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Where Were You When They Crucified My Lord?

Posted on Dec 5, 2011
Illustration by Mr. Fish

By Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges gave an abbreviated version of this talk Saturday morning in Liberty Square in New York City as part of an appeal to Trinity Church to turn over to the Occupy Wall Street movement an empty lot, known as Duarte Square, that the church owns at Canal Street and 6th Avenue. Occupy Wall Street protesters, following the call, began a hunger strike at the gates of the church-owned property. Three of the demonstrators were arrested Sunday on charges of trespassing, and three others took their places.

The Occupy movement is the force that will revitalize traditional Christianity in the United States or signal its moral, social and political irrelevance. The mainstream church, battered by declining numbers and a failure to defiantly condemn the crimes and cruelty of the corporate state, as well as a refusal to vigorously attack the charlatans of the Christian right, whose misuse of the Gospel to champion unfettered capitalism, bigotry and imperialism is heretical, has become a marginal force in the life of most Americans, especially the young. Outside the doors of churches, many of which have trouble filling a quarter of the pews on Sundays, struggles a movement, driven largely by young men and women, which has as its unofficial credo the Beatitudes:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the earth.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons and daughters of God.
Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

It was the church in Latin America, especially in Central America and Augusto Pinochet’s Chile, which provided the physical space, moral support and direction for the opposition to dictatorship. It was the church in East Germany that organized the peaceful opposition marches in Leipzig that would bring down the communist regime in that country. It was the church in Czechoslovakia, and its 90-year-old cardinal, that blessed and defended the Velvet Revolution. It was the church, and especially the African-American church, that made possible the civil rights movements. And it is the church, especially Trinity Church in New York City with its open park space at Canal and 6th, which can make manifest its commitment to the Gospel and nonviolent social change by permitting the Occupy movement to use this empty space, just as churches in other cities that hold unused physical space have a moral imperative to turn them over to Occupy movements. If this nonviolent movement fails, it will eventually be replaced by one that will employ violence. And if it fails it will fail in part because good men and women, especially those in the church, did nothing.

Where is the church now? Where are the clergy? Why do so many church doors remain shut? Why do so many churches refuse to carry out the central mandate of the Christian Gospel and lift up the cross?

Some day they are going to have to answer the question: “Where were you when they crucified my Lord?”

Let me tell you on this first Sunday in Advent, when we celebrate hope, when we remember in the church how Mary and Joseph left Nazareth for Bethlehem, why I am in Liberty Square. I am here because I have tried, however imperfectly, to live by the radical message of the Gospel. I am here because I know that it is not what we say or profess but what we do. I am here because I have seen in my many years overseas as a foreign correspondent that great men and women of moral probity arise in all cultures and all religions to fight the oppressor on behalf of the oppressed. I am here because I have seen that it is possible to be a Jew, a Buddhist, a Muslim, a Christian, a Hindu or an atheist and carry the cross. The words are different but the self-sacrifice and thirst for justice are the same. And these men and women, who may not profess what I profess or believe what I believe, are my brothers and sisters. And I stand with them honoring and respecting our differences and finding hope and strength and love in our common commitment. 


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By Anarcissie, December 5, 2011 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment

weindeb, December 5 at 12:04 pm:

‘Of course I don’t know what IMax’s problem is ....’

Who say’s he’s got a problem?  He might be gainfully employed.

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By cpb, December 5, 2011 at 1:20 pm Link to this comment

It is unfortunate that many still try to reason with the
likes of Krazo, Hetero, Imax etc..  But they seem well
intentioned and likely haven’t been exposed to such
blatant trolling behavior perhaps.

The majority of the responses to this, as with other
related articles, are refreshing and encouraging. 
Trolling is not winning this battle, despite all their
self serving and pathetic attempts.

Go Chris, Go Occupy.

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By Albion's Fall, December 5, 2011 at 1:18 pm Link to this comment

I am confused as to how one’s socioeconomic status should be used to judge their involvment in the Occupy Movement. Shall OWS, like the Republican Party, devise a “purity test” for prospective protestors? Doesn’t mocking a person’s contribution based on perceptions of their monetary worth undermine the message that OWS is a place for all voices to be heard?

We might all benefit from reflecting Joshua F. Whalen’s recent contribution to this thread, instead of focusing on those who seem to misunderstand (willfully, perhaps?) the spirit of the movement.

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By Textynn, December 5, 2011 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Zuccotti Park owners Brookfield Properties owe city $139G in back taxes

The People should claim Zuccotti park because it has been abandoned by its owners.

