What do the OWS demonstrations have to do with religion? Over at the Scoop, Lee Gilmore notes the rather modest role traditional religious representation has played thus far, and decides that the most active presence has been neo-pagan. My son Ezra, a newspaperman who has just set out to cover the demonstrations nationwide–check out his blog, America, Occupied–found a transcendentalist spirituality on the ground in (where else?) Boston.
No doubt, the motives and rationales of OWS run a wide gamut; hell, it’s all about letting anyone who shows up have a say at the general assembly. But the movement’s signature expression–the extended, 24-7 encampment–is best thought of not in terms of a political rally but as a religious vigil. The relatively small number of occupiers are bearing witness for the community at large to what they see as societal injustice. And when motorists honk their approval as they drive by, they are not signalling their support for a particular agenda, or someone else’s cause. They are expressing their own identity as the 99 percent. They are the ones we’ve been waiting for.