“Quakers respect the laws of the state but our first loyalty is to God’s purposes. Sometimes things which are legally wrong can be morally right” Paul Parker, Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain.
Quakers support Non-Violent Direct Action on climate change by the Just Stop Oil campaign
On Saturday 8th October for a second time, Quakers from across Britain showed that as a faith group we support non-violent direct action on climate change.
About a dozen Friends from Oxford, Swindon, Edinburgh, Peterborough and Cambridge accompanied those involved with the Just Stop oil campaign, in Whitehall. This follows similar action on 1st October which aim for Quakers to provide a powerful and distinctive voice in demonstrations.
The group held a Prayer Meeting for Worship in Whitehall, opposite Downing Street and held Just Stop Oil campaigners and those quakers who have been imprisoned for taking action with Just Stop Oil in the light. They are Sue Hampton, a member of Luton and Leighton Quaker Area Meeting, and Rajan Naidu, a member of Central England Quaker Area Meeting, Arne Sprngorum from Prague who formerly attended Wandsworth Quaker Meeting and Phil Laurie who has attended Quaker Meetings in Westminster and Faversham.
Jenifer Wates 89 a retired farmer from Woodstock said:
“It’s good to join with Just Stop Oil and remind people of the seriousness of the climate and environmental crisis and what they can do about it”
Ian Cave 61 a retired nurse from Oxfordshire said:
“There are a lot of ways we as quakers can uphold those who are prepared to be arrested, even if not all of us are able to take this step ourselves. By being here and accompanying these actions, we show that our faith group supports non-violent direct action and that these campaigners are not alone”
Paul Parker, Recording Clerk [A] for Quakers in Britain, said,
“Quakers respect the laws of the state but our first loyalty is to God’s purposes. Sometimes things which are legally wrong can be morally right”.[B]
Quakers “Meeting for Sufferings” have already added Sue and Rajan to the Prison and Court Register for matters of conscience. This acknowledges Friends’ witness and their willingness to face its consequences and reminds us that being a Quaker does not come without cost.
Friends who are aware of other quakers who have been before the Courts or imprisoned for nonviolent direct action on climate change are encouraged to raise this with their local and Area Meetings and ask for them to also be added to the Meeting for Suffering register.
Just Stop Oil supporters have been blocking major roads in central London since 1st October causing traffic disruption as they demand the government halts all new oil and gas licenses and consents.
The actions are timed to coincide with the launch of a new round of oil and gas licensing in which over 100 new licences for oil and gas exploration are likely to be awarded and follow news that the government plans to fast track 5 new oil and gas projects, including the Cambo field, aiming to get the vast majority starting construction by the end of 2023 [C, D]
Just Stop Oil are undertaking ongoing non-violent direct action throughout October. Quaker Friends are able to join them outside Downing Street at 11am every day. Further details are available on the Just Stop Oil website https://juststopoil.org
[A] Britain Yearly Meeting is the registered charity of Quakers in Britain. It has central offices in London and the Recording Clerk is the most senior member of staff. https://www.quaker.org.uk/our-organisation/our-structures