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By Pouteria, December 5, 2011 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment

There needs to be a God
for a revitalized
Christianity. Good Luck
and Happy Hunting!

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By OzarkMichael, December 5, 2011 at 1:04 pm Link to this comment

Lumpenproletarier said:


I am sure that this speech will help you sell lots of books. I did not realize that “Occupy Wallstreet” was “your” movement. At the end you say that you are “there”. You are not there. You are in attendance, but you are not “there”. Have you lost your home? Are you afraid that you will not have enough to eat? Is there anything about the material condition of your life that is in jeopardy? You are an elite pretending to be one of us.

In fact, the original 200 Occupy Wall Street kids were mostly white, mostly college educated, and mostly rich, with average home values of $300,000!!!

There was “nothing about the material condition of their life that was in jeopardy”, yet these elites were pretending to be ‘there’. What gave them the right to pretend to be speak for the lower classes?

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By Mama Miller, December 5, 2011 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This article expresses very clearly what I have been thinking about what the real
mission of OWS should be, and is how I have viewed all the occupy movements
from the beginning. 

I was raised in a very conservative evangelical Christian home, where doctrine
and rules were much more important than compassion and respect for others. 
So I have had all I can stand of scriptures taken out of context, so-called
“Christians” turning their noses up at those who don’t talk, dress, or behave
according to a group of man-made standards, and people believing that it is
more important to hide in their little sanctuaries, seeing life through stained
glass windows, than it is to actually follow Christ’s teachings and life-style. 

When those against OWS post rants about “those stinking lazy hippies need to
go home, take a bath, and get a job”  I think of the old saying “Cleanliness is
NEXT to Godliness”.  But cleanliness is not Godliness, just next to it, even in an
old adage.  I believe Godliness is what really counts- and I mean true religion,
which is loving others as much as we love ourselves,  reaching out in
compassion to those less fortunate, mingling with the down-trodden to help
raise them up. . .  caring about air and water pollution in China, since so many
of our industries have moved there to avoid the EPA, caring about children
working in sweat shops in 3rd world countries, since our corporations have
moved there to increase their own profits.  I believe that is what a truly loving,
spiritual person does- care about others and get involved in making a
difference, even if it is dirty, dangerous work.

I applaud the wonderful efforts of the occupy activists, and believe THEY are the
truly godly people in our country at this time.  I know there are problems with
theft, trash, etc., among the encampments, but making true change is never
easy or neat.  And it is an imperfect world.  But I am SO proud of the courage,
wisdom, and motivation of the OWS protesters.  If I had a church with an empty
lot to donate,  I would be honored to let them use it.

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By Joshua F. Whalen, December 5, 2011 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Your movement, my movement, OUR movement. It’s easy
to get mass movements moving. Keeping them moving,
now there’s the challenge.

I noted one commenter above who protests that it’s not
chris’s movement because he hasn’t lost his home or job.
Well, I’ve lost both, and I’ve been in Liberty Square since
September. I write this now from the #OWS office, I’ll
sleep tonight either in a church or at a stranger’s house.
I’ll eat whatever is donated.

I am one of the 99%, and the 99% have not all lost their
homes or jobs, yet. We have all lost our freedom, our
control of our destiny, our faith in our future. We have
become serfs and vassals once again of neo-royalists of
the 1%, and we, like our disenfranchised ancestors, are
rising with one voice to establish justice and liberty and
secure the general welfare for ourselves and our
posterity, and to cast down a despotism established
without any mandate of the people.

Chris is as much 1% as I am. Glad to have you on my side
Chris. Keep writing. I will.

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By weindeb, December 5, 2011 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Of course I don’t know what IMax’s problem is, but apparently some awful
anecdotal event associated with OWS has sent him reeling as he plays troll lite in
assigning such malevolent nonsense to the movement as “...thousands, yes
thousands, of incidents of violence and unlawful behaviors…”. Violence? A fairly
large amount? Yes. Who were violent? The police in almost all incidents. It is a
tribute to the heroic patriots of OWS that they have remained as peaceful as they
have, except for rare instances that stand out because they are so rare. I wish that
even these rare moments would not have occurred, but to vomit out such
falsehood that IMax evidently requires to make his point in denigrating the people
of OWS is both mendacious and disgusting.

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By Vaco, December 5, 2011 at 11:56 am Link to this comment

First, can you stop calling people “petulant children”? I do not know who or what else you so easliy put into stereotypes but I find it ignorant.

