Support Rev Billy

I’ve had the privilege of meeting with the Rev Billy and his associates in The Church of Stop Shopping during I think four events in London, and have been impressed both by their performances and in particular his anti-consumerism preaching. If you’ve not come across him before you can read more about him on My London Diary, and in particular on the two more extended performances I’ve photographed,  Rev Billy’s Tate BP Exorcism in 2011:

The Reverend Billy & the Church of Earthalujah preached a sermon loud and clear in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern today, an act of exorcism urging an end to extraction of oil for the Tar Sands and of arts sponsorship by BP which gives a company engaged in this most polluting activity a false green image.

and Rev Billy at HSBC in July this year inside the branch of the bank just opposite Victoria Station in London:

Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir creatively invaded the HSBC branch at Victoria to perform a “radicalized midsummer cloud forest dream” against the support given to fossil fuels and climate chaos by the banks and the City of London.

Last month they gave a similar performance of this ‘extinction sermon’ in the ‘”wealth management bankof JP Morgan Chase at 56th and 6th in Manhattan. The dancing, singing toads offered bank workers and customers information sheets about the impact of Chase investments on the environment.’ The petition page continues:

Reverend Billy Talen and the music director of the Stop Shopping Choir, Nehemiah Luckett, were arrested minutes later on a subway platform. The two were charged with riot in the second degree, menacing in the third degree, unlawful assembly, and two counts of disorderly conduct. The DA’s office requested one year in prison for “this criminal stunt.

The defence argues that the 15 minute performance was an ‘expressive political activity’ covered by the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution which guarantees freedom os speech.  Their act was based on research by BankTrack.Org of the Netherlands and the UK World Development Movement which shows that “Chase Bank is a top financier of extractive fossil projects, responsible for more CO2 emissions release than any other institution, with the possible exception of the Chinese Communist Party.”

You can read more about Rev Billy and the collective at The Church of Stop Shopping web site. The case against Rev Billy raises important questions about the right to protest and freedom of speech and seems to be a clear attempt by the establishment and Chase Bank to curb these.

If you care about these issues please sign the petition to District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. in support of the Revs Billy and Nehemiah by the Friends of the Church of Stop Shopping.  It will be presented at court on Dec 9th.


My London Diary : Buildings of London : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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