Less than a week into the protest camp near the London Stock Exchange, there are complaints that it is putting off tourists from visiting St Paul’s Cathedral. But the Christian Church does not exist for the purpose of maintaining tourist attractions, as if Jesus intended his followers to be a branch of English Heritage.
Christianity is based on the message of a man whose protest disrupted trade in a major religious building nearly 2,000 years ago. The cathedral’s dean and chapter say they are “reviewing” the extent to which the cathedral can remain open. Their statement asked: “Is it now time for the protest camp to leave?”
The implication was that they wanted to say yes. This was clearly the view of the anonymous staff member quoted in the Evening Standard. However, both the cathedral and the protesters have denied reports that a formal request has been made. The dean and chapter now have a choice to make. Will they stand in solidarity with people resisting economic injustice? Or will they call in the police to forcibly remove nonviolent campaigners, while the cathedral’s clerics pass by on the other side?