A new phase in the continuing Occupy movement in the UK has begun with the formation of a new charity, Occupy Faith.
This is a very important development as far as Church Peace is concerned, being as it is a melding of the Occupy protest movement and the faith community.
In part inspired by the Occupy Faith movement in the US (much as Occupy UK was inspired by Occupy Wall Street) the Occupy Faith UK movement has planned a 12 day pilgrimage from St. Paul’s Cathedral to Canterbury Cathedral to highlight economic injustice and solidarity with the Occupy movement.
As a new link to build bridges between the protest and faith communities it is encouraging and inspiring to hear of this new initiative.
I do, however, have concerns. I know other Christians and Christian groups view these things differently, yet the concept of seeking a form of economic salvation by allying too closely to non-Christian groups is not something I feel entirely comfortable about.
The rationale for Church Peace, as it stands, is to connect with the dissenting community, and though I would like this to include support for moral and ethical protests, an important part of Church Peace is the Christian input it seeks to provide. The Occupy Faith UK statement of intent prohibits the sharing of the Christian faith and makes clear that there is no purpose to proselytise. Whilst this is understandable considering their stated purpose of seeking economic justice, to me it seems as though the Gospel is being relegated to second place after carnal considerations of finance.
I am reminded of the situation where Israel was being attacked by the Assyrians and they then made an alliance with Egypt to fight the invaders back, which was robustly condemned by God through the prophet Isaiah. Is it right that Christians should seek salvation from economic woes (even for the benefit of others) by allying with non-Christian faiths and movements? Should we not, rather, seek to be witnesses of a better way than that which both Occupy and other faiths purport to be?
Of course, it is a Biblical imperative to speak up for the oppressed and the poor, and in this respect it is highly commendable that Christians should seek to do this. But is such a close identification with Occupy and those of non-Christian faiths desirable, especially when the movement has banned evangelistic efforts by those Christians involved?
I appreciate that there are other views, and would welcome your comments below.