Today, Fremont, California, had it’s first Occupy event – a walk and rally demonstrating Fremont In Solidarity With the Occupy Movement (FISWOM).  I was one of the organizers and these are the comments I shared at the rally:

Good morning.

I’m Jeffrey Spencer, senior pastor at Niles Discovery Church. In our traditions (the UCC & the DOC), pastors are free to speak as their consciences dictate, and so I speak today to share what my conscience has to say.

I’m a Christian, so what Jesus said matters to me.  And if you turn to Matthew 18:21-35, you’ll find a record of a story Jesus told.  Here’s summary of the story; you can check out Matthew’s version in his gospel.
A king decides to settle his accounts. He calls in a servant who has a humungous debt. There’s no way he can repay, so he begs for leniency and the king, who could have sold him and his family into slavery, but forgives the debt.
Then this forgiven servant goes out to collect some money that’s owed to him by another servant and when the second servant can’t repay this relatively speaking small debt, the forgiven servant and the second servant thrown in jail. When the king hears about how the first servant showed no mercy to the second servant, the king has the first servant thrown out into utter darkness.

Story is totally on point.
American Banks received huge bailouts that protected from collapse.
Then these banks turn around and foreclose on relatively speaking small debts.

I’m not interested in throwing the banks into the utter darkness.  I am interested in justice. That’s why I stand in solidarity with the Occupy movement.

How do we achieve that justice? Well, here are 6 things the Occupy movement is calling for that I completely support and that I think will move us toward justice:
1. An end to corporation personhood.
2. A reformed tax system that demands that those who can most afford to pay taxes pay the most.
3. Some legal accountability of those who caused the Great Recession.
4. Define any business that is deemed “to big to fail” as being a monopoly and break it up.
5. Transform from a fossil fuel, consumption based economy to a clean energy economy.
6. Strengthen Wall Street regulations.

At the end of Matthew’s gospel, there another story that Jesus tells.  It’s a story about how our lives will be judged, and it boils down to this: Our lives will be judged based on how we cared for or failed to care for those who are most in need, who are least powerful.  Let’s build a society that truly cares for those who are most in need.

Thank you.

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