Thursday 16 May 2013

The HTB Show: all about the Bling

Each year Holy Trinity Brompton – or “HTB” holds a high octane, big numbers show at the Royal Albert Hall. This year three senior banking executives, and a nuclear weapons manufacturer show that whatever the Alpha Gospel is about, it’s definitely about the bling.

Already this year we’ve heard from the new Archbishop of Canterbury and his commitment to peace and reconciliation among Christians and the line-up for the second day is no less dizzying: the Chief executive at Serco and Brian Griffiths, the executive director at Goldman Sachs are both invited to speak as is Benjamin Grizzle Goldman Sach’s Executive Director.

Ken Costa, investment banker and Alpha’s biggest funder, who wrote of the Occupy LSX camp as “naïve” and of “little consequence” before being appointed by St Paul’s Cathedral to listen respectfully to them (you couldn’t make this stuff up!) will – as ever – be part of the conference this year.

Last year the big treat was Tony Blair. Tony Blair is known internationally as someone who led this country into war on a false premise after misleading many from both parliament and the nation into believing that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

Many Christians consider him to be guilty of war crimes. He now spends a great deal of time making money from his neo-liberal solutions to conflict in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
HTB didn’t listen to concerns about their ‘big name’ in 2012 and they’re not listening today. 

Along with Lockheed-Martin, Serco manage nuclear weapons factory at Aldermaston which Christians from all traditions have been protesting, lamenting, and blockading for six decades.
Nuclear weapons are designed to deliberately target civilian populations, illegal under international law and immoral by almost any standard. Yet here is HTB celebrating the man who oversees their production and maintenance as a “Christian leader”.

Goldman Sachs meanwhile have been one of the most fraudulent of banks in the world and were pivotal to the banking crisis. To date their leadership have shown littler remorse or sign of a change in culture.

I wonder if Brian Griffiths will get the same robust Christian witness meted out to HSBCs Stuart Gulliver in February when he said, “It seems to me that you are putting huge effort into a values-based organisation and yet at the end of the day, particularly for your most senior staff who are most important as regards setting values and culture, you seem to be saying the only way you can motivate them to any significant extent is with cash,"? 

Probably not.

Well done to the folks of Christian CND who stood outside in the rain yesterday, banner in hand, to engage Alphanes in conversation about SERCO. Thank you!