Thinking Anglicans

Black bishop attacks Church racism

The Telegraph has a report today by Jonathan Petre that Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop-designate of York, has used the foreword of a new book implicitly to criticise fellow Church leaders for failing to deal properly with discrimination in the organisation. See Black bishop attacks Church racism. An excerpt:

The book to which Dr Sentamu has contributed, Rejection, Resistance and Resurrection, Speaking out on racism in the Church, is a hard-hitting account of the rejection felt by many black Anglicans.

Written by Mukti Barton, the adviser on black and Asian ministries to the Bishop of Birmingham, Dr Sentamu’s present post, it describes racism as a “deadly poison” often unconsciously spread by white Christians.

It also claims that black people are significantly under represented in the clergy, even in the diocese of Birmingham.

Dr Sentamu, who is to launch the book in Birmingham cathedral next month, said in the foreword: “The stories in this book speak of the pain of what it is to undergo institutional racism.

“The cost is in terms of the lives of people who are hampered in their growth into the image of God created in them.”

However, the editors of the Telegraph know better than the bishop, and have published this leader The way to empty pews in which they say Dr Sentamu is wrong:

A useful litmus test can be applied to distinguish vibrant, fast-growing denominations from struggling or moribund ones. Those that are obsessed with accusing themselves of racism tend to be in a worse state of health than those that – while vigorously opposing racial prejudice, as the Gospel demands – have resisted the breast-beating and grievance-mongering of secular multiculturalists.

For the past 20 years, the race relations industry has exerted a formidable grip on the mainstream churches in Britain: Anglicans, Roman Catholics and Methodists have been falling over each other in their eagerness to send themselves on “racism awareness courses”.

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Simeon
14 years ago

One wonders how Dr. Sentamu’s words would read if “black” were replaced by “gay and lesbian.”

Same sort of rejection and “deadly poison” experienced for an equally inborn, harmless, and irrelevant trait.

Doug Chaplin
14 years ago

Somewhat ironic to pick the moment when he’s been elevated to the second highest position in the C of E to accuse it (if he did, rather than his interpreting journalsit) of institutional racism. It would be just as easy to accuse it, on the basis of promoting a first generation asylum seeker to such high office, of taking a substantial risk in the name of anti-racist political correctness. I doubt either accusation would stand up to serious scrutiny.

cbs
cbs
14 years ago

How many black or Asiatic bishops are there in continental Europe? I suspect none. with Rochester and Birmingham-York the Church of England – of which I am not a member – seems to have set a rather positive example.

J. C. Fisher
14 years ago

I’m just gobsmacked by this:

“Those that are obsessed with accusing themselves of racism tend to be in a worse state of health than those that – while vigorously opposing racial prejudice, as the Gospel demands – have resisted the breast-beating and grievance-mongering of secular multiculturalists.”

By what criteria do does the Telegraph decide which is godly “vigorously opposing racial prejudice” and the other ungodly “breast-beating and grievance-mongering of secular multiculturalists” (noting that, in either case, we’re talking about *Christians*).

Or are they just putting the worldly-standard-of-numerical-growth *cart* in front of the faithful-to-Gospel-justice *horse*?

Christopher Shell
Christopher Shell
14 years ago

Hi Simeon-
The differences are not subtle but basic:
(1) One is apparent from babyhood; the other is not;
(2) For one there is legitimate nature/nurture discussion; for the other, there is not.

Simeon
14 years ago

(1) One is apparent from babyhood; the other is not; Uh, OK. So it’s alright to be bigoted about inborn, harmless, and irrelevant traits as long as they are not apparent in an infant ? This seems to be a non sequitur. It’s like damning someone for being left-handed or having red hair (also things which aren’t apparent in babys 🙂 (2) For one there is legitimate nature/nurture discussion; for the other, there is not. If you mean to imply that a person can be “made gay” by their environment (and thus “made straight” by a different one), that’s certainly… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
14 years ago

That (1) is even true, is increasingly coming up for debate. See, for example, all the strains of research summarized over at The Boston Globe Magazine’s article “What Makes People Gay?” http://www.boston.com/news/globe/magazine/articles/2005/08/14/what_makes_people_gay/ One quote: From the moment they came out of their mother’s womb, their environment was about as close to identical as possible – being fed, changed, and plopped into their car seats the same way, having similar relationships with the same nurturing father and mother. Yet before either boy could talk, one showed highly feminine traits while the other appeared to be “all boy,” as the moms at… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
14 years ago

Further discussion on this thread must relate to the issue of racism or it will not be published.

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