I have to confess I think most public protesting is a pretty lame operation. When I listen to NPR, they usually play a five second clip of people chanting some weak slogan (“One, two, two-point-five, three: out the door with AIG!”) that’s barely in rhythm. I joined many protests in the 80’s. I felt strongly about the issues, but the methodology used by my friends wasn’t very well thought out. A celebration of Mass at the fence of a nuclear weapons storage facility: what was the point? A candlelight procession through city streets: a bit better.
I think a good protest needs a liturgy committee, or at the very least a liturgist. Somebody who knows drama and ritual. Someone like the prophet Ezekiel.
I’m not advocating that Notre Dame pro-lifers show up for graduation like Hare Krishnas after burning and scattering their hair and chasing it down with swords, but you have to give the Jewish prophetic tradition credit: their symbolism was great and enough of a head-scratcher to make the dull among the leadership sit back and wonder.
The book of Ezekiel is filled with great images: a fiery chariot, hearts of stone, water flowing from the temple, eating the sweet scroll.
Those protesting President Obama’s appearance at Notre Dame graduation think six-figure signatories is good stuff. I think they’ve been smoking something liberal. Of course the Republican idea is to rent an office. Give me a candle and a lame slogan any day over that one. Rent an office? Isaiah got branded on the lips by angels singing “The Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” and this is the best Randall Terry can come up with? Sheesh.
Notre Dame’s Young Republicans are upset, I read. Good for them. They’re thinking of boycotting graduation following Bishop D’Arcy’s lead. Gee, that’s sure a loss for the Obamanoids in commencement attendance. Would Jeremiah boycott the city of Jerusalem because things weren’t going his way? Not! He spent the weekend sinking in the bottom of a cistern. What happened to those bishops who were ready to die to save the unborn? I sure hope the boycotters have something else to do besides watching Saturday afternoon sports or heading to one of South Bend’s finer restaurants with mom and dad.
The very least they could do is attend and engineer some silent protest, like wearing no shoe on their right foot in honor of the naked foot of the unborn child, but remembering the motto of the liturgist: explain nothing; let the symbols speak. The only Old Testament prophet that allowed himself to be run out of town was Elijah, but before that retreat was his one-on-450 smackdown of the priests of Baal. And on his return, we had the devouring of Queen Jezebel in Stephen King fashion in the streets of Jerusalem.
That’s not to say that we need trash talk and dog food in South Bend, but surely some imaginative ND student could come up with something. Imagine if they could have scored Bishop D’Arcy as a co-conspirator.