Second, why do you voice your concerns of the message of the Occupy movement being deflated by over hyping violence and in the same breath hype the violence at Occupy. For a very small example of what Occupy is up against: Goldman Sachs inflate subsidized U.S. grain prices to undercut third world country farmers. The farmers can no longer feed their families and commit suicide by drink pesticides. I am so sorry Imax that frustrated people at Occupy are not playing nice all the time. Why don’t you turn that eye you have for detecting violence and look at where the real violence is coming from. Then go join your local Occupy movement.

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By Lumpenproletarier, December 5, 2011 at 11:54 am Link to this comment


I am sure that this speech will help you sell lots of books. I did not realize that “Occupy Wallstreet” was “your” movement. At the end you say that you are “there”. You are not there. You are in attendance, but you are not “there”. Have you lost your home? Are you afraid that you will not have enough to eat? Is there anything about the material condition of your life that is in jeopordy? You are an elite pretending to be one of us. You make your living by speaking and writing things that will provide you with an income. You want other people to give up what they have, but I doubt very much that you would give up what you have.

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By Albion's Fall, December 5, 2011 at 11:52 am Link to this comment

His penchant for hyperbole aside, IMax’s suggestions have merit. As an educator, I agree with him on the need to occupy school boards, which have a profound influence over the sort of education our children will receive. It often happens that school boards, even in progressive areas, are dominated by the same reactionaries who villify teachers and lionize the marketization of our education system. While this is great news for publishing conglomerates like Pearson, it’s terrible news for schools forced into ever narrower pedagogical boxes, in which curriculum is scripted and teachers are reduced to test prep technicians. Students, too, are dehumanized, reduced to test takers, producers of numbers which are then consumed by the MSM and the political class as examples of public education’s continuing failure; a vicious cycle that is already leading to increased calls for privatization and the dismemberment of teacher unions. This travesty has been ongoing for decades now, such that K-12 education has become a $24 billion enterprise, a figure that no less than Rupert Murdoch predicts will eclipse $500 billion when public education is completely privatized. This, not coincidentally, is the goal of all monied conservatives in this country. Corporate consumerism is to be our pedagogue, the force which educates our children and informs their values and world view.

Utter madness.

Occupying school boards is one way to check it.

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By Jay, December 5, 2011 at 11:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

IMax - “Now Occupy has become a spectacle and a
complete embarrassment for the majority of the liberal

God, save us from the ‘liberal set’.

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By Outraged, December 5, 2011 at 11:43 am Link to this comment

I love the structure that was build in D.C. It
would’ve been the only place in Washington where THE
AMERICAN PEOPLE would have been heard.

Of course, just the small glimmer of hope that we’d
actually have a seat at the table was torn down. The
claim being it was “unsafe”..... ironic isn’t it?

This same article reports that an officer refused to taser an occupier….. Good for them.

Ron Paul had good things to say:
” In many ways, it’s a very healthy movement. I’m
not one to say, “why don’t you get a bath and go get
a job and quit crybabying.” I don’t like that at all.
I think that’s a misunderstanding of where the
unemployment comes from. The unemployment comes from
policy, government policy, and it’s the federal
reserve and the business cycle is not a consequence
of free markets. That doesn’t mean I think they’re
all perfect out there…..”

Way to go, Paul. (and I’m not normally a fan of Paul)

Re: Everyone

Don’t let IMAX bother you. Not to worry, tomorrow
IMAX (and buds) will be “for occupy” cause today
they’re “against it”

(gee… I wonder which candidate they support)

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By YoungGringos, December 5, 2011 at 11:21 am Link to this comment


Are you saying nothing can be changed by the wailing and gnashing of teeth via the interwebs? 
Are you actually suggesting we interact with other human beings face to face? In the flesh? First person? 

Can’t we just skype?

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By IMax, December 5, 2011 at 11:16 am Link to this comment

vaco, - “Why are you not ‘correcting’ them face to face at your local Occupy?”


Clearly you assume a great deal. I have done precisely what you suggest. Not only in my own city but Detroit and Chicago as well.

You are 100% correct about the effects of violence on the Occupy message. I have been voicing that exact concern for well over a month. I believe it’s time to end these violence prone ‘Occupations’ of parks, sidewalks, streets and doorways and begin to collect ourselves in order to Occupy School Boards, City Councils, County Seats, State Houses and the U.S. Congress.

Your attempts to ignore or make lite of thousands, yes thousands, of incidents of violence and unlawful behaviors will never aid the Occupy message. It’s time to send the petulant children away and begin the real work of lasting, meaningful, change!

