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2012-12-21

"End of the World": Apocalypse or Shopocalypse? Reverend Billy on Consumerism and Climate Change

Guests

Reverend Billy, activist, secular preacher and performance artist with the Church of Stop Shopping. He has a new book called The End of the World. At 7 p.m. tonight, he will take part in a "The End of the World" ritual in New York City’s Times Square.

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Today is 12-21-12: Doomsday, the end of the world. That is, according to some interpretations of the Mayan calendar. Others say it’s the beginning of a new era. However, one doesn’t need to look at the Mayan calendar, the words of Nostradamus, the prophetic dreams of Daniel or the revelation made to John to see the world is in dire straits. The sky may not be falling in, but it sure felt like it to the victims of Superstorm Sandy. Along with climate change, gun violence, drones, warfare and other henchmen on the horizon, it’s easy to see why some may think the apocalypse is fast approaching. The word "apocalypse" originated from the Greek term "apocalypsis," which literally means "uncovering," in the sense of revealing something previously hidden. Someone known for pulling the covers off is activist and performance artist Reverend Billy, who is holding his "The End of the World" ritual in New York City’s Times Square tonight. Along with his Church of Stop Shopping, he has long preached fiery sermons against recreational consumerism and climate disaster. He is urging people to turn away from corporate commodities and fossil fuels. "I’m just inviting all of us to be creative, to give meaning to our lives right now," Reverend Billy says. [includes rush transcript]

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Today is Friday, 12-21-12: Doomsday, the end of the world. That’s according to some interpretations of the Mayan calendar. Others say it is the beginning of a new era. However, one doesn’t need to look at the Mayan calendar or the words of Nostradamus, the prophetic dreams of Daniel or the revelation made to John to see the world is in dire straits. The sky may not be falling in, but it sure felt like it to the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Along with the climate change, gun violence, drones, warfare and other henchmen on the horizon, it’s easy to see why some may think the apocalypse is fast approaching.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Juan, the word "apocalypse" originated from the Greek term "apocalypsis," which literally means "uncovering," in the sense of revealing something previously hidden. Someone known for pulling the covers off is Reverend Billy, who is holding his "End of the World" ritual in Times Square, New York City, today. Along with his Church of Stop Shopping, he has long preached fiery sermons against recreational consumerism and climate disaster, and is urging people to turn away from the corporate commodities and fossil fuels. He’s joining us now for a final prayer before the holidays.

Reverend Billy, welcome.

REVEREND BILLY: Well, thank you for having the Stop Shopping Church here in your church. And today’s—today’s Democracy Now! show, from Spencer Cox’s talk about how to live our lives when we know the end might be near, to the presence, the poisonous presence, of the distortion of religion in South Africa and in Palestine and Israel, there’s a—there’s a through line today. We need to choose the one apocalypse that, Juan, that you mentioned, the Mayan apocalypse, the regeneration—Evo Morales says that it’s a time to go from the human-being-based life into the earth life, into the community life, and, like, let go of the Book of Revelation and all the violence of Batman, Spider-Man, Superman and all the American versions of the Book of Revelations. Especially, I would say, American foreign policy and our military presence around the world is very much right out of that last book of the Bible.

AMY GOODMAN: And what you’re doing today, in the last 30 seconds we have?

REVEREND BILLY: I’m just inviting all of us to be creative, to give meaning to our lives right now. The tabloids and the comic books, they’re trying to relegate us to a certain series of actions. Let’s find our own creativity. The end will come for all of us. I don’t think it’s going to come today. If we’re really creative and give life and give radical regeneration to the next hours that we have, then the earth will rise up with us. Amen. Earthelujah!

AMY GOODMAN: Reverend Billy, activist, secular preacher and performance artist with the Church of Stop Shopping. His new book, The End of the World.

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