Christian anti-capitalists take direct action after St Paul’s sides with City
A group of Christians have this afternoon entered St Paul’s Cathedral and hung a banner down the front of the building. They are calling on the Church as a whole to resist government cuts and follow Jesus’ example of siding with the poor.
Their action follows the refusal of cathedral authorities to meet with Christians who were dragged from the steps of St Paul’s in February as they knelt in prayer during the eviction of the Occupy camp. Tomorrow (15 October) marks the first anniversary of Occupy London Stock Exchange.
The group, Christianity Uncut, have nonviolently unfurled a banner declaring ‘Throw the Money Changers out of the Temple’. It depicts Jesus’ protest against usurers and religious hypocrites in the Jerusalem Temple.
The action by Christianity Uncut coincides with action by women members of Occupy, who have read out a statement in St Paul’s about the cathedral leadership’s decision to support the City of London against the Occupy movement. This action is jointly backed by Christianity Uncut and Occupy the London Stock Exchange.
Christianity Uncut member Symon Hill, who was also removed from the steps in February and is now in the cathedral, said:
“Two thousands years ago, Jesus Christ threw the usurers out of the Temple. He protested against people who exploited the poor, and religious leaders who let them get away with it. Many Christians are speaking out against the government’s slash-and-burn policies on public services and the welfare state. Sadly, some other church leaders have shown more solidarity with banks and corporations than they have with the poorest people in society.”
Christianity Uncut member Siobhan Grimes, who was removed from the steps in February and is now in the cathedral, said:
“We have not taken the decision to engage in this action lightly. In February, we were dragged by police from the steps of St Paul’s as we prayed. We sought respectful dialogue with the cathedral authorities, but they refused to meet with us. We have therefore sought other ways to make our views known. This is not about attacking the Church. It is a demonstration by Christians, calling on other Christians to take a stand against cuts and inequality.”
- Christianity Uncut is an informal network of Christians campaigning against the government’s cuts agenda and the injustices of capitalism. We are inspired by the example of Jesus, who took nonviolent direct action in the Jerusalem Temple, in solidarity with people who are poor, exploited and marginalised.
- Christianity Uncut is committed to active nonviolence in all its work, rejecting both violence and passivity. Christianity Uncut is committed to campaigning alongside people of other religions and of none and to love and respect for its opponents.
- Members of Christianity Uncut unfurled the banner shortly after 4.00pm this afternoon, a day ahead of the first anniversary of the beginning of Occupy London Stock Exchange. A group of women supporters of Occupy are also taking nonviolent action in the cathedral itself. This action is jointly backed by Christianity Uncut and Occupy the London Stock Exchange.
- On 28 February 2012, five members of Christianity Uncut were dragged by police from the cathedral steps as Occupy London Stock Exchange was evicted. Please see https://christianityuncut.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/christians-dragged-from-their-knees-on-cathedral-steps/
- On 15 March 2012, the Canon Pastor of St Paul’s Cathedral, Michael Colclough, refused a request by Christians who had been removed from the steps to meet with him or other senior cathedral clergy. They had asked to meet in “a spirit of love and respect”. Their letter requesting a meeting had been countersigned by twenty clergy. Please see https://christianityuncut.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/st-pauls-cathedral-refuses-meeting-with-christians-evicted-from-steps/
- On 19 April 2012, the City of London Police Commissioner, Adrian Leppard, stated in writing, “I can confirm permission was given by St Paul’s to clear the steps on 28th February 2012”. Please see https://christianityuncut.wordpress.com/2012/05/25/police-letter-reveals-st-pauls-misled-public-over-occupy-eviction/.
- Photographs of the banner display are available to media on request.