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By Wikileaks for Nobel, December 5, 2011 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

I love Chris Hedges.

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By Vaco, December 5, 2011 at 10:36 am Link to this comment

Violence does not work because it distracts from the real message of the movement. You are distracted. Just like the media focusing on the violence. Any large group of people will have violent offenders.(soccer riots, etc.)

The more energy you spend talking about the very small group of violent offenders, the less energy you will have on the real issues.

If you want to ‘correct’ the “petulant children” at occupy, why are you arguing about the small violent issues in a comment section of a website? Why are you not ‘correcting’ them face to face at your local Occupy? I think your judging would change to understanding if you came down from your birds eye view of the movement and into reality.

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By Brook Packard, December 5, 2011 at 10:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

FYI - The Episcopal Church’s liturgy generals have
deemed Elizabeth Cady Stanton worthy of acknowledgement
in Lesser Feasts and Fasts. She shares July 20th with
Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, and Amelia Bloomer.

It seems Trinity supports OWS until it asks for
something actually wanted and needed. The Holy Family
is adorable until they need a place to stay. This is
why the institutional church just loves charity - it
keeps it from addressing justice.

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By Amon Drool, December 5, 2011 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

IMax…you sure is one comfortable liberal.  you
woulda been poo-poohing mario savio in the sixties
for his call to stop a life-destroying ‘machine’.  if
some young’uns choose to inflict property damage as a
way of venting their anger/frustration, so be it. 
that’s their choice and they will live with the
consequences of being incarcerated for a period of
time.  i guess they feel they’ve had enough and it’s
now time to draw a line.  or maybe they’re just
waiting for the day when they can be a ‘reasonable’
‘non-petulant’ armchair liberal like you.

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By Outraged, December 5, 2011 at 10:26 am Link to this comment

Certainly it’s curious to note the posters here who
invoke the “Romney Rubicon”.

I was against occupy before I was for occupy, and after
I was for occupy I’m now against occupy.

LOL. Yep, we’ll take your comments to heart….. with
about the same “stalwartness” you have for the position of

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By Evan, December 5, 2011 at 9:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hedges is right on with all of this. This has been on my mind for some time now. I see now, for the first time in my own life, how many people pay lip service to faiths of all kinds that simply don’t stand for justice when the moment hits. Thanks for this Chris, and keep fighting cause I’m behind you!!!!

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By felicity, December 5, 2011 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

Keep it up, Chris.  I became a Catholic when I became
first-hand acquainted with Liberation Theology - a
theology which interprets the teachings of Christ in
terms of a liberation from unjust economic, political
or social conditions.

Today, sadly, it’s become almost impossible to find a
Catholic church where one can hear the theology of
liberation coming from any pulpit.

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By Albion's Fall, December 5, 2011 at 9:08 am Link to this comment

@ galeww and LitlBludot,
I appreciated your contributions. Your thoughts reflect a deep understanding of what OWS should strive to embody: the hope, perseverence, empathy, and spirituality of the oppressed. Gale, I hope your dealings with the legal system are fairly and swiftly expedited.

My own read on Hedges is that he is seeking to provide a context by which Americans might understand the notion of liberation theology. I’m no expert on the subject, but wikipedia provides a decent introduction.

The following is lifted from the wiki essay: “Liberation theology proposes to fight poverty by addressing its supposed source: sin. In so doing, it explores the relationship between Christian theology — especially Roman Catholic theology — and political activism, especially in terms of social justice, poverty, and human rights. The principal methodological innovation is seeing theology from the perspective of the poor and the oppressed.”

Liberation theology eschews hierarchy and its methodology is steeped in community building and social criticism. The teachings of Christ are used as a foundational text through which to explore the inquity, corruption, and oppression that characterize many, if not all, dominant political and economic systems. Liberation theologians have been repeatedly censored and castigated by the Vatican, most notably in the person of former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the current Pope. In the 1950s and 1960s, liberation theology played an important role in promoting critical literacy among desperately impoverished and marginalized populations in Central and South America, something which enabled those populations to unite and work successfully toward political reform. What seems important is the idea that the Church can play a role in fomenting critical thought and progressive political activism (the Catholic Worker is a notable example of these precepts). In any case, Hedges’ call for an American liberation theology to take root is long overdue, and Trinity Church (indeed, any church with a social conscience) would do well to heed it.

