Christians campaigning against fracking have spoken out following their arrest at protests in Sussex. At least two Christians were among the nineteen people arrested, amidst allegations of police violence, on Monday 19 August.
They were taking nonviolent direct action against drilling for oil and gas in the village of Balcombe.
A group of Christians had been staying at the Reclaim the Power climate camp since Friday 16 August, and on Monday supported acts of civil disobedience to highlight the immorality of the UK's energy policy and the climate crisis.
They say they did so in the light of clear signals from scientists that in order to have any chance of avoiding devastating climate change, we must not only stop exploring for new fossil fuels, but also leave the majority of current stocks in the ground.
“As Christians we are called to steward the creation and use the earth's resources wisely,” said Caroline Harmon, one of those who joined the protests. “We don't believe that it is possible to do this if we are continuing to exploit fossil fuels.”
Her words are a reminder that many Christians do not share the views of Philip Fletcher, the chair of Mission and Public Affairs at the Church of England. Fletcher last week drew criticism for suggesting that fracking could help to tackle fuel poverty.
Westley Ingram, one of those arrested this week, rebutted this claim. He said that Cuadrilla, the company responsible for the drilling in Balcombe, have said that fracking will not reduce energy bills.
“A church that does not take a stand on climate change in the interests of the poor, at home and abroad, does not represent Jesus Christ well, if at all,” insisted Ingram. “A clean energy future is the only way to properly address fuel poverty.”