Aiming to stay a broad church
By our co-chaplain, Andrew Norman
An editorial in The Guardian (Wednesday 6th October) reflects on the police and crime bill making its way through parliament and how the Home Secretary was applauded at the Conservative party conference when she referred to Insulate Britain and announced that she planned to remove even more rights from political protesters.
If you are an environmental activist how do you protest? Do you write letters to your MP, sign petitions, and attend meetings? Do you take the trouble to inform yourself, read books, listen to talks, speak up in conversations – and belong to an organisation like Green Christian?
As a charity Green Christian cannot be party political. Certainly we can support protest in these forms, but we have to stay respectfully within the political status quo. We’re not allowed to go too far.
However, Green Christian members as individuals may well choose to engage in more active forms of protest. So I’m wondering if I could be with Insulate Britain and whether I would be prepared to super-glue myself to the M25?
But then further self-examination is called for, because to be honest I feel distinctly uncomfortable at the prospect. I try to feel my way into how I resist the thought of going that far. There is a certain self-disappointment, but it takes me on into thinking that I can at least actively support all that we are doing in Green Christian and how, in that, we are able to be part of the wider environmental protest.
Yet the Guardian editorial made me think more. “The past few years have seen a flowering of environmental protests, from the divestment movement and challenges to fossil fuel sponsorship, to school strikes. Activists are right that the climate problem cannot be left to politicians; this was tried and it didn’t work. With their protests, green activists perform a kind of public service. But in the build-up to next month’s crucial UN negotiations, and with a serious threat to civil liberties hanging over it, their movement should aim to stay a broad church.”
Oh! Perhaps organisations like Green Christian have a particular importance in having to represent that broad church?
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