(Written after initial writing: This is kinda all over the show, and mightn’t make much sense!)
There has been a lot in the news over the past week or two about St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Occupy London Stock Exchange movement. But is the Church right to try to move the protesters on? Or, should the be on the side of a peaceful protest, especially when that protest, while somewhat unorganised, is a protest that wants change, wants to make a better world for all people. Can the Church really be against this?
Well, it seems St. Paul’s Cathedral is. They have taken legal action (or, advise at the very least) to try to get the protesters moved.
When the protesters first arrived at St. Paul’s, after being moved from the LSE (I may be incorrect on them been moved from the LSE, but I don’t think I am, maybe someone can let me know). St. Paul’s has had a history of free speech, a history which is now in tatters. According to its own website (as quoted by The Guardian) says the churchyard
where generations of Londoners played their role in fomenting public opinion and the preaching of the Christian faith.
And this stretches back to the 12th century! So, it wasn’t maybe a great shock when the protesters arrived there, and the Canon Giles Fraser said
People have a right to protest and I’m very happy that people have that right to protest. People have generally been respectful and I have asked the police to leave, they are going to be doing so in a second. It seems to me that all is well and calm.
I’ve seen what is going on and it seems to be that there doesn’t need police force in the numbers that there have been, so I have asked them to move and they have done.
As quotes on the Liberal Conspiracy website.
But then, things seemed to go in a different direction, and there was talk of action by the Church to get the protesters moved. As that talk seemed to gather pace, the news came that Canon Giles Fraser has resigned. He resigned in protest at plans to forcibly remove the protesters from the churchyard saying that he could not support the prospect of
violence in the name of the church.
As quotes in The Guardian.
I think you have to take your hat off to this man! I imagine he was under a large amount of pressure to get the protesters moved. But I am sure he sees his churches role in society is to stand with peaceful protest, protest which wants essentially equality in today’s society. But it seems the people who run St. Paul’s are more interested in the loss of income that has resulted in its closure. More interested in, as some sources have hinted, but I am not so sure …more interested in Health & Safety. If it was health & Safety they were concerned about, they would have invited the protesters into the church, gave them shelter, food, warmth. Isn’t that what the church …any church is meant to do? But no, St. Paul’s seem to be, for whatever reason, on the side of the ‘powers-that-be’.
There is a number of issues here. One has been talked about — mainly how St. Paul’s has thrown away its history. The other is the independence of The Church. Now, I do not think that they have been influenced by the government or anything like that. But they can not consider themselves to be an independent organisation (as much as they every where), or on the side of the righteous and the just, when they are worried about the fall out of protesters on their door steps. And it is shameful when they try to say that their concerns are about the wellbeing of the protests (i.e. Health & Safety regulations).
But, not all Christian groups are as narrow minded as those running St. Paul’s. It was interesting to note today that other groups are talking about a ‘ring of prayer’ around the protesters. As stated here
Christian groups have drawn up plans to protect protesters by forming a ring of prayer around the camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral, should an attempt be made to forcibly remove them.
I think this is an amazing idea. And it gives me a bit of faith in the essential decency people.
People should have the right to protest. It is as simple as that. Be that a protest of one, or a protest of millions. If we are stripped of that right, I think we have lost everything. And I do believe that St. Paul’s pushing for the OccupyLSX movement to leave will only do real damage to the right to protest in this country. I mean, you don’t expect the government to be on your side (if they were, you probably wouldn’t need to protest). But then the people who profess to be on your side, or hold the ideals you hold, sell you out, where can you go from there?
We are slowly ,moving to a place where yes, you have the right to protest, but it is such a sterile, muted protest that it can have not affect whatsoever. Your protest has to be X miles from the thing you’re protesting, so as not to offend anyone, and because of damned H&S regulations.
The nanny state is in control.
We are a free people, or so they tell us. But sometimes it seems like we are as free as sheep.
Protest is bad. Standing up, and standing out is bad. You can’t have individual thought. No, just go back to watching crap TV. Everything is okay. Everything is fine, your government is in control. Relax. Have another beer. Drinks only £1.
But everything isn’t okay. Far from it. People are starving, kids are starving. Families are being kicked out of their homes because they are having problems paying their mortgage because one (maybe both) adults have lost their jobs, through not fault of their own. Yet, the bankers in the bank that is kicking the out …making them homeless …are getting pay increases. Now, I am not saying that those people don’t deserve their increase, maybe they have worked really hard. And it isn’t them who is kicking the family onto the street, but there needs to be a fairer system. We need to actually look after the people in our society who need looking after, not just talk about looking after them. We actually need to do it. If I was in a job where I was earning £150,000 a year, go ahead, take 50% in tax, that is fine. I am earning more, I should be expected to pay more. And the person on minimum wage shouldn’t have to pay taxes.Because you know what, if I cannot live on £75,000 a year, there is something wrong with me. I am the problem. Not the person on minimum wage.
What a nice world that would be. A world were everyone looked out for everyone. Even of you didn’t know them. Especially if you didn’t know them. A world were the main currency was love and respect.