Methodist Minister Calls Emergency Meeting to Address Constitutional Crisis




“First they came for the terrorists but I wasn’t a terrorist so I stayed silent and went about my business. Then they came for those suspected of terrorism, but I certainly wasn’t a suspect so I stayed silent and went  about my business. Then they came for those who defended those who were suspected of terrorism, but I wasn’t defending such people so I stayed silent and went about my business. Then, one day, they came and  began to “suspect” me, so I stayed very, very silent and went about my business.

And that is how I lost my soul.”

You can feel it in the air: many of us are living in the fear that we are one “bad event” away from this administration seizing power over the people in such a way that we will find ourselves swept up in a nightmare of tyranny such as we’ve never seen before.

Others before us have also lived in such times. Others before us have also witnessed the tyranny of empire, the fear it unleashes, and the trance it imposes on its population. There is a story in the Gospel of Mark (this Sunday I’ll be preaching about it) that has Jesus encountering a man in a graveyard, chained to the tombs and possessed by a powerful demon that has caused the man to become violent, insane, and out of control. The name of the demon is Legion, a military term that symbolizes the occupying army of Rome. In the story Jesus breaks through the silence, the denial, the trance and compels the demon to acknowledge  its name. Once named, Jesus “exorcizes the demon”, that is, he performs a direct public action that breaks through the denial and the trance while restoring the man to sanity and community.

Editor’s Note: Last week Rev. Rich Lang, of Trinity United Methodist Church in Seattle, called for an emergency meeting to address our constitutional crisis. “Is this America? Is this the country in which we have been raised? And how long, friend, until you yourself awaken only to discover that there is now a knock on your door? I call upon all who care to assemble at Trinity United Methodist Church… There we will strategize how to reclaim the power of the people, the birthright we share from our heritage of democracy. Knock. Knock.” 300 people responded to Rev. Lang’s call, and a powerful summary statement follows. The group decided they will continue to meet every Monday night from now until September 10 to continue to work on solutions.
This model should be picked up by groups everywhere, and other spiritual leaders must come forward to lead their own congregations and city-people out of this grave constitutional emergency.

We are gathered tonight because our nation has fallen into a trance: we’ve become possessed by a spirit that is causing us great harm. It is a spirit that causes great violence. It is a spirit that destroys community. It turns us against each other. It causes us to distrust each other. And it certainly causes us to question our sanity, our understanding of events and of basic human qualities like honesty, forthrightness, integrity, co-operation. This trance has caused us to lose our voice, we have become silent in the face of great evils. We have learned how to live in denial of the obvious. Indeed, we now know the answer to that old question, “how could good German citizens allow the Nazi Party to rise to power?” We need somehow to awaken from this trance, and find our voice. We need to break through the denial and compel the demon that possess’ us to state forth its name, and having done that, then through direct public actions we can restore our citizenry to sanity and community. We need to awaken and reclaim our roots as a democracy.

That’s the assumption of this call to meeting. We face a multitude, a whole legion of evils that are silencing us, chaining us to fears and denial, possessing us with a spirit contrary to our nature. You have probably come here because you have seen this possession and have become restless and frustrated in “casting it out” of the body politic. Some of you are here because you think electing Democrats in 2008 will bring a new  birth of hope. Some of you are here because you think our governing system has fallen into disrepair and needs a few tweaks and adjustments. Some of you want to fix our broken elections, or stop the impending war in Iran, Syria and Lebanon. Some of you want to get to the bottom of the 9/11 contradictions, and some of you are worried sick about the house of cards that is our economy. Many of you are greatly concerned about the growing power of the executive and the military. Many of you worry about the corruption of our political process through Corporate money. The urgency of multiple crisis (legion) is certainly before our nation this evening. But tonight the focus is really on one part of the crisis: breaking the trance, breaking through the denial and finding our voice.

