Christian activists will seek to prevent eviction at St Paul's

By staff writers
29 Oct 2011

Christian activists have promised a non-violent 'ring of prayer' to defend protesters camped outside St Paul's Cathedral if eviction threats are realised.

A majority in the Chapter at St Paul's remain intent on seeking an injunction to break up the protest, and the Bishop of London has issued an ultimatum to Occupy the London Stock Exchange (OLSX) to leave the site in exchange for a discussion on terms determined by himself and City of London figures.

In response, Christian campaigners say that it is their duty to stand up for peaceful protest, economic justice, and a Gospel vocation to offer sanctuary, not eviction.

"Jesus threw the money changers out of the Temple, but St Paul's wants to throw out those who are criticising the money changers," one protester told Ekklesia. "This is a shameful betrayal of the Christian message."

Christian groups publicly siding with the Occupy London protesters include one of the oldest Christian charities, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and the oldest national student organisation, the Student Christian Movement, together with the religion and society thinktank Ekklesia, Christianity Uncut, the Zacchaeus 2000 Trust, the Christian magazine Third Way, London Catholic Worker, the Society of Sacramental Socialists and Quaker groups.

A recent statement of solidarity declared: "As Christians, we stand alongside people of all religions who are resisting economic injustice with active nonviolence. The global economic system perpetuates the wealth of the few at the expense of the many. It is based on idolatrous subservience to markets. We cannot worship both God and money."

Jonathan Bartley, co-director of Ekklesia said: "There are some very unhappy people within the Church of England. The protesters seem to articulate many of the issues that the church has paid lip-service to. Many people are disillusioned with the position St Paul's has adopted. To evict rather than offer sanctuary is contrary to what many people think the church is all about. The whole thing has been a car crash."

Meanwhile, the Observer newspaper reports that Shami Chakrabarti, director of the civil rights group Liberty, is seeking to mediate in the dispute.

She says that protesters are eager to seek a resolution. St Paul's has so far only acknowledged her offer. The City of London Corporation, which appears determined to press a prosecution and eviction, has apparently not responded.

* Christian solidarity with the ‘Occupy London’ movement: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/15609

[Ekk/3]

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