Christian women stage climate protest at National Gallery

The Christian Climate Action protest inside the National Gallery in London.(Photo: Christian Climate Action)

Five Christian women staged a climate change protest with a nativity theme inside London's National Gallery on Friday.

The women stood before a 15th-century painting by Filippino Lippi, portraying the Virgin and Christ Child being worshipped, with an altered poster of the artwork. 

The poster depicted a climate-devastated environment in which the Virgin and Christ are surrounded by flood waters.

It displayed the words, "For today's children, the reality is climate injustice. No future in fossil fuels."

As part of their protest, the women sang the traditional Christmas carol, "Silent Night", with modified words about the suffering of children due to war and climate injustice. 

They also distributed postcards featuring their version of the painting to gallery visitors before they were interrupted by security. 

The women all belong to Christian Climate Action (CCA) who said that the painting was not touched during the protest.

Sue Hampton, 67, said that their altered version of Lippi's work "shows the terrifying reality children face". 

"As Christians we celebrate the birth of Jesus, born in poverty as a refugee, to show us the way of love and peace, and justice which is love in action," she said.

"Christmas is still for the children. But today, world leaders are failing them. Babies born in the Global South still waiting for climate reparations and most at risk of unliveable heat, hunger, drought, flooding and displacement."

She continued, "Sentiment, tradition and festivity won't save us. The science is clear that new gas, oil or coal will accelerate climate breakdown. We can't serve God unless we serve that truth, unless we work for life, justice and peace – with love."

Church minister Sarah MacDonald, 56, said: "At Christmas, Christians celebrate the gift of life. We need to honour and protect all life - the lives of all our children - now more than ever."

Judith Russenberger, 61, an Anglican from East Sheen, London, said: "It is too easy to forget the plight of most children in the world when we are wrapped up in our Christmas celebrations."