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By Jeseppi Trade Wildfeather, December 5, 2011 at 8:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I heard a wise saying once, “Your life is your religion.” The religion of Bolshevism, Social Darwinism, scholastic elitism, eugenics/genetic engineering, land reform and purges is the religion of atheists. You atheists, who among you would like be the first to live under those imposing and enslaving traditions? Mercy!

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By IMax, December 5, 2011 at 8:45 am Link to this comment


There remains another option. Stand in the way of petulant children as any reasonable adult should. And if it fails it will fail, in part, because good men and women, especially those on the Left, did nothing.

From our comfortable chairs we can see what’s taken place at nearly every large Occupation. We can choose to see or we can close our collective eyes and wish it not to be true.

If violence is what you seek then be clear on that. Otherwise choose any city that has been Occupied and we will, together, look at the violence that has come from these protests.

Man living at Occupy Portland charged for Molotov cocktail incident

REMEMBER: All it takes is a little old lady with a funny little hat and a sign which reads ‘We Want Our Country Back’ to be labeled a dangerous, racist, terrorist.

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By prisnersdilema, December 5, 2011 at 8:44 am Link to this comment

Too many Christians not enough Christs, that has always been the problem….until that
problem is solved, then there can be no revitalization…

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By gerard, December 5, 2011 at 8:21 am Link to this comment

It’s clear from a number of these comments the amount of deadly hatred in these writers’ hearts and minds!
  Hatred that burns to destroy all opposition to the status quo, no matter how ruinous that status quo has proven itself to be for vast majorities.
  Hatred that will bring the human race to extinction unless it is somehow converted—yes, turned with a love greater than itself, turned toward care and sympathy and tolerance and reason.
  Surely, we are in a Great Depression of the Human Spirit here where nothing much is left except the vision, and the courage required, to Occupy Hatred Itself.

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By Revshock, December 5, 2011 at 8:13 am Link to this comment

Trinity Church, i will be praying for you to do the right thing.

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By Copeland, December 5, 2011 at 8:12 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges is once more a voice of solidarity and service to our common
humanity. I find it inspiring to hear this message. It is unknown what the outcome
of this struggle will be; but without our belief that justice must prevail, we will find
it hard to maintain our strength and serve our brothers and sisters. Hedges is
telling us that this is the time to commit ourselves to acts of conscience.

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By balkas, December 5, 2011 at 8:08 am Link to this comment

yes, each human [unless s’mhow brain injured or incapacitated] yearns
for justice. that wld be peachy had it ever existed or ever will exist.
in fact, there is no truth no justice aside from thinkers.
thus, a thinker’s justice-truth who obeys or ‘understands/knows’ [which
is an impossibility; hey, emperor is nake after all]] bible wld always
differ from the justice of an hindi or muslim.

so, in fact, u have justice1 for a hindu, justice2 for a catholic, justice3
for a baptist. in short, eternal hatred, intolerance, warfare between such
yes, of course, hitler, jesus, mohammed, mussolini, stalin, truman,
obama, gaddafi, mubarak, ben gurion yearn or have yearned for
and were willing to kill or imprison/torture anyone who stood in their
and there is no thinker aside from hisher schooling, particular
culture/lore/learning and people not knowing this or are in denial of
this, we have what we have: hate, anger, wars, exploitation, abuse,
tortures, meritocracy, kleptocracy, jails for ‘bad’ and
pedestal/medals/honors for ‘good’ people, etc.
and all this for an eternity [+: how can u oppose my truth, u imbecile,
vile person, moron] and eternally hunting for the snark that justice is.

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By Jeseppi Trade Wildfeather, December 5, 2011 at 7:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris ... another inspiring piece. When Christ died on the cross I was Bob Bennet’s “Man of the Tombs” desperately in need of a savior who occupies the souls of the “dead among the living, who know no mercy and no forgiving ... shame and shamelessness equally there like a random toss of a coin in the air.” That’s where I was.

