Occupy whatever… The problem of protests & morality

News and discussions about the Occupy Wall Street abound. It brings up larger issues in my mind. I’m a bit fearful of political leaning posts as they tend to be polarizing, so as in all things I ask that we listen. My point is simply this: Protests rarely if ever lead to reconciliation and forcing morality rarely leads to real change.

He who whispers speaks loudest
The biggest problem with protests is they’re not heard. That’s right, not heard. “A soft answer turns away wrath.” Very few people, especially strong leaders, respond favorably to in your face, vehement approaches. We ignore those who nag or shout at us. Protesting is both of these things. It lacks civility. While I’m glad I live in a country that we can protest I do not think we should.

We’re all hypocrites
Occupy Wall Street is protesting itself. The protesters are just as broken as those they are protesting. We’re all broken and we’re all guilty. Wall Street and our government. It seems the greater injustice is how many of us have remained naive at how our society works. We elected officials based on rhetoric then truth. The way we made our lives complex propelled the consumerism and greed. It seems one side greeds for money the other for things. While one side decries income disparity, it seems the other can decry coveting. It’s the same sin.

Legislating morality
Legislating morality often doesn’t work. People choose what moral issue they wish to legislate. Why is legislating how one uses money more important than protecting life? Yes, bringing abortion into this is bringing in another polarizing issue. But, one of the criticisms of the pro-life movement is you shouldn’t legislate morality. Dealing with life, those who are anti-death penalty argue that the death penalty isn’t a deterrent. That’s not the issue, justice is. Why is justice more important with money than with life? Why is it ok to legislate morality of money?

We the people…
The problem isn’t the 99% vs 1%, its the 100%. The role of government is to maintain a just and peaceful society. It is a key reason why Paul instructs us to pray for our leaders in 1 Timothy 2. A key aspect and provision in our society is innocent until proven guilty. Are we affording that protected right in our country to Wall Street? The real question shouldn’t be aimed at Wall Street but the role and effectiveness of our government.

Pawns & being played…
When people are shouting they are not listening. When no one listens you have chaos and not reconciliation. As Christians our aim should be reconciliation. Chaos creates a large avenue for more injustice. When we read on totalitarian movements siding with the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the bigoted statements that are coming from the movement it gives me great pause. Getting even is a lousy motivator and leads to injustice. Often it brings out the “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Life isn’t fair & income mobility
There is evil in the world, and not everyone is dealt the ideal hand in life. The freedom we have in our country can allow a poor orphan to become one of the greatest CEO’s. While one may say that is an acceptation, I disagree. The Bible says if one does not work one does not eat. Hard work, making wise decisions and not giving up plays a big role. We have a choice to be a victim or to embrace obstacles as challenges. We have a choice to blame someone else, or to take responsibility for our own lives.

The bottom line
Seek to whisper and be heard. Seek to live a quiet and simple life. The problem is really us. When everyone is shouting no one is listening. When everyone is seeking their own rights, the path to reconciliation is blocked.

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