Tell It, Brother! Reverend Billy Facing Prison for Preaching at Chase Bank

Reverend Billy invites you to start helping to save the world, NOW

Wikipedia says “the Church of Stop Shopping is an activist performance group based in New York City, led by Reverend Billy, the stage name of Bill Talen. Using the form of a revival meeting, on sidewalks and in chain stores, Reverend Billy and his gospel choir exhort consumers to abandon the products of large corporations and mass media; the group also preaches a broader message of economic justice, environmental protection, and anti-militarism, protesting sweatshops and the Iraq War. Though it continues its street theatre activities, the Church has also appeared on stage and has toured internationally.” says the good reverend may now be facing jail time. “A little over a month ago, the Reverend Billy was arrested on a New York subway platform. This was a little unusual, but not very. The Reverend, a performance artist and activist named Bill Talen, had just been singing, dancing, and preaching into a megaphone inside of a Chase branch in midtown Manhattan, about how the bank’s investment practices were contributing to climate change,” the article says.

The City of New York is charging Talen and choir director Nehemiah Luckett with riot in the second degree, menacing in the third degree, unlawful assembly, and two counts of disorderly conduct for the Chase protest. The pair faces up to a year in prison. Read more about this, with a Rev. Billy interview, at

Here’s the Rev’s invitation to you:


Here’s another Rev Bill video, about pushing back against economic greed:


More from Wikipedia:

After beginning as a solo performer, Reverend Billy soon acquired a loose organization that assisted in his in-store actions. These were originally centered around the Disney Store. In one early action, Talen and his associates pretended to be shopping at the store and talking on non-functional cell phones, carrying on increasingly loud conversations about the evils of Disney and its products; once the ruse was discovered, Reverend Billy began preaching to the actual consumers until the police removed him from the store.

Reverend Billy
Reverend Billy at Occupy Wall Street, where he has shown up several times to support the protesters. Photo by David Shankbone, Wikipedia.


The Starbucks coffeehouse chain became another frequent target of the Church’s actions, due to perceptions of its displacement of local small businesses, unfair labor practices including union busting,[1][2] and its role in creating what Talen calls a “fake Bohemia“.[3]

On Christmas Day 2005, Reverend Billy and his choir performed an action at Disneyland. He led the choir down Main Street, U.S.A. singing anti-Disney and anti-shopping songs. After ignoring requests from park security to cease, an on-site Anaheim Police officer attempted to intercede and was ignored. Reverend Billy was then arrested for trespassing and resisting an officer; his choir left peacefully after that. [4]

Reverend Billy and his choir traveled to Washington, D.C. in March 2007 to participate in an action against the war in Iraq, “Don’t Buy Bush’s War,” organized by Code Pink Women for Peace, where they roamed the halls of the U.S. Congress preaching and singing their anti-war message. No arrests were made.

The cross-country journey that Reverend Billy and his choir made in the month prior to Christmas 2005, culminating in his arrest at Disneyland, is depicted in a documentary, titled What Would Jesus Buy? produced by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Morgan Spurlock. The film was screened at the Silverdocs international film festival in June 2007.

What Would Jesus Buy? is also the title of Reverend Billy’s book, subtitled “Fabulous Prayers in the Face of the Shopocalypse,” released in March 2007. The anti-consumerism message in the film has hindered its widespread distribution: in an interview published by Reuters, film director Rob VanAlkemade claimed that “major distributors have backed away because Wal-Mart pushes half of their DVDs.”[5]

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