This year, for the first time since 2001, 9/11 falls on a Tuesday. Tonight I want to call us to participate in a creative direct action goaled towards naming the demon and therefore awakening our people from their  trance. Tonight I want to invite us into a city wide series of direct actions that will put thousands of people into the streets to perform, what might be called a Day of Democracy, but what I would call, a public  exorcism of the tyranny of fear. Like Jesus, I want to invite us to “unchain” the possessed and let them go free. Unchain the possessed and help them find their voice.

Let me get specific. Many of us are weary of the staged acts of street theater that have become commonplace in Seattle. You already know the script: we gather at Westlake in coalitions that represent many different  agendas, we then march down to the Fed all under the guidance and control of our police force. We gather full of sound and fury, full of agitation, we hear a few speeches and then …. go home with little or no impact.

I want to call us into something a bit different. The empire has promoted our trance largely through the mechanism of stealing our voice, distorting our voice, controlling our voice, and then silencing our voice  through shutting us out of the Corporate run media. So I say we should take our public assembly straight to them. It is in the graveyard of our media outlets, where once there was life, but now only death and  distortion. I call upon us to gather in groups of tens, of hundreds, of thousands, and on Tuesday September 11th , the 6th anniversary, I call upon us to engage in several direct actions at each of the major Corporate  media outlets: Seattle PI, King 5, KOMO, FOX etc etc etc …these direct actions will be public exorcisms acknowledging the name of the demon: the growing tyranny that has been inflicted upon our land.

Imagine surrounding the PI or King or KOMO with pots and pans, circling the building seven times and each time mounting a thunderous roar of IMPEACH THEM ALL. Or imagine, performing creative and bold actions of civil disobedience that compel the media to acknowledge and hear our voice, loud, strong and clear. Imagine thousands of people with tape on their mouth, muzzled and doing a die-in at FOX to demonstrate the logical consequence of a nuclear attack on Iran. Imagine the nude bicyclists of the Fremont Fair streaking throughout the city as a living reminder that this administration is stripping us of our civil rights. Imagine every kid from every high school walking out of class and surrounding Military Recruiter sites with the all day chant, “NO MORE LIES!”. All on the same day, all in groups of tens, of hundreds, of thousands; and all without getting permits or permission from the authorities that would dare to bind us in chains in the graveyard of silence. Imagine rocking this entire city with direct actions to cast out the spirit of fear, the smog of deception, and the chains of silence. Imagine a Seattle Tea party with a citizenry that dares to act as if they are, in fact, a free people! Imagine a day of democracy. And then, that night, imagine a party that brings us together to celebrate our voice.

I issue forth this call because we can’t simply stay asleep watching a treasonous band of lawbreakers bully our nation into tyranny. We must stand up to them. We must create a free space for our citizenry to take heart and as an example for other cities to do the same. This public act is a liturgy to inspire and motive those who are already hard at work in the trenches for electoral integrity, for impeachment, for stopping the war, for the reprioritizing of the political agendas of our representatives. This public act of liturgy is a tool to help our fellow citizens reconnect with their efforts. Democracy only works when the citizenry cares enough to move beyond concern to commitment.

What we don’t have is the money to compete against the filthy rich who own our representatives, and who have distorted and silenced our voice. But what we do have is moral power. What we do have is a sacred narrative, a declaration of independence from the tyranny of empire. What we do have is a sacred code of conduct called the Constitution that tells in no uncertain terms that “we the people” are the rulers and those we elect are in service to us. We have forgotten this and need to reclaim the birthright of our heritage: our democracy. We need to compel those who dare to steal this birthright to respect our basic human rights. This is what it means to be a free people.

Imagine that on 9/11 of this year that everyone would suddenly “get sick” and leave work to assemble with groups of tens, of hundreds, of thousands, and perform acts of democracy. Imagine the entire police force of this city calling in with the “Blue Flu” so that they could join us in participating in a day of democracy. Imagine everyone walking around this city with a sign that says “I am not paralyzed by fear”. Imagine reclaiming our courage, our moral vision, and our national idealism that strives for liberty and justice for all! Imagine shutting down this city for one day to make our voice heard, ending the shame of our silence, and the guilt of our cowardice in the face of fear. Imagine reestablishing our national self-respect.

