Love as protest


Posted on 29th March 2021 by Jonathan Clatworthy

This post publishes Helen Burnett’s defence at a trial on 25th March.

Helen is a Church of England priest, an activist for Extinction Rebellion. She tells us she was not the only one:

there has been a stream of Christians through the City of London Magistrates’ Court, lay and ordained, this week. They must be thoroughly sick of us!

All were answering charges for non-violent direct action at various Extinction Rebellion protests:

Four Christian Climate Action members in the past week have glued themselves on in court as a protest at the court’s refusal to allow the defence of Articles 9,10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

What follows is Helen’s speech in her defence.

This is the first week of Passiontide, a time in the Christian year when the truth is revealed.

This trial began with an oath on a bible, the sacred text that teaches a radical way of love. It includes the account of Jesus before Pilate, who famously asked ‘What is truth?’ He then fell silent in the face of a justice system that had nothing of real truth and justice to offer him.

Well, I’m afraid you are not going to have silence from me and I hope you can offer more than Pilate.

Here is my truth, the truth of thousands of activists, and of the truth of millions too busy trying to survive, too busy grieving, too busy coping with the real life effects of the climate and ecological emergency.….

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