Christians for Economic Justice have this evening issued the following news release:
Tory conference church service challenged by anti-cuts Christians
Conservative Party delegates were this evening greeted by Christians campaigning against austerity as they attended their official conference church service at Birmingham City Church.
Members of Christians for Economic Justice (CEJ) held an act of witness outside the church, singing hymns and seeking to engage the delegates in respectful conversation. They handed out leaflets contrasting Conservative policies that benefit the rich with Jesus’ example of solidarity with the poor and marginalised.
They also offered delegates pieces of bread as a symbol of sharing the world’s resources.
Several Conservatives engaged in conversation and many took leaflets, though a few responded rudely before entering the church service.
CEJ activists readily acknowledged their own failure to live up to Jesus’ teachings, but insisted that solidarity with the poor is a starting-point for Christian discipleship. They argued that the Conservative Party has for centuries served the interests of the super-rich.
CEJ (previously known as Christianity Uncut) involves Christians from a range of church backgrounds, including supporters of several political parties and none.
Nicola Sleapwood, a disabled Christian living in Birmingham, one of the organisers of the act of witness, said:
“However well-intentioned individual Christian Tories may be, their party as a whole is persecuting the sort of people with whom Jesus took sides.
“Solidarity with the poor and marginalised was a consistent and unavoidable theme of Jesus’ life. Jesus’ mother Mary said God had ‘filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty’. Jesus began his ministry by saying he had come ‘to bring good news to the poor’. Jesus liberated disabled people, giving them mobility and inclusion in society. He liberated outcasts with mental health problems.
“In contrast, the Tory government has scrapped the Independent Living Fund, slashed mental health budgets, reduced taxes on the rich and presided over a massive rise in food poverty. The number of emergency food packs given out by Trussell Trust food banks was more than eighteen times higher in 2015-16 than in 2010-11.”
- Christians for Economic Justice (CEJ) is an informal network of Christians campaigning against the UK government’s cuts agenda and the wider injustices of capitalism. We were previously known as Christianity Uncut. We are inspired by Jesus, who took nonviolent direct action in the Jerusalem Temple in solidarity with people who are poor, marginalised and exploited.
- CEJ are committed to active nonviolence, rejecting both violence and passivity. We reject verbal abuse and seek to act with a spirit of love for God and humanity rather than hatred towards those with whom we disagree.
- CEJ was launched under the name Christianity Uncut in 2011. It is an informal group who come together for particular events and campaigns, so has been more active at some times than others. Under its previous name the group’s actions included organising a ring of prayer at the eviction of the Occupy camp near St Paul’s Cathedral on 28 February 2012.
- The number of three-day emergency food parcels handed out by Trussell Trust food banks rose from 61,468 in 2010-11 to 1,109,309 in 2015-16.
- For more information, please phone CEJ on 07522 370 839.