Friday, 28 October 2011

Horray for Giles Fraser!

Now don't get me wrong! Some of my best friends work in the City of London and some of them were more committed Christians or for that matter supporters of the Labour movement than I ever was as a student. Can you throw the money changers out of the temple and then ask them for corporate social responsibility and philanthropy? In any case what is quite surprising is the variety of unlikely sympathisers that the St Paul's occupation has gathered. Martin Wolf of the Financial Times for instance has acknowledged that "the left does not know how to replace the market. But pro-marketeers need to take the protests seriously". So when I heard the news about Giles Fraser's resignation I thought I would throw my two-pennyworth in. Althougn everyone is welcome to speak their truth with love, part of the attraction of Unitarianism for me is the historical link between rational dissent and the radical cause of social justice. Examples include the Rev John Trevor and his establishing of the Labour Church. Imagine a church where the Hymns were written by William Morris!
Because of this I have been motivated to get singing outside of chapel with a political group. I might well swing by the camp at St Paul's where I can. If they do turn the sprinklers on them, perhaps I will show up with a towel in hand?
Giles Fraser's stand does indeed echo the story of Oscar Romero, another advocate of liberation theology and non-violent protest. "The violence we preach is not the violence of the sword, the violence of hatred. It is the violence of love, of brotherhood, the violence that wills to beat weapons into sickles for work". Even in socialist utopia the skills of good bankers will be necessary to run social investment boards, credit unions and mutuals. So it is not about "banker bashing" per se. If that sounds hopelessly idealistic, then it is not for nothing that William Morris called his book the "News from Nowhere". Socialist Utopia has also gone by the name "Christian Commonwealth" or should you care to go back that far "The New Jerusalem".
Giles- there are many Christian Socialists in the good old CofE. But if like me you reluctantly find there is no compromising with the other wing of your church.... you know where to find us!

Interesting times friends. It's good to be back!:)