On Tuesday September 11th I call upon “we the people” to gather in a series of direct actions to perform public actions exorcizing the fear of tyranny from out of the citizenry. I call upon us to make a noise and find our voice.

Certainly, it would be a good thing if every spiritual leader of every faith community would be front and center helping to lead our actions: but don’t hold your breath. Certainly, it would be a good thing if our State and Federal representatives were there in solidarity with our actions, participating with us: but don’t assume that they either care or even agree with the crisis before us. For this to happen we alone must make it happen. We alone are, as the proverb says: “the ones we are waiting for”.


We want to invite you tonight to engage in the fundamental building block of democracy: conversation. We would like to assemble you into small groups so that you might gather together creative, nonviolent ways to act as free people. Nonviolent for the practical reason of:

a.) A violent response will only give an opportunity to enact the very evils we oppose. If we want a society of freedom and mutual respect then our methods will become our ends.

b.) We practice nonviolence because we know that there are many forces at work that desire the unleashing of State violence upon the people. We know also that, even tonight, there are provocateurs in our midst. We know also that in our gathering each of us comes here carrying a certain level of spiritual maturity: most of us are angry. There is nothing wrong with anger. In our context “it’s about time that we become angry”. But unfocused anger, undisciplined anger only plays into the hands of others who will use it for their own purposes. I would call us to focus our “cold, hot anger” in disciplined, determined, creative and unpredictable ways.

And so, oh free people whose heritage is democracy born from struggle against the tyranny of King George: what do you think? How might you gather tens and hundreds and thousands to perform the public exorcism of fear from our citizenry? How might you gather and find your voice?

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© 2007


Rev. Rich Lang is Pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle

His ministry is characterized with a passion to promote social and economic justice. He affirms that God has blessed us with grace, strength and power to create a world of cooperation, equality, and compassion. As a Pastor his desire is to help the Church articulate and develop a Wisdom Culture that welcomes everyone to the table, and calls forth everyone’s gifts for a common good and a common wealth. Rich has also been a voice of resistance to the emergence of both Christian and militaristic fascism in America. He continually lifts up warnings that the path we are on is leading to deep sorrows. From a Biblical basis he teaches that empire building is a way of death and destruction. As a Christian he affirms the values and vision of Jesus as it is understood through nonviolent persistence, economic redistribution of wealth, inclusion of the outcast, welcoming of perceived sinners and compassion and reconciliation with one’s enemy. He affirms both the inward journey of self examination and the outward journey of prophetic critique. The spiritual path is goaled toward union with God in which we experience the merging our heart with God’s heart: we experience both the sufferings of the world, and the hopes and affirmations of life as God experiences them. This journey into God is a hard, difficult path to walk. Thus our need for companions; hence our need for the church, the fellowship of the Body of Christ. Rich is married to Cathy and has two sons, Mike (18) and Andy (14) and invites you to visit Trinity United Methodist Church.

Find out more about Rich’s Ministry:

Many important and interesting interviews are also posted at Rev. Lang’s site: Philosophy of Living Faith Radio

  • A positive, progressive Christian alternative
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Living Faith is a positive, progressive, Christian alternative that lifts up themes of nonviolence, compassion, co-operation, and community. Living Faith will educate the public in the liberal family values of Jesus, his commitment of economic justice for the poor, care of creation, compassion for the excluded, and resistance to empire. Living Faith will articulate a positive expression of a Wisdom Culture that promotes lifestyles of balance and reconciliation. Living Faith will invite others into a conversation about the values and vision of Jesus.

