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'Jesus was an activist': Priest defends actions as climate protestors could be forced to pay for damages they inflict

by Premier Journalist
sue parfitt Just Stop Oil.JPG - Banner image
Image: Reuters

Protestors from groups such as Just Stop Oil could be forced to pay compensation for the damage they inflict, according to new Government proposals.

The Government’s adviser on political violence and disruption is expected to publish guidelines this week which would enable people disrupted by climate change groups to more easily sue for losses.

Christians are divided over whether the actions of climate activists who attack works of art to create publicity are Godly and helpful.

Rev Sue Parfitt, who at 82 says “Jesus was an activist”, believes that no-one will listen to arguments about the urgency of climate issues without publicity stunts like the ones she has pulled.

The vicar, who has alienated friends and family over her conviction that attention grabbing stunts are the way forward, this month damaged the casing of the Magna Carta document in The British Library.

And she this week told The Times she takes inspiration from the way Jesus broke the law and was arrested. 

“Jesus was an activist, no doubt about it,” she said. “He broke the law continually and in the end was arrested and executed for it.”

Meanwhile, former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, who has previously supported climate change activism, has said that some protestor’s tactics “weren’t doing them any favours”.

“That sort of activism [JSO’s] is understandable” Lord Williams has said. “I find it, as I say, in terms of tactics and strategy, not particularly helpful.

“It doesn't seem to win people to the cause. Occasionally people will respond by saying, well we understand the urgency a bit better, but I find difficulty with it.

“When people sense urgency and react rapidly, they don't always react in a way that's most constructive.”

The Telegraph reported a Home Office source as explaining the thinking behind the new proposals.

 “If Just Stop Oil organises a major roadblock and you cannot get to work or you miss a hospital appointment, there would be a framework where you could more easily sue the organisation for the loss they have caused you. It would be a statutory scheme but civil action”, the newspaper reported.

“Number 10 really sees the politics of being able to give more power to individuals to be able to do this” the source added. “Every time it happens, you have intense frustration for individuals who take things into their own hands but are ultimately powerless when they cannot get to where they are going.

“People organising these blockades are not seeing sufficient deterrent from individual prosecutions. It is about how much it will be worthwhile for them to do it if these proposals are enacted.”

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