated incident of one Bishop's lack of foresightedness, but it could also be a scary pattern of caving to the masses.

While Bishop Sisk is certainly a good and honorable man, the Episcopal Church has a calling from God to take particular care of the downtrodden and disenfranchised, in much the same way that the Savior did during his sojourn on the earth. When the moneychangers turned the Temple into a den of thieves and were doing business in the Savior's house, he used righteous indignation to overturn the tables with the merchandise and reprimanded the money changers for debasing his Father's house. We could all learn a valuable lesson from that exchange.

As a Church, I believe we have failed OWS protestors by cutting them off and not allowing them to have a place to crash as it were. They do not have money for expensive hotel rooms and some of the protestors come from as far away as Delaware, many of them are students and low-income workers. They need a soft place to land and continue this important work - while they may be the one percent, they have created a movement unlike any other we have seen in recent years.

Shame on the Episcopal Church of New York - Bishop Sisk, please revisit your decision.

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