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By balkas, December 5, 2011 at 7:23 am Link to this comment

hedges: “i have seen that a christian, muslim…can carry the cross”
i have seen that an overwhelming number of muslims, christians, hindus have
always approved each of their wars; waged wars for poverty/suppression of
science/knowledge and never against them.
and they never will carry that cross as long as their beliefs stay the same.

muslims wld always carry mohammed’s cross and christians jesus’. both of these
men were haters of humanities, panhuman values, etc.
both the bible [and/or torah/bible] and quran can be compared with mein kampf.
not, of course, if comparison is done selectively.
and nearly every muslim and christian wld do just that: cherrypick some [even the
foggiest] passages and simply ignore others which are vicious, strongly antihuman,
hateful, angry, etc.

note please, that even the well educated and rich ashkenazim, americans,
europeans have not [or seems so] understood mein kampf. had all these [say
100mn people] understood mein kamf and what nazis were saying from ‘33, they
cld have saved mlns of ashkenazic [but nonshemitic] admixure of ethnoses.

or did the church and the zionists know that ashkenazic peoples were in great peril
and were sacrificed on the altar of jesus so that church and zionists wld have a
country of their own in palestina—whose inhabitants were descendants of shem
and ashkenazim not?
the point i am making is that neither der mein kamf nor the bible, or quran can be
thus, the greatest swindle ever is being perped against all of us when sacerdotal
class ‘teaches’ [ie, knows] bible, quran, god, or allah.
we’ve been had, folks. time has come to let these swindlers know this or we shall
never have peace on earth.
and, very sorry, to note hedges also selling us snake oil; including jesus’s
meaningless beatitudes. yes, brilliant, but as ALL OTHER VERBAL BRILlIANCIES
much nosensical and useless for daily orientation for a happy life. tnx

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By Reverend Lauren Unruh, December 5, 2011 at 6:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris, you made me cry.

To cheer us up, I thought you might enjoy this,

Native American Night Before Christmas

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By Vaco, December 5, 2011 at 6:55 am Link to this comment

“Petulant children”? Do you mean unpeople, not worthy to share your space? Sounds to me as if you look down on them from your comfy chair and point your finger, laughing and mocking OWS as they slip and fall trying to create something new. Get out of the way or help, your choice.

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By Revshock, December 5, 2011 at 6:50 am Link to this comment

Post this next to the announcement about the children’s
nativity play.

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By Revshock, December 5, 2011 at 6:49 am Link to this comment

Excellent piece. I hope our churches across the nation
post this on the bulletin board next to the
announcement of the ladies tea.

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By Jen, December 5, 2011 at 6:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As an atheist who used to be a devout Christian, I frequently spot Christian hypocrisy, perhaps because I recognize how I used to see the world when I was a Christian. I have been frustrated that, of my many Christian friends who spoke fervently about social justice in college, only one seems to be taking up the Occupy banner.  (Yes, I demonstrated at OccupyLexingtonKY.)  Thank you, Chris Hedges, for articulating an elegant, cogent argument!  Perhaps the church will wake up and start being as Christlike as they claim to be.  You call them to accountability.

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By balkas, December 5, 2011 at 6:31 am Link to this comment

what did the civil rights movement of the 60s brought us? how about the ONE
PERCENT, horrors and terrors/horrors in nicaragua, palestina [since 11th C., much
due to the church or to 99.999 per mille believers in utopia and emptyness],
iraq, afgh’n, churches’ [or of the 99.999 per mille’s, i estimate, if fewer than that,
let me know, please] striving to destroy iran, waging hatred towards cuba, korea,
china, equality builders, etc.

and, no, the 99.999 p.m of the prejudiced wld never be shamed nor brought
onside equality building, promoting peace, prosperity [except verbally, of course,
as always before] FOR ALL ABOUT EQUALLY.

and what had the 60s protest brought to black people? go ahead, chris tell us?
how about more jails, less work [slavery was actually better for them, i think—at
least i, wld have chosen it for self instead ‘liberation’, etc.

yes, yes, like obama, clinton do, give them also beatitific verbal brilliancies but
never daily bread. tnx

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By Rev. Roger Wolsey, December 5, 2011 at 6:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

See also this Christian critique of the Occupy movement:

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By Rev. Roger Wolsey, December 5, 2011 at 6:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I fully agree with Chris and have said so from the beginning! At its best, the Occupy movement reminds us of Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 2), Jesus’ first sermon (Luke 4), and the spirit of Pentecost (Acts 2-4). See: yes. see:“occupy”-protests/

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By IMax, December 5, 2011 at 6:20 am Link to this comment


All attempts to deny the violence that has come from these protests will ultimately fail. The ‘99’ are far smarter than Chris Hedges.

I supported the OWS message the first month. Now Occupy has become a spectacle and a complete embarrassment for the majority of the liberal set. Only the most radical in American support these petulant children.

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By IMax, December 5, 2011 at 6:13 am Link to this comment

Billy Pilgrim,

Yes, Billy, thousands. I beg you do your own homework before you speak again on the issue.


Billy believes Occupy is populated by racists. All Want Their Country Back! - Clear racist language on display.

