Briefly noted, in the December 10 issue of America:

From its beginning, Occupy Wall Street has sought to embody a truly democratic community while also responding to people’s basic needs. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Occupy has been able to coordinate an effective relief effort—hot meals, water, medicine and blankets—because of an internal culture that quickly turns volunteers into organizers and expands its reach. The movement has also worked closely with local churches. “Nearly every major distribution site is a church,” said Nathan Schneider, of Occupy Catholics. “This movement is recognizing the vital role religion can and must play in transformation in this society, both in terms of politics and the imagination.”

In addition to the relief effort, this religious imagination has also helped Occupy develop creative responses to the larger economic problems that plague the country. The Rolling Jubilee campaign, launched on Nov. 15, raises money to buy defaulted debt at pennies on the dollar and then abolishes the debt—drawing from the Jubilee tradition in the Hebrew Scriptures. Tim Worstall, a contributor to Forbes, called it an idea “we can all get behind.”

Lending money, like building a budget, is a matter of moral concern. This is why Occupy Catholics and other faith-based groups seek to increase the usage of the terms jubilee and usury in conversations about economics. “The cruelest features of our economic system” need to “be seen for the sins that they really are,” explained Occupy Catholics. As Occupy Wall Street enters its second year, it is evident that the movement has staying power and is growing in relevance and effectiveness in addressing the nation’s economic woes.

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