I just love it when people of “high moral principle” go around breaking the law and causing criminal damage. Here we have five good Christians doing just that to government buildings in the name of climate change. Switching out of sarcasm mode, I do find find it difficult to understand or accept that any moral person, of whatever faith or none, should behave like this. It seems to be of a similar ilk to those who rioted in Paris during COP21 and trampled on the flowers in memory of those murdered.
So here’s the picture and the story followed by some more comments
Five Christian climate protestors were arrested for criminal damage in Whitehall this morning for protesting against government hypocrisy on climate change
Five Christian climate protestors were arrested for criminal damage in Whitehall this morning for protesting against government hypocrisy on climate change, which they call a ‘climate whitewash’. The five, from Christian Climate Action wrote in whitewash and black paint on the wall of the DECC (Department for Energy and Climate Change). They said “underneath the hypocritical whitewash of fine talk on climate, are DECC policies that lead to death.”
The five, acting on the first day of the Climate Summit in Paris, arrived at the DECC wearing white paint suits with ‘DECC’ on them. They delivered a letter to Amber Rudd, the Energy Secretary, prayed and stood with a skeleton and a ‘whitewashed tomb’ outside, before whitewashing the wall, and painting in black letters, ‘Dept for Extreme Climate Change’ on the wall of the DECC.
Ruth Jarman, one of the five, said: “Climate change is the most serious danger facing the world that God created to be good. Rather than addressing climate change, DECC policies are undermining global efforts to confront this threat. The meeting of world leaders at the Paris Summit this week is a crucial moment. We have taken this action because the urgency and importance of real cuts to greenhouse gas emissions is not getting through.
“Climate change is already a source of war, conflict and refugees. The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children. So we hope more Christians and others will be blessed with a holy rage, moved out of their apathy and led in love to prophetically resist climate ignorance and denial, realising our need for fundamental change and repentance.”
Those arrested were Ruth Jarman from Hampshire (52), Phil Kingston from Bristol (79), Helen Whitall from Exeter (32), Westley Ingram from Surrey (39), and Father Martin Newell from Birmingham (48). They were taken to Charing Cross Police Station and Belgravia Police Station where they are expected to be charged with criminal damage.
As the five claim to be Christian I shall focus my comments on their faith and behaviour as Christians and ask how typical or representative of the burgeoning Green Christian movement of today.
It is hard not to see this as criminal damage and wanton vandalism. As these people are members of “respectable” Christian environmental groups, I presume they have the sanction of them.
Two of these, Jarman and Ingram, are members of Green Christian http://www.greenchristian.org.uk/about and publish in their magazine and on their website. Ingram also wrote the “Fossil Free Nativity” which was performed in London last year. Both favour direct action.
Will Green Christian /Christian Ecology Link take issue with their actions?
(I also note that the Green Christian website contains a highly inaccurate description of fracking.)
I also note that their patrons are
|Rt. Revd. James Jones (former bishop of Liverpool)
Fr. Sean McDonagh
|Prof. Sir Ghillean Prance F.R.S. former director of Kew.
Dr. Elaine Storkey
Do these five actually approve of law breaking, criminal damage and vandalism? I would particularly ask this of Bishop Jones.
Jarman is also on the board of Operation Noah http://operationnoah.org/, a christian group concerned with climate change. Patrons include Prof Michael Northcott and Sir John Houghton former chairman of the IPCC. Further Bishop Richard Cheetham is on the board. Does he support it?
(Operation Noah also run Bright Now http://brightnow.org.uk/ , a Christian group working for fossil-fuuel divestment in the churches. Their report Bright Now see http://brightnow.org.uk/ has been widely accepted in the churches, but gives a lop-sided view on the issues and somewhat deficient in accuracy on fracking (see p7-8).)
Again will Operation Noah make any comment on her actions and consider whether she should be on the board of Operation Noah?
Helen Whittall is the South West campaigner for Friends of the Earth based in Exeter. Will FoE take action?
The other two have got form for occupying and arrest. One is an RC priest and the other a very much respected lay member. Can the RC church actually tolerate this kind of behaviour?
Now, maybe I am very wrong, but I always thought that if you were a Christian you were supposed to have moral standards and not go around breaking the law, disrupting people’s lives and damage property either private or public.
The question is whether or not green Christians have a right, moral or otherwise, to take part in this kind of direct action and behave like those going around to demonstrations where part of the fun is to break into businesses, intimidate people, cause damage and prevent people going about their lawful occupations.
This question needs not only to be answered by Green Christians/CEL and Operation Noah, but also other green Christian groups like A Rocha, John Ray Initiative and environmental groups in the Anglican and Roman catholic Churches?
Here is Ruth Jarman’s reasons why she did it, which I post without comment
Hi everyone, it’s Ruth here, just thought I’d share this statement I read out in my otherwise no-comment police interview yesterday. Now, for those who know about protest, the thing you NEVER do is to say anything at all, apart from ‘no comment’ in your police interview. But, inspired by Caroline Lucas’s statement when she was arrested at Balcome 2 years ago, and because saying why we did the action was part of doing the action, I wrote this and read it out. And then I said no comment to every single question – i was dead impressed with myself. Here it is:
As a Christian I feel I need to take a stand against the death and destruction that is unfolding, aided by the policies of Dept. of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
DECC says that it is addressing climate change. It speaks fine words about the seriousness of the crisis. However, since the May election, this government has been dismantling all its climate policies, showing its words to be lies.
Jesus spoke about this sort of hypocrisy. In Matthew 23 he says:
‘Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.’
I wanted to reveal DECC to be a white-washed tomb and rebrand it as the Dept for Extreme climate Change.
There is no doubt in my mind that un-checked climate change threatens the continuation of abundant and civilised life on earth.
There is no doubt, for me, that allowing destruction of what God has made, the lives of billions and our civilisation, with its beautiful arts and music and culture is contrary to God’s will.
There is no doubt in my mind that DECC’s policies will act to bring on climate change, rather than slow it, both directly, and most crucially in their impact on the UN talks in Paris.
There is no doubt that current political action – MP lobbying, marches, consultations – all of which I have been doing for nearly 20 years now, are not being heeded. The very evening of the Big Climate Lobby on the 17th June, when thousands met with their MPs to ask them to put climate as a priority for this government, Amber Rudd announced the first of her ‘cut-the-green-crap’ policies, that subsidies for on-shore wind would be ending early.
There is no doubt, from the scientific point of view, that drastic, immediate, massive action is needed globally to avert catastrophe. At a human-induced temperature above 1.5, maybe 2 degrees, 3 degrees if we are particularly lucky, natural feedbacks will take over to escalate temperatures, and what humans do after that point is pretty immaterial. Climate change is not something we can leave to our children, or even put off for a few years. It must be dealt with now or not at all. All I am asking is the UK does its part. Historically and morally we have no right to any more carbon space in the atmosphere and should stop producing carbon now. I understand that is not possible. But actions commensurate with this understanding are required.
The urgency demands something more that un-heeded letters and marches. I feel I am being called to witness to the seriousness and urgency of this crisis. The world, and all of us as individuals, need to break out of our cycle of apathy, denial, despair and helplessness, to acts of prophetic resistance. I hope that my small act of resistance will inspire others to act in their own way to peacefully resist the evil of climate change.