Thursday 27 October 2011

Giles Fraser makes a stand

Giles Fraser is - sorry 'was' - the Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral in London. Today he resigned, with regret.

I don't know what a canon chancellor is so to that extent. Pffft! But I know who Giles Fraser is, he's one of the Anglican Priests willing to publicly engage with the politics of the gospel. And I know what St Paul's Cathedral is: it's a den of thieves that charges people to enter a place of worship built on the backs of the poor by the rich so they can celebrate their God given right to screw us all over. It's beautiful too.

 Photograph: Alex Diaz/PA: Giles Fraser: when the protest arrived
he sent the police on their way. No he's being forced to do the same. 
He resigned because the clergy and laity who run the show, including Bp of London Richard Chatres and high-powered finance folk, are plotting to remove peaceful protests by violence from St Paul's Square. Giles Fraser quite rightly sees what  a mockery and self-parodying nonsense the Church becomes when it makes such decisions. He wants no part of it. In his own words here.

So we don't know when but we know that violence will be used and the Church of England will get it's hands dirty for a change instead of letting the state do its dirty work. The Church of England imagines itself a neutral or benign power in matters of politics so often. And happily blesses the violence of others (as many clergy will do next month on 11 November) without getting the blood on its own cassock.

The protesters arrived thinking they would camp at Paternoster Square and expose the violence of Capital as it is expressed by bankers. That didn't know that another imperious power would be exposed in the process.

Perhaps its time the Church made up her mind: God or Caesar? What belongs to God is all creation. What belongs to Caesar are the empty promises of capital. So why does the church give everything to Caesar and only empty promises to God?

Meanwhile Giles Fraser might need some help this week. He needs to pack, he needs to figure out what to do next. God bless him as he discerns his calling in a church he loves but not more than he loves the image of God in his neighbour.

A line from the Paternoster prayer might be a good conclusion: give us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. Amen.

But if you want a better and funnier conclusion there's always the wonderful newsthump!