The golden calf of Wall Street

This week on Interfaith Voices, I interviewed James Salt of Catholics United and Fr. Brian Merritt of Palisades Community Church in northwest D.C. Both have been part of Occupy D.C., the local version of Occupy Wall Street.

James Salt was one of the initiators of a large paper mache "golden calf," created by a growing religious contingent that is part of the Occupy Wall Street movement nationwide. The calf image was made to look like the Wall Street bull and was carried from Judson Memorial Church in New York to the Wall Street encampment -- with great cheers. Moses would have loved it!

If any religious symbol seems appropriate for this movement, the golden calf is it. It has long been a symbol of false idols or false gods, especially money and power.

Both James Salt and Brian Merritt noted that one D.C. encampment is on K Street, long considered the "home" of the D.C. lobbying establishment, thus symbolically linking the realities of money and power.

As they noted, money is made on Wall Street and spent on K Street, often in an effort to control the policies of government in favor of those with money.

Both men candidly admitted that this "occupy" movement is a work in progress, still formulating goals and actions. The real test, they say, comes with the cold weather, and later, the return of spring, with a presidential election looming on the horizon. The movement has not yet developed a strategy for legislative or electoral involvement; that remains in the future.

James Salt, however, would like to see his encamped friends move toward such engagement.

To hear this interview and see a photo of that golden calf, visit our website.


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