Jesus, Politics and the Praxis of Protest

Peter Severson (Twitter: @lutheranAdvoCO); Director of Lutheran Advocacy Ministry – Colorado

Being in the city of Durban for this 21st International AIDS Conference is being in the center of a roiling cauldron. This event brings together a huge and complex and disparate group of people whose focus is supporting individuals with HIV and working to prevent the spread of the disease. The presence of many high-level world leaders, from heads-of-state and diplomats to United Nations officials and world agency leaders, gives all attendees a higher level of access than usual to key decision makers. As a result, activist actions and protests have been a part of the proceedings from the beginning, as people agitate for change.

One of those moments happened on Tuesday afternoon, during an otherwise quiet afternoon hour of downtime for me. I was outside on the conference center plaza, having a snack with an acquaintance of mine from college, when suddenly a knot of people formed inside and began chanting. Curious, I walked inside to see what was happening. I discovered a mass of people surrounding a man in a suit who had just come out of a session. The protesters were holding signs that said “Thank you,” along with drawings of pills and medicine, while the man in the suit looked uncomfortable but was evidently trying to listen to some of the protesters ask him questions. Continue reading “Jesus, Politics and the Praxis of Protest”