WATCH: What People Of Faith Need To Know About This Movement Moment

By Caitlin Breedlove

As an organizer who has been working in red states and lives, more recently, in borderlands here in Phoenix, Arizona, I’ve obviously been going nonstop for the past couple of weeks.

It’s really important to help deepen our assessment as people of faith about what’s happening. So I want to tell you a couple of things about the assessment that we’re seeing.

One: we’re in the midst of radical, structural, profound social change.

It’s just in a far-right direction. So this administration is actually creating a blueprint and a plan not only for every undocumented person, but every poor person, person of color, Muslim, LGBTQ person. That is a long trajectory somewhere along the line of ending up in a cage.

So the criminal prosecution of migrants, the internment camps, separating children from their families, are all steps in that work, and the histories of social movements show that we have to be radical right back, that this is not a time to come up with demands that we think are the quietest and most gentle and possibly palatable.

We actually are seeing a time where people are willing to mobilize for what they deeply desire and are moving in a variety of groups and formations to make that happen.

The other thing I want to tell you is that faith leaders are a really important voice right now for Humanity First, not Business As Usual.

This week in the news we’ve heard a lot about civility and what that looks like.   And in the midst of a white nationalist and path-to-fascist takeover in this country we really have to think about what is the difference between kindness, which is valued in almost all of our traditions,  I would hope, and niceness, which is a mechanism that allows particularly white folks to continue with business as usual.

This is not a business as usual time.

And so it is very important that we see people disrupting, on every single level, business as usual in this country, right. It’s not a time for armies of one. It’s a time for teams of the willing.

And so all over the country, I’m really heartened to see people who are actually taking literal action to shut down mechanisms for the country and disallowing this administration to function and spread its hate-mongering.

And I hope that that will build, because it’s very important that people do not feel that they can torture, surveil, detain, incarcerate, and deport millions of people, and then feel that their life can go on as business as usual.

As people of faith, it’s very important that we get into a deep place of understanding that the work of social change is deeply uncomfortable and that’s what our faith is for.  As my friend John Fife says:

“Being criminalized and being uncomfortable are very good for one’s faith.”

So our alignment with people who are being criminalized in this time is our alignment with those who are oppressed. Those things can’t be separated from each other.   And so I invite us to lean into what that really looks like and how uncomfortable that is for some of us and how we can lean into that edge to really make the kind of transformative change that we’re going to need in this country, which means a higher level of escalated action: not only protesting what’s happening but actually being able to disrupt its mechanisms in a variety  of ways.


Caitlin Breedlove is Vice President for Movement Leadership at Auburn Seminary.  For information on how you can get involved, please see our resource page here.  And for help with your media messaging watch a video by Master Media trainer here. 

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