OCCUPY: It’s Time to Take This Country Back
Posted on 29 November 2011 by admin

We can’t give in and we can’t give up. We must take our countries back. - Cynthia McKinney

Taking Our Country Back!
I am part of the 99%... the more you denigrate and ignore the growing discontent, the faster things will change.

]Beyond Occupy: How We Take Back Our Country

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By Paul Watkins, December 5, 2011 at 5:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Recognise then liberate your truth from within you.  Its not much to do with religion, its more to do with personal honesty, its having the belief and courage in your conviction.

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By balkas, December 5, 2011 at 5:58 am Link to this comment

hedges: “it was the church in e. germany that organized peaceful marches in
leipzig that wld bring down communist regime in that country”.
indeed, the church did once again its usual dirty work in stopping panhuman
progress towards ever greater equality on personal and int’l levels, absence of
warfare, and keeping german armed forces from invading/occupying ‘alien’
countries and morally supporting u.s army and all of its wars.

thanks to german and other churches, e.germany is now part of nato and nato’s
crimes against humanities.
thanks to church, german ruling class is now much against OWS and much
supportive of own 1% and american 1%. tnx

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By Vaco, December 5, 2011 at 5:55 am Link to this comment

Just another armchair ‘activist’ I see. “Don’t rock the boat, it’s scaring me!” Thank you for sitting on the side lines judging and out of the way of people who want change.

@Chris Hedges, thank you for your motivating work. Please don’t stop yelling.

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By Litl Bludot, December 5, 2011 at 5:47 am Link to this comment

Those who interpret this as a religious article are missing the point. It’s a
spiritual epitome, meaning to shame the millions of hypocrites posing as
“good” citizens; though, in fact, they are enablers of the amoral parasites who
are destroying our lives and the planet. Chris is hoping that those who daily
pretend to be ethical, civilized citizens will see the ugly, insidious reality that
the corporate fascists are selling to them, and reject it.

It is not enough for the hypocrites to see naked police brutality, innocents
remotely obliterated, toxic garbage sold as food, our air and water poisoned,
species going instinct, thousands in corporate prisons, our privacy completely
violated, our schools turned into corporate profit centers where learning how to
think is prohibited, our lawmakers turned into corporate cronies, and fellow
citizens who are still capable of outrage, rounded up, brutalized and
imprisoned by sadistic robo cops, seemingly devoid of humanity. 

There seems to be no other choice but to somehow reactivate the remnants of
a collective conscience that merges us with the web of life, that allows our
minds to instantly reject and then punish behavior that is inexorably leading to the death of civilization and of this beautiful living planet. This is what Mr. Hedges is trying to do.

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By John Poole, December 5, 2011 at 5:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hedges needs to brush up on his Dostoyevsky.  The church has long worked for
the “other” guy (the purported Devil). The Christians I know today are the new

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By Billy Pilgrim, December 5, 2011 at 5:37 am Link to this comment

Imax: Thousands? And yes, if that little old lady
wearing a funny hat with a sign reading “I want my
country back” is a racist, then yes, she is a
terrorist. Or at least, a moron who did her best to
screw up Obama’s first term by being a useful idiot to
the Koch Brothers and other far right organizations.

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By OzarkMichael, December 5, 2011 at 5:23 am Link to this comment

Hedges said:

And if it fails it will fail in part because good men and women, especially those in the church, did nothing.

Where is the church now? Where are the clergy?

I will tell you where they are, they are where Leftists want them, meekly praying, meekly remaining on the other side of the “wall of separation of Church and State”. If their faith informs a course of political action, they are afraid to act, because it might violate the constitution!

Now you want us to speak up when just yesterday you demanded we remain silent.

Decades of agitprop against Christian activists has worked well. Too well.

Blame yourself, Mr Hedges.

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By IMax, December 5, 2011 at 4:55 am Link to this comment

If this nonviolent movement fails, it will eventually be replaced by one that will employ violence.” - Chris Hedges


Occupy has been “nonviolent”? To date we have seen thousands of incidents of violence coming from these demonstrations. To say there’s been no violence is tantamount to saying 99% of world’s population is too stupid to believe their own eyes.

Hedges promises violence if he fails to get his way. And this from an individual who claimed a little old lady wearing a funny little hat is a terrorist for carrying a sign which read “We Want Our Country Back”.

OWS failed a little over a month ago. These demonstrations has become a spectacle lead by idiotic and petulant children.