Background info, at : EMERGENCY MEETING CALLED

“First they came for the terrorists but I wasn’t a terrorist so I stayed silent and went about my business. Then they came for those suspected of terrorism, but I certainly wasn’t a suspect so I stayed silent and went about my business. Then they came for those who defended those who were suspected of terrorism, but I wasn’t defending such people so I stayed silent and went about my business. Then, one day, they came and began to “suspect” me, so I stayed very, very silent and went about my business.

And that is how I lost my soul.”

We are in a grave constitutional crisis with a President who seemingly wants to be king, and a Congress unable and unwilling to oppose him. This administration is building, plank by plank, the framework for military dictatorship. Already in place is a global governing philosophy that uses the military as muscle for invading other nations for the purpose of social engineering and massive Corporate profits. The Defense Authorization Act of 2006 empowers the President to impose martial law in the event of a terrorist incident. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2007 permits the President to command National Guard troops without the consent of state governors. The National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive gives the President dictatorial powers in the event of a “catastrophic incident”. The Military Commissions Act suspends the right of habeas corpus. This short list doesn’t include wide spread wire tapping of citizens, construction of concentration camps, Black-shirt private armies, an ever expanding military budget, increased government secrecy, non co-operation with Congress, and the inevitable bankrupting of domestic budgets. And now, the latest grab for power has the Executive announcing that “our property” can be seized for dissent against the invasion and occupation of Iraq. We are in a very grave constitutional crisis folks. I encourage every one of you to make a noise in the offices of Murray, Cantwell, and your congressional representative. Silence is the death of democracy. But I think we also need to organize a creative form of resistance, protest, and/or strategy for impeachment. Our politicians are fiddling while democracy burns. Feeding from common Corporate money sources they are no longer worthy of our trust. Indeed, they have betrayed us. For example, almost daily some media figure or political operative drops a hint that our country might be hit again by the terrorists. Ask yourself, in the event of another catastrophic occurrence can you trust this government to stay true to the idealism of democracy, and the laws of limited checks and balances of power, encoded in the Constitution? Can you trust Congress to represent the people? I certainly cannot. We are, I repeat, in a grave, surreal even, constitutional crisis. We are dealing with a spirituality of tyranny; an unleashing of ruthless, arrogant power that corrupts all it touches. It’s time to get angry and cast out this unclean spirit from our land. Such a statement can now get me arrested, disappeared, and stripped of all assets. Is this America? Is this the country in which we have been raised? And how long, friend, until you yourself awaken only to discover that there is now a knock on your door? I call upon all who care to assemble at Trinity United Methodist Church, (6512 23rd Ave NW 98117) Wednesday evening August 1st at 7pm. There we will strategize how to reclaim the power of the people, the birthright we share from our heritage of democracy. Knock. Knock.

Rev. Rich Lang
Trinity United Methodist

(follow up strategy meeting on August 6th at 7pm) “Once this (latest Bush Executive Order) becomes law, he has all the tools Hitler and Stalin had to keep their respective populations in utter subjection to their will.” Complete article; Executive Order: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq Bush Anoints Himself as the Insurer of Constitutional Government in Emergency | The Progressive; Bush To Be Dictator In A Catastrophic Emergency by Lee Rogers, Global Research, May 21, 2007; July 20, 2007 We ARE In A Constitutional Crisis;

July 20, 2007 JEFF KOSSEFF The Oregonian Staff
WASHINGTON — Oregonians called Peter DeFazio’s office, worried there was a conspiracy buried in the classified portion of a White House plan for operating the government after a terrorist attack. As a member of the U.S. House on the Homeland Security Committee, DeFazio, D-Ore., is permitted to enter a secure “bubbleroom” in the Capitol and examine classified material. So he asked the White House to see the secret documents. On Wednesday, DeFazio got his answer: DENIED. “I just can’t believe they’re going to deny a member of Congress the right of reviewing how they plan to conduct the government of the United States after a significant terrorist attack,” DeFazio says. (cont.)

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