- NewsReal Blog - http://www.newsrealblog.com -
ACORN’s Very Own “Saint” Bertha Lewis Joins Rev. Billy: Leading the Left off the Road of Evil Capitalism- Earthalujah!
Posted By Michelle Horstman On May 15, 2011 @ 10:00 am In Email,Feature,In The Family Way,News | 7 Comments
As social justice becomes the new meaning for church among radical progressives, ACORN’s own Bertha Lewisseems to have found a home with Rev. Billy Talen and his anti-capitalist, revolutionary, Earth worshipping Church of Earthalujah. Many of us were treated to the video of her now infamous “Walmart sucks” performance at the church, but are left wondering what kind of church sings anti-capitalism hymns at their services? Is this what church is all about now for the progressive movement?
On May Day we stand with workers and immigrants and take to the streets! We’ll be marching as Reverend Billy and the Stop Big Boxes Gospel Choir along with Bertha Lewis, who will be our saint later that night at 7:30pm at The Church of Earthalujah!
And now, as so many New Yorkers are awash in sentimental Wal-mart ads, Bertha is not among those who are resigned to the arrival of this Giant Devil to the city – she’s leading the charge against the right-wing big box. For that, she will be our newest Fabulous Saint!
When the Rev. Billy Talen brought Bertha up to accept her “canonization,” he spoke of the importance of the attack on ACORN and promised they would “attend to it.”
Speaking in the flamboyant style of Jeremiah Wright, Bertha spoke to the congregation/ticket holders/Marxists or whatever the audience calls themselves:
Acorn is recognizing the struggle, the attacks that the Devil put upon us which was a precursor to Wisconsin. But there’s a New Deal going on right tonight…
She then launches into a moving diatribe (worship song?) about the evil Walmart and its’ oppressed, discriminated-against employees, crescendoing into a rousing chorus of “Walmart sucks.”
As it winds down, she declares:
…as long as I am a saint of the church of Stop Shopping Now, ain’t nobody gonna be shopping there. Amen.
We have to wonder what kind of church would bring out the passion in Bertha like this, and just what are they all about? Let’s start with their leader, the colorful Billy Talen, who ran for Mayor of New York against Bloomberg in 2009.
Rev. Billy is always on the go, as he has been for years. In his latest performance on May 11th, he was arrested for tresspassing at an anti-Koch brothers rally. Rev. Billy relates the horrifying incident this way:
The “Guerrilla Drive-In” at Lincoln Center was an experiment that many of the activists of New York attended – as if this cliff-hanger protest might reveal the future (which, yes, it has). Brave New Foundation, Agit-Pop, The Other 98%, Yes Lab, Critical Mass, the Rude Mechanical Orchestra and our own Church of Earthalujah worked in concert.
I enjoyed a role like that of a band-leader, motioning the congregation toward the west wall of the New York State Theater Building, preaching there a while from the top of a planter. Meanwhile guerrilla projectionists focused giant and savagely funny images of the Koch brothers on the white edifices.
The whole thing was over in a little more than an hour. As we were walking toward our car with our troupe’s director and my partner Savi, who carried our 13 month old Lena, we noticed three muscle-men running toward us through the darkness of the Avenue. SWAT-team-like, they pushed around a while shouting in my face, cuffed me and pushed me into a black car. I vanished into the system for 24 hours in this continuing fetish the NYPD has for jailing the “Billy preacher guy.”
Here are some recent ponderings from Rev. Billy’s blog which should clarify the stance of the “church”:
And then our Eden caught us from behind. It turned out to our surprise that the Promised Land was never in front of us.
The Promised Land caught us from behind because it was an inside job, the seeds and eggs and screaming birds. There is an Eden inside us, and we know there is. And to acknowledge this, as an ambitious American, is to start over completely, to defy Presidents and institutions and the religions that made the holy days like the Exodus and Easter a triumph over the wilderness. That roaring wild life, there’s no God violent enough to stop it. There’s no technology clever enough to stop it.
On the American Dream:
The American dream turned out to be deadly because it sold tickets to a long series of apocalypses – they are the epitome of good (funny-scary) entertainment. Then, something went terribly wrong when dying spectacularly made good media – a diverting nightmare shall we say – but we could not go forward with ordinary living, where death has a natural place. The leaders of the dream, the captains of consumption and militarism – culturally silenced those who thought that death was a natural part of living.
We are rewarded with our American Dream of convenience and entertainment – but the violence of our market will turn on us as it did on Mubarak and Qaddafi.
On “Right Wing” Christianity vs Wisconsin Progressive Spirituality
The Madison rotunda is full of a spiritual presence in the thousands of shouting citizens. Unlike many of the collective incantations I’ve witnessed in recent years, there is that progressive anger mixed into the singing. At the root of the power of the right-wing apocalyptic Christianity is the collective ecstasy of singing and praying, repeating beliefs in unison… We have seen the results: the warmongering and homophobia and earth-hatred that grips our politics.
On the Oppression of…Water?
We love water near us – how it seems to hold life in it. But then at the same time we colonize water, demanding its presence to wash, to drink without thinking, to defecate into and dismiss into pipes.
And then, in a flash, this dominance of water changed: Our slave became our boss. Our sentimental friend got very serious. Now everyday the water rises up and floods the celebrities off the news. The blizzards, mudslides, tsunamis – everyday we are drowned. The horizon to horizon floods of Pakistan and Australia astonish us.
But, of course, the news follows the lead of public officials in denying nature any meaningful role. It is only a vast serial killer of innocent human beings.
Certainly one thing that the water is doing with all its rampaging is erasing our walls, our borders, our territorial identity. We are less American as the ocean rises and more human.
If one didn’t know better, one might think they were making a mockery of the traditional Christian church that they appear to loathe, while at the same time, using it to promote every talking point on the progressive agenda.
You become part of the show, essentially. In our services, the praise is not for Jesus and all things glorious. It’s for neighbourhoods and communities. We’re taking the transformational possibility of gospel music and applying it to the everyday, the mundane.
Is this actually being endorsed by mainstream Christianity? Commentary from Christianity Today:
… the passion that is evident in the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir is contagious and admirable. Many Christian churches could learn a few things from this secular outfit.
Yes, it’s condescending. Yes, it cheapens Christianity. But the whole argument of the film is that our commodity culture has already cheapened Christianity.
Consider also the appearance of Obama’s own Jim Wallis in Rev. Billy’s film, ”What Would Jesus Buy?” With the participation of Saint Bertha and Jim Wallis, both close to this administration, it appears the progressives have finally found a church they can truly embrace.
Article printed from NewsReal Blog: http://www.newsrealblog.com
URL to article: http://www.newsrealblog.com/2011/05/15/acorns-very-own-%e2%80%9csaint%e2%80%9d-bertha-lewis-joins-rev-billy-leading-the-left-off-the-road-of-evil-capitalism-earthalujuah-1/
Copyright © 2010 NewsReal Blog. All rights reserved.