3rd July 2014
The Very Reverend John R Hall
BA HONDD HOND THEOL FRSA
Dean of Westminster
20 Dean’s Yard
Dear Dr Hall
Greetings in the name of God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.
I am writing this letter as I have been distressed to hear that on Saturday 28th June 2014, members of several disabled groups were harassed and bullied within the grounds of the abbey by the Metropolitan Police. Among them were members of several charities such as DPAC (Disabled People against Cuts), UK Uncut, Occupy and many others.
These people were fighting to save what is known as the ILF or the Independent Living Fund, which this government plans to axe and thereby put many of these people’s lives at risk. They were denied food, water and medication after the gates had been locked and the police stopped people from passing them their supplies over the railings. These people were made to STARVE with no food or water and with NO MEDICATION, their lives were at risk. These people, and by the way I am talking about disabled people here, some of them needed things such as colostomy bags which were in their supplies on the other side of the fence which they were refused by the police and if anybody on the other side of the fence helped them, they would be arrested.
Since this government came to office, disabled people have been marginalised, harassed to the point of suicide by Iain Duncan Smith’s “Welfare Reforms”. During January to November 2011, 10,600 people died within six weeks of having their benefits stopped. This figure is more likely to be anywhere between 30,000 to 40,000 people, maybe even more as the DWP have stubbornly refused to release the figures as it would shock the general public.
But what I am shocked at even more is the fact that YOU did NOTHING to stop it! YOU gave permission for the police to harass and bully disabled people and treat them like vermin, which they are anything but. They are human beings made in God’s image. As one fellow Christian to another, I am stunned as to why nothing was done to protect them. As Christians, we are meant to protect people such as these, the sick, the disabled, the terminally ill, the poor, the widows and orphans. This is our Christian duty to each and every person regardless of race, colour, creed, sexual orientation or religious beliefs.
I am sure that I do not need to remind you that when the Lord was on earth he went to help the most vulnerable in society. Today, he would be no different. He would still be defending the poor, the sick, the disabled, the terminally ill, the dispossessed and we as Christians should do the same. Jesus said in Luke 10:25-37 “On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ‘What is written in the Law?’ He replied. ‘How do you read it?’ He answered, ‘”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”; and “Love your neighbour as yourself.”
‘You have answered correctly,’ Jesus replied. ‘Do this and you will live.’ But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’ In reply Jesus said: ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So, too, a Levite when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to the inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
‘Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?’ The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’
Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.’
As you can no doubt see from the passage above, when Jesus says GO it is NOT a suggestion but a COMMAND! As in the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19 where Jesus says “Therefore GO and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” We are meant to stand up and fight for those who don’t have a voice and to take care of those who society has cast aside and written off.
If we don’t stand up for them and fight for them, then who will? Let me ask you one final question if I may:
If the situation was reversed and you were disabled and needed the Independent Living Fund and the government were going to get rid of it, wouldn’t you fight with everything you had in order to save it and also that other people were fighting alongside you with the same purpose?
Thank you for taking the time to read this
Yours in Christ’s Service
Joshua & Elizabeth Christian