The Times Friday October 28 2011
page 10 Ruth Gledhill reporting on the latest from the St Paul protesters’ camp
“Giles Fraser who resigned as Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s because he opposes the use of force to evict the 200 protesters camped outside, said that it would have been “hypocritical” to have remained at the cathedral. He said that his focus now was on how to provide for his wife and children. I am scared,really scared about what happens next, the responsibilities to my family.”
I admire the man for his stand in this particular case. Would I have done the same if I were in his shoes? I don’t know, I ‘ll never have the chance to be in his shoes in the first place but his decision speaks much more to me, a humble member of church-shy community than the position of whole rest of the St Paul’s or Church of England hierarchy.
“Dr Fraser was not uncritical of the protesters. “They know what they are against but they do not know what they are for”, he said. “They represent a legitimate anger at the way in which wealth has not been fairly distributed in this country.”
Irrespective of the motives Dr Giles Fraser’s resignation adds a little more to the drama unfolding in the bigger picture of the economic turmoil faced by everybody around; or nearly everybody.
Hugo Rifkind in the article titled “Church opposes pious idealists? I must protest” notice the slight contradiction between what the Church preaches (at least what the layman perceives) and its attitude in this case.
Talking about the protesters he says:
“Theirs is a naïve, pious and moralistic stance and I doubt many real people in the real world could honestly and fully agree with it.
But the Church should. Because if the Church isn’t in favour of that which is naïve, pious and moralistic, then, really what is the point? When Jesus expelled the money changers from the Temple, he hasn’t overly concerned with the wider economy, was he? He didn’t say to himself: “Well, we all benefit from the free flow of capital” and then slink off to e-mail out a fretful press release.”
I am happy to see, again, that thinking outside the box is a sport where the religious (non)affiliation is not quite relevant (Hugo Rifkind, born in a Jewish family, being as he put it himself “a content agnostic, except on aeroplanes”)
And I can nothing but agree with him in concluding that:
“What an open goal this was to miss. Religion is not supposed to be the middle ground. That’s where everybody else is.”