From the archives ...

IssueDecember 2011 / January 2012
Comment by Albert Beale

Fasting not feasting

[Activists over a range of issues can find themselves less than welcome at famous churches.]

RI Jeffrey reports: "Pacifism is a political attitude and it is not our job to support it." Thus said the Dean of York in refusing his permission for the York Pacifist Group to hold a fasting vigil inside York Minster, from 7pm on Christmas Eve until midnight on Christmas Day, as a protest against war and the use of violence.

Not to worry - and perhaps we were being a little bit too optimistic in the asking - so with no room at the inn for our answer, the fast took place opposite the Minster, near an illuminated 4th Century Roman column. A good site, but a few people who stopped seemed only interested in the column and were apparently oblivious to the many anti-war posters hung all around. Another counter-attraction, and parked close to us, was a most unusual sports car; there are just three of this type in the world. Many church-goers paused to admire the car, some took photographs of it and yet they ignored what we had to offer...

Nevertheless, the half dozen or so York pacifists, who had water instead of the usual feasting at Christmastide, attracted the attention of the local press, and the distribution of about 300 leaflets was well received. New contacts were made, and the collection exceeded all our expectations - even the arm of the law contributed.

Suppression at school

[Coincidentally, the previous issue of PN had run a lengthy article by Ivan Illich.]

Peter Mason writes: A boy from our group (at Bradford Grammar School) who helps distribute Peace News was recently suspended by the headmaster for corrupting - selling PN and other political papers.

The Headmaster said that he did not mind boys having a different political view from his but he objected if they argued with other people about them...

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