Thursday, December 13, 2007

GA teachable moment

While I, too, am deeply disturbed by the steady erosion of our civil liberties, I am more inclined to see the Fort Lauderdale GA (where the Convention Center will require government-sponsored ID to enter) as a teachable moment. I respect those of us who choose to protest by their absence, and I think we can do more good by engaging the issue in creative ways. The official response offers some responsible suggestions, such as placing chaplains at each point of entry. If we enact some creative theater at these checkpoints, perhaps the message will sink deeper into our members, and inspire real action in our congregations around the country (“Unless you wish to show ID to access places in your town, do something!”) If our theatrical activism is creative enough, and well-publicized enough, we could get some local or even national press coverage—and that is a venue by which we might inspire real reflection and change. [And it might attract more visitors to our churches.]

Our UUA has already offered to dedicate part of a plenary session to consciousness-raising about this, and similar issues. Such (a) session(s) could inspire and equip folks to take up the fight in their local arenas.

I am most concerned about our worship services—that by holding worship inside a restricted zone, we ourselves are ceding our rights to free assembly and free exercise of religion. Again, creative responses such as webcasting the worship service on big screens outside the security perimeter (or holding multiple street worships, or other more creative ideas) might not only recapture our free exercise, it might offer a teachable moment in the public discourse.

I’d like us to satisfy our consciences AND get condemned on Fox News. Repeatedly.


At 11:23 AM, Blogger Obijuan said...

Someone suggested "alternate" IDs. I'm thinking of creating a few graphics people could download and get laminated. Imagine if we could get a thousand people to show up in Florida with identical protest IDs.

At 5:41 PM, Blogger Real Anonymous said...

As much as a "teachable" moment as this may be, it seems to me to be antithetical to what a religious movement is supposed to be about.

Religious movements are supposed to be open and welcoming; the Port Authority and Convention Center's response to our concerns seems to be the opposite of "Enter, Rejoice and Come In".

While I respect anyone who goes, I will be protesting by staying at home.

At 6:42 AM, Blogger Chip said...

R.A., I respect your choice to "protest by staying home," and I still believe it will be more effective to protest by showing up and engaging. Bring one of Obijuan's fake IDs; set up your own checkpoint, outside the security perimeter, and demand smiles; hold guerilla worship on the streets...THAT is protest.


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