Christian Activist: A step forward
Being a Christian activist is not about the glory; it’s usually a thankless and sometimes lonely activity, made up of letter writing, organising and being a righteous pain in the arse. We don’t speak truth to power to be popular. “Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” is a good working motto. But sometimes there are occasions when you get to join with other activists and be a part of something which stirs the soul and makes all the dogged efforts feel worthwhile. I had that experience in September by being one of the 400,000 people that took part in the People’s Climate March in New York, ahead of the UN Climate Summit – it was the largest march for the climate in history. When added to the thousands of smaller events around the world from Rio to Delhi, including the 40,000 in London, the march topped more than 700,000 people getting out onto the streets to call for action.
It was remarkable to witness such a diverse and eclectic mix of people coming together as one. Among the mass of humanity there were Concerned Women for America marching shoulder to shoulder with anti-capitalist campaigners, surgeons in their green scrubs holding placards next to vegans, youth groups and people in wheelchairs. Most encouraging for me was the turnout of faith groups all coming together to speak with one voice. Pagans and Protestants mixed with Methodists and Muslims. Jews, Jains and humanists were all together. I didn’t see a United Reformed Church placard but I’m sure they were there too.
With so much murder and mayhem taking place around the world, much of it with religious overtones, it was wonderful to see people of different faiths uniting in the face of a common enemy. Climate change doesn’t have any regard to race, religion or how we interpret ancient texts. Like the aliens in the film Independence Day, I wonder if climate change may actually galvanise the world into a united response to take on a threat to our home planet. As many of the placards said: “There Is No Plan(et) B”. The threat of global warming is often described as humanity’s greatest challenge, but maybe it will also be our greatest opportunity; if it can bring together bankers and Occupy protestors wearing Guido Fawkes masks, then who knows what other bridges it might build…
This is an extract from the November 2014 edition of Reform.