Religious Worship as Political Action
Chapter 5. Religious Worship as Political Space
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RELIGIOUS WORSHIP AS POLITICAL SPACE
In early December, the streets of Capitol Hill are briefly transformed into a 1st Century Middle Eastern scene as robed people march through the streets with sheep, donkeys, and camels. A “live nativity,” this annual event started in 2010 to enact the original Christmas message in the heart of the nation’s power structures. Christian churches of various denominations across the world perform living nativity scenes with humans and animals staging the biblical accounts of the Christmas story. A unique type of religious worship service started by Francis of Assisi in the 13th Century, live nativities actually predate the use of the now more common crèche (models of nativities found in many homes, churches, and even public sites, although the latter often sparks church-state lawsuits). Sometimes the live nativities are staged in one place (such as at a church) with people coming to see the presentation, and in other traditions the robed actors and animals walk through a community. The Washington, D.C., live nativity starts at the Supreme Court building and works across the street to the Capitol building. Although the sponsoring group, Faith and Action in the Nation’s Capital, is a conservative Christian group often involved in political activism (especially on abortion and court-related issues), they stage the live nativity as a typical, nonpartisan version of the Christmas tradition. ← 155 | 156 →
Faith and Action’s founder and president, Reverend Rob Schenck, shows particular concern for...
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