News Release

Christianity and Occupy Wall Street


Director of the Office of the Americas, Bonpane served as a Maryknoll priest in Guatemala and has written five books including “Guerrillas of Peace: Liberation Theology and the Central American Revolution” and “Civilization is Possible.” His latest book is “Imagine No Religion: An Autobiography.”

He said today: “I fully agree with Chris Hedges when he says that the Occupy movement is manifesting the Beatitudes. It’s similar to the movement of early Christianity, where all things were shared in common. The Romans made it illegal to be a Christian, punishable by death. The Romans know that it was not possible to serve empire and follow the way taught by the carpenter of Nazareth and the Romans were quite logical. The way and empire are not compatible. The Christians even refused to serve in the Roman military. So they were hunted down and fed to the lions. This basically continued until the Emperor became a Christian and the Council of Nicaea was established in the fourth century. Imperial Christianity followed. This led to Crusades, Inquisitions and conquistadors. …

“This is a nonsectarian movement that is based on the fruits of the spirit. … Hedges calls on religious groups to give real support to the OWS movement, including shelter. He connects the Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount with the Occupy movement. Hedges says the movement will revitalize traditional Christianity in the U.S. or signal it’s moral, social and political irrelevance:

“The Occupy movement is clearly demonstrating the legacy of the warfare state, ‘war on earth and bad will to anyone who differs with the One Percent.’ And now the international Occupy movement is calling for the traditional peace on earth and good will to all people. By contrast, American exceptionalism has become a religion for many of our citizens, especially those who use ‘Christianity’ as a cloak for malice and nationalism.”