A RETIRED ANGLICAN PRIEST IS BEING HELD ON REMAND at HMP Birmingham after he took part in a protest outside the Kingsbury Oil Depot.
The Rev. Bill White took part in the Just Stop Oil protest despite a High Court Injunction banning protestors from the site. He is expected to appear in court later this week.
The protest was part of the Just Stop Oil campaign, which is calling on Government to stop granting new licenses for gas and oil exploration. At least 12 Christians, including at least six members of the clergy, have been involved in the Just Stop Oil campaign to date. The Rev Tim Hewes also attended the protest at the Kingsbury site, but was released by police on bail.
Bill White amplified his protest at Kingsbury by refusing to leave his court cell for a hearing at Birmingham Crown Court last Thursday 12 May. Peaceful non-compliance with hearings is an increasing tactic amongst Just Stop Oil campaigners, 18 of whom have now been jailed or remanded.
White, a former Church of England parish priest in both Cheshire and Cumbria, and a grandfather to four said: “Our world is addicted to oil, and like any addict, we enrich the dealers, harm those around us, and ultimately destroy ourselves. If unresolved this addiction to oil today means our children and grandchildren will not be able to enjoy life as we know it.
“At the very least it is as a matter of justice for these children that I support the Just Stop Oil coalition, drawing attention to this deadly addiction, admitting my part in it, and hoping and praying our government will come to its senses and seek help. Bringing an addict to the point of realisation often requires tough love. I see this non-violent civil resistance as the outworking of such costly love God is calling us to.
“The £10 – 30 million a day by which our government subsidises our addiction would be better spent on the transition from fossil fuels to renewables. If this is what it takes to wake our sleep-walking nation I, with many others, am willing to even go to prison. I hope it is not necessary, but if that is what it takes so be it.”
In 2021, the Co-Chair of Working Group II of the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report warned that: “If governments are serious about the climate crisis, there can be no new investments in oil, gas and coal, from now – from this year.” Despite this, a report by Friends of the Earth published in October 2021 estimated that around 40 applications for new projects would be brought to the UK Government by fossil fuel companies in the next few years.
Christian Climate Action is a community of Christians supporting each other to take meaningful action in the face of imminent and catastrophic anthropogenic climate breakdown. They say, “We are inspired by Jesus Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit. Following the example of social justice movements of the past, we carry out acts of public witness, non-violent direct action and civil disobedience to urge those in power to make the changes needed. Since November 2018 we have worked closely with Extinction Rebellion and have become known as the Christians in XR.”
* More about Just Stop Oil here.
* Source: Christian Climate Action