The First Protest

“The true shame of our time is that so many have comfortably adjusted to the in-justices of our time.”

As 1969 drew to a close, Rabbi Olan reflected on the many protests and demonstrations that were taking place in the United States. Instead of criticizing the upheavel as many political and religious leaders of that day did, Olan chose to reflect on the biblical and American traditions of public protest against injustices. In the life of Abraham and in the Boston Tea Party, he saw powerful precedents that legitimated questioning authority and opposing injustice.

To Rabbi Olan, every person of faith is called to pursue justice in partnership with God. Also, it is the duty of every patriotic American to expose social injustices. Unjust laws are unholy laws that should be opposed, not obeyed. The more we overlook injustice, the more comfortable we become with it – to the detriment of all.

After reading or listening to “The First Protest” through the links below, I invite you to consider: Do you view dissent and protest as healthy? What would move you to speak out and act out for either religious or patriotic reasons? What does the current trend of passing anti-protest laws say about the state of our democracy in the 2020s?

Follow this link to read the sermon text.
Follow this link to listen to the audio recording.
Follow this link to watch the scrolling-text video.

*Written by Tim Binkley*