Rev. Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping declared victory over greedy consumerism this Black Friday. For years this self-styled street preacher has been trying to get would-be shoppers to celebrate "Buy Nothing Day" the day after Thanksgiving instead of marching to the malls. This year, he says, the idea seems to be catching on.
Rev. Billy reported to a crowed gathered in Manhattan's Union Square that he turned up at Macy's flagship store on 34th Street early this morning and found far fewer eager shoppers than in years past. Every year he and the Stop Shopping Choir sing at Americans to "Start to Stop Shopping." That's an acknowledgment that we all shop too much and face a perpetual battle against greed and materialism. Rev. Billy dresses like a preacher and treats shopping as just one more sin that is tempting but to be avoided.
Rev. Billy is no fool and knows it's the recession and not his ragtag choir that is persuading us to stop shopping. But it is the end of an era--an era of being told shopping is patriotic, an era of false prosperity and an era of ignoring overwhelming personal and government debt. All to buy things we want, but don't really need.