by Jez Smith
The following statement has been published by an alliance of Christian groups in support of the Occupy London movement, which includes some Quakers and has been supported in worship by Quakers on the steps of saint Paul’s cathedral. The Occupy London movement reveals a little shimmer of light shining to say that another world is possible.
What does it mean to be a Quaker? Through our relationship with the Inner Christ/Inner Light we can be transformed and we can act to make the living kingdom of heaven on Earth a reality.
The Occupy London movement reveals that there are people wishing to challenge the current inequities in the world in which we live. By our participation in our present world, we can acquiesce with injustice. We need to challenge the current systems and strive for a world in which Quaker values of peace, equality, integrity and simplicity underpin the new systems. In this light, it stands to reason that Nayler signs up to this Christian statement of solidarity.
Christian solidarity with the ‘Occupy London’ movement
As Christians, we stand alongside people of all religions and none who are resisting economic injustice with active nonviolence. We offer our greetings to people engaged in occupations of financial centres throughout the world.
We seek to witness to the love and justice of God, proclaimed by Jesus Christ. Jesus said that he had come to “set free the oppressed”. His gospel is good news for all people. It is a challenge to all structures, systems, practices and attitudes that lead people to exploit and oppress their fellow human beings.
The global economic system divides people one from another and separates humanity from creation. It perpetuates the wealth of the few at the expense of the many. It fuels violence and environmental destruction. It is based on idolatrous subservience to markets. We cannot worship both God and money.
We are inspired by Jesus, who protested against exploitative traders and moneychangers in the Jerusalem Temple. Christianity began as a grassroots protest movement. Nonviolent direct action can play an important and ethical role in resisting injustice and achieving change.
We stand in solidarity with the ‘Occupy London’ movement and regret that they have not been able to make their protest closer to the London Stock Exchange. We applaud their commitment to co-operating with St Paul’s Cathedral and to ensuring that their camp is safe for everyone in the vicinity. We were pleased by the cathedral’s initial welcome to the camp and hope that difficulties between the occupiers and the cathedral can be speedily resolved, keeping the focus on the need to challenge the financial injustices perpetuated by the City of London.