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Right now, a three-day conference is under way at Trinity Church in New York City. It’s the 44th National Theological Conference, hosted by the Trinity Institute. This year’s version is entitled “Creating Common Good,” and the theme is inequality. Institute Director Robert Owens Scott sets the stage for discussions in his opening remarks in the literature packet:

It’s no accident that Occupy [Wall Street] sprang from an idea in Ad Busters, a journal and website dedicated to using modern media for anticonsumerist purposes. Based on my friend’s definition of the goal of advertising, Occupy achieved precisely what it set out to do: it brought the facts of economic inequality out of the obscurity of government reports and tedious articles and into the broadest possible levels of public discourse in terms we can all understand.

The main plenary speakers from America, Cornel West, Barbara Ehrenrich, and Robert Reich reinforce the ideological direction of the conference, and conservatives might ask why the organizers couldn’t find a figure on the Right to balance out the opinions and promote real debate.

But I attended this morning’s session and it was well worth the time. Our own Rusty Reno served on the panel, and he will be on the afternoon’s session as well.

You can watch last night’s address by Professor West, along with this afternoon’s session and further events here

Mark Bauerlein is senior editor of First Things.

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