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Another edifice of Britain's decaying social structure crumbled when the anti-capitalist Occupy Wall Street movement crossed the Atlantic in October. But, proving once again that the English do farce rather better than revolutions, it was the Church of England, not the fat cats of the City, which has been seriously damaged. 

The favela of tents and banners proclaiming "capitalism in crisis" outside St Paul's Cathedral provoked a crisis which came from within — and the reason is that at some point the creed of equality, that 21st-century pastiche of socialism, replaced Anglicanism as England's national religion, and the Church of England became the First Church of Christ, Marxist.

No one better exemplifies that evolution than the Rev Dr Giles Fraser, former Canon Chancellor of St Paul's, who in the first days of the occupation appeared on television news telling police to back away, and then resigned when the City of London Corporation began a legal bid to evict the protesters. Echoing the half-educated sociology graduates outside whose banners asked, "What would Jesus do?" (he'd probably sell that iPhone in your pocket and give the proceeds to the poor), Dr Fraser proclaimed: "I could imagine Jesus being born in the camp." 

The canon's resignation was followed by those of the Dean, Graeme Knowles, and a part-time chaplain, while the clerk of the works is now off with stress. The Church has been left a laughing stock, but Dr Fraser is the new poster boy for the protests.

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Daniel Heslop
February 22nd, 2012
1:02 PM
He has written a brilliant book on Nietzsche. It's no surprise that it takes a Christian to understand Nietzsche, who seemingly alone among atheists, understood Christianity better than many Christians.

Mr Grumpy
December 15th, 2011
4:12 PM
Hmmm, so did the complex and interesting Dr Fraser venture out into the encampment to make the case for capitalism?

Tim Footman
November 24th, 2011
5:11 PM
Fraser is a far more complex and interesting philosophical creature than you make out. He may well have started out as a banner-waving Eagletonian, but last year he published the book Confessions of a Reluctant Capitalist, in which he described his own conversion to support for a market economy, and his belief that capitalism can comfortably co-exist with a Christian morality (which, incidentally, is not incompatible with his stance on gay rights – it's all about freedom, isn't it?). Just because he wanted the church to allow the protesters to remain doesn't mean he supported all their demands. "First Church of Christ, Marxist"? Hardly.

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