Tim Newman, Campaigns Assistant, International Labor Rights Forum
The new documentary What Would Jesus Buy? follows a street theater activist group as they go on a cross-country mission to save Christmas from the Shopocalypse: the end of mankind from consumerism, over-consumption and the fires of eternal debt! Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir use retail interventions, corporate exorcisms, and some good old-fashioned preaching to spread the word about the impacts of consumerism on the environment and labor rights from Wal-Mart to the Mall of America to Disneyland and beyond!
For folks in the DC area, you can see the film this weekend at the Dupont Circle cinema. Rev. Billy himself will be in attendance for a question and answer session after the screening on Saturday night at 7:15PM! For readers outside of the DC area, you an check out a list of other screenings here. Keep reading for more information.
What Would Jesus Buy? is produced by Morgan Spurlock (director of the film Supersize Me) and director Rob VanAlkemade. The film focuses on Reverend Billy whose real name is Bill Talen. As the film website explains,
Bill was a lost idealist who hitchhiked to New York City only to find that Times Square was becoming a mall. Spurred on by the loss of his neighborhood and inspired by the sidewalk preachers around him, Bill bought a collar to match his white caterer's jacket, bleached his hair and became the Reverend Billy of the Church of Stop Shopping. Since 1999, Reverend Billy has gone from being a lone preacher with a portable pulpit preaching on subways, to the leader of a congregation and a movement whose numbers are well into the thousands.
Rev. Billy's performances call attention to the effect our consumer choices have on workers. We recommend checking out this film to learn more about labor rights and the products we buy as well as some great creative ideas on how to take action!
While you are thinking about the holidays and consumption, check out the Shop With A Conscience consumer guide!