Aftermath of the standoff with Boston Police, Dewey Square December 9, 2011
A Little Opiate of the People is a Dangerous Thing
This one’s a joy for me in case you’re in doubt. Some of my anarchist friends will agree and some will be revolted. I’ve been sticking one toe in the opiate of the people thing at Community Church of Boston. CCB was initially founded as non-denominational . But in the mid 70′s they decided to join the Unitarian Universalist Association. I somewhat understand the Unitarian part having been raised in the Episcopal Church – an egregiously Trinitarian outfit.1 The idea of a universal religion is intriguing but problematic. Is it the cure for the ever increasing factionalism of Christianity or is it a subtle form of religious imperialism?
Like most UU churches, CCB does not hold formal sessions in the summer. The last two summers, we had informal sessions. This summer – not. I decided to wander down the street to the Arlington Street Church. I had been in their basement many times. For one thing the Friday night community dinner2 is the best on the circuit. Also, after the eviction, Occupy Boston held the Tuesday night General Assembly there for several months. The food tent operated out of their kitchen until … We seem to have left the stove on overnight . Cheryl Queen of the Universe tells me we have quite the reputation around the church for that.
As I approached the front door of the church, I saw a car4 festooned with all sorts of political and inpsirational stickers. One in particular caught my eye. It was a very familiar design that I had seen distributed by the Spirituality Tent. But this one was HUGE. It was Occupy Your Heart.
That was also the theme of the sermon given by Religious Educator and Artist in Residence Laura Evonne Steinman.3
A little opiate of the people is a dangerous thing – but to what or whom?
1I had a conversation with my mother, the daughter of the Rev. Dr. William Henry Kinkle Pendleton IV, about Henry VIII’s declaring himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England. I found the movie version of history quite adequate. Henry did it because the Pope wouldn’t give him a divorce and thereby frustrated his quest for an heir. My mother said, “There’s more to it than that,” but she never specified what that “more” was.
2This is code for “homeless” or “house poor” paying even the most modest available rent.
3I think Laura had the purple highlights in her Mohawk when we were at Dewey, but I’m afraid I didn’t spend much time with her so I’m not sure.
4Yes, as lovely as it is, it is still a petroleum consuming, carbon dioxide emitting automobile! I shall endeavor to convey to Laura the joys of climate justice. “Justice is what love looks like in public.” -Cornell West. “Climate is the most public show on earth.” -the guy by the door.