I sent this to the Dean shortly after learning about the new regime which began last Sept.
I left time for a reply, but didn’t get one.
Dear Dean Robert
I was shocked to learn that armed police patrol the Precinct, and the city.
I’ve long been unhappy at your entry fee, but this is even more offputting; I won’t visit whilst this guards policy is in place. It clashes with Christian welcome and values, and either puts the symbolic mother of the established church under the civic and military control, or willingly colludes with them.
Have you read James Alison’s On Being Liked, and his first triptych about the Twin Towers? He writes that God has nothing to do with the ways of violence, but subverts them to overcome them. Yet here, it seems that we fight evil with evil, fear by escalating fear, and begin steps towards a police state.
Using weapons isn’t accountable, it’s an immediate execution that doesn’t require a court, and it’s feared that a new Becket will occur.
Promoting fear and allowing the costly rise of armed police is not the way to handle attacks and threats – although public statements claim that there have been none. Greater defence and shows of strength gives rise to more reason to make us an object of attack with continued wars, along with erosion of civil liberties. It promotes resentment of other – Muslims and Middle Eastern/Indian people, and I fear, this is strong in Kent where you have so many refugees entering. I am already alarmed by what people’s responses have been to the news about your guards – notions that Trump supporters would be proud of.
It also makes greater public resentment of law enforcers and government, and makes us more like the gun slinging US police that we have so many appalling news reports about.
Christians are called to be different. It is a less evolved, less Christ centred society that allows an increase in weapons, an eye taken before an eye has been even lost.
I am frightened at the thought of yet more repeating history (ie a certain ‘troublesome priest’) where curtailment and suspicion become accepted.
I do not believe this to be the kingdom God called us to build.
I am calling for the removal of police in the cathedral and the city.
I will also be publishing my call, but I wanted to give you a chance to respond first.
You can read my review of Canterbury’s original arts cinema here.