HOW FAR DO YOU GO: WHAT ARE THE LIMITS OF PROTEST AND DIRECT ACTION AS A LEGITIMATE EXPRESSION OF CHRISTIAN FAITH?
Christians are called to stand up for the oppressed and to speak out against injustice. Protest, nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience are important parts of our Christian tradition that have strong Biblical roots. But there can be serious and costly personal and public consequences of such actions. In this conversation we will explore moral, ethical and faith questions about undertaking these actions in the context of the current climate emergency.
On Wednesday 31 January, in conversation with Melanie Nazareth and Hilary Bond (Christian Climate Action), we discussed ethical and faith issues surrounding protest and direct action.
The context*, Melanie told us, is important and she gave us four ‘ethical questions’ to help assess whether public protest might be appropriate. We listened to both Melanie and Hilary’s accounts of why they were compelled to take action, when other avenues had been exhausted. They described some of the personal consequences of such action, how legislation and policing is changing to deter protestors but also how direct action brings issues to the fore and eventually can bring change.
We highly recommend you listen to this articulate and compelling account of how protest is an integral part of our Christian faith. It’s not what you hear in mainstream media.
*Melanie refers to the Papal Exhortation Laudate Deum – Oct 2023
Melanie Nazareth (Christian Climate Change)
Melanie Nazareth is mother to four young adults who face the challenges of living in our climate changed world. Of Indian origin, she was in Kenya, and spent much of her childhood in the Solomon Islands in the Western Pacific. Her links to these places fuel a deepening commitment to working for climate justice. This journey has led her from a career as a lawyer to studying theology, ecology and ethics and to activism with Christian Climate Action and Extinction Rebellion.
Hilary Bond is a pioneer priest, Third Order Franciscan and teller of stories. “I love God, my family, my garden and deep conversation over coffee or around the fire pit (and lots of other people and things). I am also someone who firmly believes that care of creation should be an integral part of the expression of Christian faith. Because of that I have chosen to be part of Christian Climate Action, Extinction Rebellion, and just stop oil, and to take part in acts of civil disobedience.”
Cover photo: xrmediaarchive