Concerning the role of religion in society

St Paul's Cathedral and the remaining tower of...

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One of the reasons I believe in Separation of Church and State, is that I see the Church as an alternative to government in times of crisis. Where one fails, the other should step in. This way, society as a whole is served. Neither religion nor government are all-encompassing, nor should they be if we are to have liberty. Each should compensate for the failings of the other.

One ancient role of religion is to provide sanctuary to those who need it. Another is to seek justice for the people. In this vein, I wish to applaud Giles Fraser, “A top cleric at the famous St. Paul’s Cathedral in London”.

“I cannot support using violence to ask people to clear off the land,” he said. “It is not about my sympathies or what I believe about the camp. I support the right to protest and in a perfect world we could have negotiated. But our legal advice was that this would have implied consent.”

This is a man who retains the spirit of sanctuary, and lives up to it.

His move has prompted an outpouring of appreciation from the demonstrators. “The fact that he is standing by his values, shown through his resignation, is really so important to us,” one told the Telegraph. “We have a lot of respect for him. He’s an honorable man.”

And I applaud him for being an honorable man, and a blessing to society. It is disappointing disturbing to me that a church has to worry about losing control of their property if they grant sanctuary.

[UPDATE 11/20/2011]

Several Churches in New York City are also sheltering Occupiers. Among them are:

  • United Methodist Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew, on the Upper West Side
  • The Riverside Church, in Morningside Heights
  • Judson Memorial Church near Washington Square Park

In some churches, police have been stalking protesters who are guests of the church. A woman was seen photographing people who came out of one of these churches. This is an ominous development.

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