Take Action: Protest

Protest in Philadelphia, January 26, 2017

When my six-year-old son asked me this morning why I was going to the protest today I said, “Because President Trump is coming to our city and he is trying to take away people’s health care so rich people can have more money.” Let us not lose sight of this basic obscenity.

As this barbarous administration takes initial steps to oppress the sick, the poor, and the immigrant, our bodies on the street can make a difference. Large protests now can affect media narratives of this presidency, activate people who haven’t been engaged before, and make politicians fearful.

It is important for us to protest. Don’t think it doesn’t matter. Especially if you’re a conflict-avoidant, apolitical person, your protest can have an impact on the people in your social network. It is important for people like us to protest and to be seen protesting. Not because we’re grandstanding, but because we want to provoke questions. People might stop and wonder what made a quiet person like you take to the streets.

It is especially important for us to protest if we have little personally to lose under a Trump presidency. I’m a white heterosexual Christian male. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be ok! But my conscience tells me my complacency is a grave sin. I must protest for the millions of people who have so much to lose.

And it is important for Christians to protest. We protest not as advocates of a particular political program—the kingdom of God cannot be contained in any such program—but as people who intrinsically seek solidarity with the oppressed. When I attend a protest, I’m always able to pray the Lord’s Prayer: “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Because that prayer reflects our hopes and not our realities, we protest.

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