Christian demonstration in London about the developing Climate Crisis
On the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and the second anniversary of the Paris UN Climate Agreement, members of Christian Climate Action arranged a direct action protest on Monday 4th December outside the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in London. They held a prayer vigil, performed street theatre and used red spray paint to call for a radical reformation of the economy to protect humankind and abundant life on earth from climate change.
Phil Kingston (81) who is a member of Holy Family Catholic church in Patchway, S. Glos., took the role of Martin Luther in the street theatre, and was accompanied by a Birmingham Catholic priest, Fr Martin Newell, as Pope Francis. They and others visited BEIS to remind our government of its commitments to tackle climate change under the Paris Agreement and the Climate Change Act. After joining in a litany of prayer for the earth and a brief piece of street theatre, Mr. Kingston and the Fr. Newell wrote ‘Radical Reformation of the Economy now’ and ‘Stop Climate Chaos’ on the department’s plaque. They then continued praying there.
The police were called, but the department decided not to press charges at this time.
Mr. Kingston said ‘’As a Christian and a grandparent, I went to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) because of its primary role within the current economy of never-ending economic growth and consumption, an economy which is doing enormous damage to the Earth. This damage includes the breakdown of the systems which govern climate stability; the depletion and extinction of other-than-human species; and many kinds of pollution of air, land and oceans. All of this is already causing suffering and unnecessary deaths, particularly amongst the poorest peoples. It will, if not reversed, radically affect the well-being of our descendants. In the words of Pope Francis: ‘…. the idea of infinite or unlimited growth, which proves so attractive to economists, financiers and experts in technology is based on the lie that there is an infinite supply of the earth’s goods, and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry beyond every limit.’ (Praise be: Our Common Home, 106).
It is important to emphasise that the Minister for Climate Change is housed in BEIS and that her title is Minister for Climate Change and Industry. She is a junior minister so has no place in the Cabinet. When visitors arrive at BEIS, they have no idea from the Dept. title and Reception information that she is based there.''
Below is the script used for the street theatre, which as far as possible we used actual quotes from the writings of Martin Luther and Pope Francis:
This is what might have happened when Martin Luther met Pope Francis and together they met Money. Almost all of the words of Martin Luther and Pope Francis are quotes from their writings.
Pope: in 1517 the church was not a role model. There was corruption, there was worldliness, there was greed, a lust for power. Martin Luther protested against this. And he was an intelligent man.
Money: with money hat on. We are here to celebrate the power of money to purchase for people access to God
Luther: Oh no we aren’t. Takes Money’s hat off and places it on the ground. The only thing bringing us to God is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Money: takes hat back. In that case we are here, today, 2017, to call economists, financiers, technology experts to celebrate this: unlimited growth is here to stay.
Pope : No: there is not an unlimited supply of the worlds goods. The world is being squeezed dry.
Luther: and God writes the gospel not in the bible alone, but also in the trees, and in the flowers, and clouds and stars.
Money: Enough of that, we are here to celebrate me, the god of extreme profits, so that I may gorge myself on the feast of everything that stands in my way.
Pope: Sadly we might agree. Whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenceless before you, the god of the market. It seems that you are the only rule.
Money: so you admit defeat?
Luther: Defeat? if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. For every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver. Everything that is done in this world is done by hope.
Money: Hope? Money crushes hope. What are you going to do?
Luther: When cardinal Bogoglio became pope, he took the name of St Francis. But this was not just a name, it was a plan.
Pope: Francis, The man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation. Francis, the man who changed history. How I would like a church that is poor and is for the poor. What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?
Luther: Parents shouldn’t give up choosing what is best for their children, even when they are ungrateful.
Money: And do you, with all your terrible mistakes, think that anyone will listen?
Luther: No great saint lived without errors.
Pope: I also am a sinner but I trust in the infinite mercy and patience of our lord Jesus Christ. And in this day and age, unless Christians are revolutionaries, they are not Christians.
Luther: And though this world with devils filled should threaten to undo us, we will not fear for god has willed His truth to triumph through us.
Pope: We need to strengthen the conviction that we are one single family. The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. This is one of the greatest challenges of our time: changing to a form of development which seeks to respect creation.
Money: so what do you want?
Pope and Luther. A radical reformation of the economy.
Money: What do you want?
All: A radical reformation of the economy.
Pope: the time has come to accept decreased growth in some parts of the world, so that other parts may experience healthy growth.
Money: This is just asking for...
Pope and Luther: A radical reformation of the economy
Money: You know you can’t have...
All: A radical reformation of the economy.
Pope: I await the surprise of each day.
Luther: God is always a surprise, so you never know where and how you will meet him.
Both: Earth our mother moon our brother, here we stand we can do no other.
Pope: working for a just distribution of the fruits of the earth and human labour is not mere philanthropy, it is a moral obligation. For Christians the responsibility is even greater, it is a commandment.
Both: Earth or mother, moon our brother, here we stand we can do no other.
Luther: If you want to change the world, pray and act. And let us sing as we go; may our struggles and our concern for this planet never take away the joy of our hope.
Money: But money always rules.
Pope: takes hat. No it does not. Men and women will not be sacrificed to the idols of profit and consumption. Money has to serve and not rule.
All: Money has to serve and not rule.
Pope and Luther: what do we want?
All: a radical reformation of the economy
Pope and Luther: What do we want?
All: a radical reformation of the economy!
, Christian Climate Action
, Climate Change
, Department of Business
, Energy and Industrial Strategy
, Grandparents For A Safe Earth
, Martin Luther
, Phil Kingston
, Pope Francis