Catholic Sisters and Cornfield Activism
The Fight for Green Religious Rights
Keywords:Catholic Sisters, environmental justice, grassroots activism, non-violent direct action, pipeline resistance, Standing Rock, Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), rituals, #NoDAPL, nuns
Since 2016, the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, an international order of Catholic women, have partnered with a grassroots movement called Lancaster Against Pipelines (LAP) to resist construction of a $3B fracked-gas pipeline in rural Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Together, the groups built an outdoor chapel blockade that became a locus of earth-honoring ceremonies and a pilgrimage site for eco-activists in the region. It also served as the focal point for a series of peaceful direct actions against pipe-line construction that resulted in twenty-nine arrests. The Adorers–LAP partnership is an important case study in a growing movement of faith-fueled environmental activism across the United States today. Specifically, it offers valuable lessons on the possibilities for creative grassroots cooperation across religious divides, the use of religious ritual as a tool of resistance, the experience of women who often lead these movements, and current trends in judicial responses to faith-inspired eco-activism.
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