In yesterday’s edition of the Independent, Tom Hodgkinson wrote a positive and thoughtful review of his experiences at the Occupy London Stock Exchange camp, and came to the conclusion that the Occupy protest was a fundamentally Christian one.
While it is easy to see how one might come to this conclusion, one must ask, does Christianity have the right to hold sole claim to morality in this way? Does any religion, in fact, have this right? Are we really in a society that has become so blinkered by our own cultural preconceptions and stereotypes, that we can no longer tell the difference between religion and morality? A society that believes that people are moral because of who they are, and not because of what they do?
Many people have struggled to put a simple definition or label on what the Occupy movement is all about. The reason for this is because the definition is not simple. There is not a single term that can define the Occupy movement that doesn’t ultimately end up alienating some aspect of the movement. The movement is made up of diverse individuals concerned about a lot of complex issues, which ultimately come back to one simple thing. It’s about people. The Occupy movement is about humanity.
When people like Tom Hodgkinson use phrases like “fundamentally Christian” to describe the Occupy movement, regardless of their intent, they often forget to take into account all the people that are being excluded by such a phrase. What about those of other faiths, such as Muslims, Hindus, and Pagans, amongst the many different diverse faiths that are present in the UK. What about non-religious supporters, be the hard-line Atheists, or simply Humanists or Existentialists?
Evidence shows that there is in fact a diverse cross-section of faith within the Occupy movement, and it is only because of the local issues with St. Paul’s that Anglicanism has reached such high profile within the Occupy London Stock Exchange protest itself. Far from being “fundamentally Christian” or even “fundamentally religious” the focus of the Occupy movement is on something much more meaningful that few people have a hard time arguing with, and therefore are wanting to spend more time trying to hide under as many different labels as they possibly can.
The Occupy protest is a fundamentally moral protest.