The Associated Press looks at some of the religious voices being heard in this protest movement:
Downtown Dewey Square is crammed with tents and tarps of Occupy Boston protesters, but organizers made sure from the start of this weeks-old encampment that there was room for the holy.
No shoes are allowed in the “Sacred Space” tent here, but you can bring just about any faith or spiritual tradition.
A day’s schedule finds people balancing their chakras, a “compassion meditation” and a discussion of a biblical passage in Luke. Inside, a Buddha statue sits near a picture of Jesus, while a hand-lettered sign in the corner points toward Mecca.
The tent is one way protesters here and in other cities have taken pains to include a spiritual component in their occupations. Still, Occupy Wall Street is not a religious movement, and signs of spiritually aren’t evident at all protest sites.
Clergy emphasize they are participants in the aggressively leaderless movement, not people trying to co-opt it. Plus, in a movement that purports to represent the “99 percent” in society, the prominent religious groups are overwhelmingly liberal.
Religion might not fit into the movement seamlessly, but activist Dan Sieradski, who’s helped organize Jewish services and events at Occupy Wall Street, said it must fit somewhere.
“We’re a country full of religious people,” he said. “Faith communities do need to be present and need to be welcomed in order for this to be an all-encompassing movement that embraces all sectors of society.”
Religious imagery and events have been common since the protests began. In New York, clergy carried an Old Testament-style golden calf in the shape of the Wall Street bull to decry the false idol of greed. Sieradski organized a Yom Kippur service. About 70 Muslims kneeled to pray toward Mecca at a prayer service Friday.
A Chicago group, Interfaith Worker Justice, has published an interfaith prayer service guide for occupation protests nationwide…
…The movement could still attract center-right religious support from the Roman Catholic Church, said Stephen Schneck, director of the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at the Catholic University of America. But he said it must be clear protesters in the still-fuzzily-defined movement share mainstream Catholic concerns about consumerism and an unfettered free market.
“If it becomes just another version of American progressivism, then I can imagine the church probably wouldn’t want to cozy up to it too much,” Schneck said.
Imam Al-Hajj Talib Abdur-Rashid, who helped organize Friday’s Muslim prayer service in New York, believes religious groups have already amplified the movement’s power. He sees his involvement as a duty, because so many in his congregation are affected by the nation’s economic woes.
“If Moses or Jesus or Mohammed were alive in this day and time they’d be out there guiding and inspiring and teaching these young people,” he said.
There’s much more at the link.
Meantime, a reader sent me the image below, taken by her son at the park where Occupy Wall Street protestors are camped out in New York city: