"Where does the rebellion itself begin? Here are four steps for clergy to begin a kind of spiritual mutiny, to return The Way to the ways of defiance. First, we take all of the American flags out of our sanctuaries, where they most certainly do not belong. Put them in the fellowship hall to represent our proud tradition of democracy, but don't display them in that sacred space set aside to be 'a house of prayer for all people.'
"Second, let's admit to loving, but being captured by, our tax-exempt status. We cannot take government subsidies and then presume to be independent contractors for the gospel. So-called faith-based initiatives are a bad idea. Churches should not be tax exempt, and preachers should not get special tax breaks. This will be opposed by every American denomination in the country on behalf of starving clergy. But deep down, we know that we are selling our souls. Besides, let's be honest and admit that most of our churches are empty all week, which begs the question: What are we returning in service to our communities on behalf of the common good that justifies our tax exemption in the first place?
"Third, we could keep the Sabbath again. Not out of some puritanical misconception about so-called blue laws, but so that we might protest with our rest the idea that 'no rest but death' is how the empire defines working hard enough. We can't even stay home for an entire day on Thanksgiving now, but must return to the stores at sundown for Black Friday Eve. It was Brueggemann who said, 'Sabbath, in the first instance, is not about worship. It is about work stoppage. It is about withdrawal from the anxiety system of Pharaoh, the refusal to let one's life be defined by production and consumption and the endless pursuit of private well-being.' Just imagine the power of millions of Christians who refuse to shop when we are supposed to be resting and grateful.
"Fourth, we should cherish and strictly observe the separation of church and state. It was the measured genius of our founding fathers to give us both freedom of religion and freedom from religion. We often take it for granted when it is useful to us, and ignore it with impunity when it isn't. Whenever possible, individual religious choices and expressions should be honored, even celebrated. But not at the expense of the common good or the religious freedom of those who work for corporations. The religious beliefs of the owners of for-profit enterprises do not trump the religious beliefs of their workers, despite recent Supreme Court rulings. The clergy should resist being 'used' by local and state governments who ask for prayers to open meetings, and preachers should never endorse candidates from the pulpit or distribute campaign literature or 'voter guides.'"