Reverend Billy continues climate change activism, despite facing a year in prison following latest Chase bank stint
By Jodie Gummow
November 26, 2013
The Reverend has graced sidewalks, banks, parks and businesses world-wide passionately preaching political satire since he moved to New York in the 1990s upon where his character Reverend Billy was born – a hybrid of a street evangelist preacher and Elvis Presley. Talen appeared as a sole performer preaching anti-consumerism in Times Square, before expanding his one-man performance act in 1999 to a 40-person choir and 5-person band.
Since then, Talen has written extensively on economic systems and environmental practices, has been featured in Morgan Spurlock’s film, “ What Would Jesus Buy?”, and built a performance empire on community action and catchy gospel hymns performed by The Church of Stop Shopping’s choir such as “We are the 99%”, “Revolution” and “End of the World”.
In recent years, the group has shifted its focus away from consumerism and towards large corporate banks which Reverend Billy argues are responsible for global warming, based on a five-year study by BankTrack.Org. The research found that big banks such as JP Morgan Chase, UBS, Deutsche Bank and HSBC create climate change by actively paying money to companies that pour carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Reverend Billy and The Stop Shopping Choir’s latest show, ‘ The Extinction Resurrection Campaign’, which premiered in New York in November, projects a pretty straightforward yet powerful message: the banks are destroying the earth and thus must be held accountable. The Reverend weighed in on his latest environmental crusade to AlterNet following his performance.