Among all the crimes attributed to the occupations across the country–rape, assault, theft, vandalism and arson:

  Police have arrested an Occupy Fort Collins protester in connection with a $10 million arson fire that damaged dozens of condominiums and businesses in Fort Collins.

  Benjamin David Gilmore, 29, was arrested on Thursday night on suspicion of arson, burglary and criminal mischief.

  On Oct. 24, a fire started at 3:30 a.m. in a four-story apartment complex under construction. The fire spread to the occupied Penny Flats condominium and retail building next door.

And what do Occupy spokespeople say every single time one of their regulars gets arrested? The homeless did it:

  “He had no reason to do this,” Crisler [the OFC media person]said. “They’re [investigators] just looking for a scapegoat.”

  Crisler believes the fire was started by several homeless people who took refuge in the apartment complex that was under construction…Crisler said the protesters told investigators about the five homeless people.


- While Benjamin Gilmore remains in custody the homeless people Crisler attempted to lay blame (have arrested) were subsequently released without charge. - Occupy is “nonviolent”. ARREST THE INNOCENT. ARREST THE HOMELESS!

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By Bubba, December 5, 2011 at 4:54 am Link to this comment

“And the great 19th century populist Mary Elizabeth Lease, who thundered: ‘Wall Street owns the country. It is no longer a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street, and for Wall Street. The great common people of this country are slaves, and monopoly is the master.’”

Monopoly is the master?  Yes, indeed.  Discover why and how.  Discover what to do about it.  Discover an alternative economics to “free market capitalism” that works.  Discover Henry George.  Read “Progress and Poverty.”

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By Druthers, December 5, 2011 at 4:10 am Link to this comment

Personally I am not a Christian and I hold no religious beliefs but this article by Chris Hedges speaks to all that is human dignity and respect for one’s fellow man and wonder at this beautiful planet that is being raped.
Most of the evils perpetuated by mankind were carried out in the name of some superior Ceo position attributed to man over the rest of the planet and some superior cause upheld by these same Ceos, simply varying from time to time.
The 1% have reigned over the fate of others for far too long, generally bringing, as we now witness, misery, povery and death, as always for some superior cause known only to them.
We are in another Great Depression, perhaps far greater than any we have known and still we are called upon to uphold these unholy causes.

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By galeww, December 5, 2011 at 4:08 am Link to this comment

Each week in Occupy seems longer now—standing on street corners, marching on banks, GA’s and committees,  attorneys, arraignments, watching fellow occupiers bashed, dragged, pepper sprayed.  Encampments demolished.  I confess I have moments of utter despair—and then—it’s Monday and YOU SPEAK.  By the time I finish your articles—my spirit is restored—my resolve and purpose strengthened.  I am uplifted.  Even though you don’t know me, your words speak directly to me.  I can’t thank you enough for your articles—for your passion and outrage.  Please keep fighting.  Please keep writing.  It means more than you’ll ever know.
Gale Wheat
Occupy Coachella Valley, CA arrested 11/2

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By Marietjie Luyt, December 5, 2011 at 4:04 am Link to this comment

The Beatitudes underlie all (true) religious thinking and activism. Marilynne Robinson’s essay in this regard: “Onward, Christian Liberals” remains relevant.

I like Chris Hedges’s sentiments, but he seems to be casting himself as a martyr to the cause. We are all fallible human beings, trying to do what is right. Nobody really fully ‘gets’ it. We have to bear in mind that Jesus said: Only God is good. All of us are pretty flawed and make mistakes all the time. We live through grace alone.

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By Mike Bendzela, December 5, 2011 at 3:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sorry, but I don’t care what the churches think of OWS.

Christianity crumbles under rational thought.

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By Vetted4peace, December 5, 2011 at 3:05 am Link to this comment

Only fools look to organized religion for exemplars. Occupy already has a secular savior. Over the past few days, it’s been thrilling to witness Scott Olsen’s resurrection from near death to making the rounds of MSNBC and Current TV talk shows—seemingly in the nick of time to rescue Occupy from premature hibernation.

If anyone can strike fear into the 1%, it’s Occupy Oakland’s iconic 24-year-old ex-Marine. This SUPER VET, whom CNN calls the “face of the Occupy movement,” is now poised to take his rightful place as the long sought-after Voice of Occupy. Indeed, with savvy management, he could become Occupy’s Justin Bieber! To read full story, paste this in your browser’s address bar:

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By ardee, December 5, 2011 at 2:30 am Link to this comment

Hedges appeals to the sort of religious spirit that is seemingly long gone.

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