Occupy Wall Street May Seize Church-Owned Property Special
Occupy Wall Street protesters may try to seize a vacant lot from Trinity Church, says a member of the group's press team. But Trinity Church, a one-time ally, is refusing to let the Occupiers use this lot for their protests.
Their refusal is raising the hackles of the protesters, who are threatening to stake their claim anyway. In their zeal, they have turned on the church that had offered them meeting rooms and other facilities in the past.
According to MSNBC
“Under the banner of "Re-Occupy," the protesters said they've assembled more than 1,400 people -- elders of the civil rights movement, prominent artists, faith leaders and community members -- to help them in their bid to try and set up camp in a nearly half-acre plot about one mile northwest of their former camp at Zuccotti Park, from which they were evicted on Nov. 15.”
The rector of Trinity Church, the Reverend Dr. James H. Cooper, refuses to cave to the pressure of the Occupy Wall Street movement. In a strong statement
posted on the church’s website on December 9 he wrote:
“Calling this an issue of "political sanctuary" is manipulative and blind to reality. Equating the desire to seize this property with uprisings against tyranny is misguided, at best. Hyperbolic distortion drives up petition signatures, but doesn't make it right. Those arrested were not seeking sanctuary; they were seeking to be arrested. Trinity will continue our responsible outreach and pastoral services for all. We appreciate the many expressions of support we have received from so many in the community.”
Are the Occupiers Being Bullies?
If the Occupy Wall Street movement tries to occupy Trinity Church, they may gain supporters. But their actions may not help their movement or further their goals.
In a telephone interview with this reporter on Friday, Amy Showalter, author of The Underdog Edge
, said that the Occupy movement is ignoring a central tenet of changing public opinion and facilitating political and social change—that of “playing nice.”
Showalter, an expert on grassroots political movements and how to influence powerful people, said that all of her research shows that “playing nice” and being respectful towards others is one of the most important qualities a group must demonstrate in order to affect social change.
Given Showalter’s statements, one must wonder if the Occupy Wall Street’s plan of occupying the highly respected Trinity Church is a smart move.