Sunday, March 3, 2013

Nonviolent Method #3 : Declarations by Organizations and Institutions

The third Method of Nonviolent Action that Gene Sharp writes about is Declarations by Organizations and Institutions.  This, too, could help the climate movement when President Obama pushes to get something done about it.

My favorite example came in Nazi-occupied Holland in 1943 when the Dutch Reformed Church AND the Roman Catholic Church came out with a letter that told their congregations it was their RELIGIOUS DUTY to do civil disobedience and to refuse to collaborate with the Nazis. 

That drove Hitler’s Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels crazy.  He said it was an “exceptionally insolent letter”. 

Oh, right, Goebbels!  It’s INSOLENT for churches not to want to help mass murderers.  “Where do these people who worship the Prince of Peace GET OFF not helping us exterminate people?!  They’re insolent, I tell you!”


Anyway, isn’t it also a RELIGIOUS DUTY to save God’s creation?  I mean, how can it not be?!  “Oh, thanks for creating all this, God, now we’re just gonna use it all up!”  God’s not gonna be cool with that.  Not the human God and not the great mama polar bear spirit, who’s breath of life colors the sky of the Arctic night. 

Anyway, more and more churches are realizing they all have a religious duty to protect our planet from climate catastrophe.

In Nazi-occupied Norway, on one Sunday in 1941, one pastoral letter was read from almost every pulpit in the land, then copies of the letter were handed out and posted all over the place.  It would be great if, when the President really needs our help to pressure congress to do the right thing, a letter about saving the climate was read in houses of worship from coast to coast.

All kinds of organizations and institutions can do this, not just religious ones.     Trade groups, business and industry groups, they all should do it because they’re all in line to get hammered by climate change: artists’ unions, educational institutions, school districts, parents’ and students’ groups, athletic leagues and organizations, journalist groups, farm groups, unions, guilds, charities, advocacy groups, animal herds, wolf packs, parties of polar bears hunting in concert. The list is as long as the sea ice used to be.  There’s all kinds of organizations and institutions, and all of them could help, and they ought to!

If you belong to any of ‘em, you should start workin’ it!  Don’t take no for an answer!  Keep pushing, get allies, get the organization’s leaders and membership to realize how urgent this is! 

You can light the spark!

So that’s how declarations by organizations and institutions can work.  Next time we’ll talk about Method #4, Signed Public Statements.


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