Updated yet again Tuesday
There have been numerous news reports and comment articles in both mainstream and social media concerning a tweet posted last Wednesday.
On Thursday the Church Times reported this story under the headline Cleric apologises for ‘White Nationalism’ remark.
A LONDON clergyman, the Revd Jarel Robinson-Brown, has apologised for posting on social media that the clap for Captain Sir Tom Moore, who died this week, was linked with “White British Nationalism”.
His post on Twitter — “The cult of Captain Tom is a cult of White British Nationalism. I will offer prayers for the repose of his kind and generous soul, but I will not be joining the ‘National Clap'” — was interpreted as a criticism of the man himself. It was quickly taken down, and Mr Robinson-Brown posted an apology in its place: “I offer an unreserved apology for the insensitive timing and content of my tweet regarding the clap for Captain Tom.”
A statement by the diocese of London said that the matter was being reviewed by the Archdeacon of London, the Ven. Luke Miller. “As a Church, we expect clergy to ensure that all online activity is in line with the Church of England’s social media guidelines and built on truth, kindness and sensitivity to others.”.
The Diocese of London statement can be found here: A statement from the Diocese of London regarding Jarel Robinson-Brown and reads in full as follows:
Jarel Robinson-Brown’s comments regarding Captain Sir Tom Moore were unacceptable, insensitive, and ill-judged. The fact that he immediately removed his tweet and subsequently apologised does not undo the hurt he has caused, not least to Captain Tom’s family. Nor do Jarel’s actions justify the racist abuse he is now receiving.
A review is now underway, led by the Archdeacon of London. As a Church, we expect clergy to ensure that all online activity is in line with the Church of England’s social media guidelines and built on truth, kindness and sensitivity to others. It is incumbent upon all of us to make social media and the web more widely positive places for conversations to happen.
A subsequent report appeared on Saturday in the Church Times: Support grows for Jarel Robinson-Brown.
A GROWING number of churchpeople have voiced their support for the Revd Jarel Robinson-Brown, the Black ordinand and former Methodist minister, whose Twitter post last week was widely interpreted as an attack on Captain Sir Tom Moore, who died on Tuesday…
..Mr Robinson-Brown’s post was quickly taken down, and an apology from him was posted in its place: “I offer an unreserved apology for the insensitive timing and content of my tweet regarding the clap for Captain Tom.”
A petition was none the less started for his removal from office (he has not yet been licensed, but has secured a title post at All Hallows by the Tower, London). By the weekend it had gained more than 20,000 signatures. Many of the signatories referred to Mr Robinson-Brown’s race, with comments such as “Racism is a one way street according to some. When a white person is accused of racist tendencies they are rightly called out and vilified. When a BAME person does the same it seems to be their right to do so based on the wrongdoings from generations ago.”
Racist trolling has been one trigger for expressions of support for Mr Robinson-Brown. Another has been the statement put out by the diocese of London, which read: “Jarel Robinson-Brown’s comments regarding Captain Sir Tom Moore were unacceptable, insensitive, and ill-judged. The fact that he immediately removed his tweet and subsequently apologised does not undo the hurt he has caused, not least to Captain Tom’s family.”
Many social-media posts have viewed this as undermining Mr Robinson-Brown’s apology — “throwing him under a bus” has been a common expression — as was the announcement that the Archdeacon of London, the Ven. Luke Miller, was to conduct an investigation into the matter…
On Sunday afternoon, a second statement was issued from the Diocese of London: Statement from the Bishop of London regarding Jarel Robinson-Brown
“After Jarel Robinson-Brown posted his now-deleted tweet last Wednesday, my primary concern has been to ensure that he received immediate pastoral support in the face of the most appalling racist and homophobic abuse, aimed at him and at others. I am particularly thankful for the ongoing care that was quickly put in place, through so many different routes.
“I believe it is right that the original matter is reviewed properly and swiftly by the Archdeacon of London, to enable us all to reflect and learn, and that work is taking place. I also believe, and have made clear to Jarel, that there is no excuse for anyone to be sent the shocking messages he has been receiving. Jarel did of course quickly acknowledge that his tweet was ill-timed and pastorally-insensitive.
“I am deeply concerned to hear reports within the Church that United Kingdom Minority Ethnic clergy and ordinands have been affected by recent events, and by the Diocese’s response. I want to ensure that in London, and right across the Church of England, our clergy and those training for ministry feel safe. I look forward to the report of the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Task Force launched last year, and the work of the Archbishops’ Commission that will follow, which I know will help to achieve this shared end.
“Any form of online abuse, including racism, homophobia and threatening behaviour, cannot be tolerated. I sincerely hope that those perpetuating it will desist and consider the hurt they are causing. We must all work to ensure the digital world becomes a more loving and generous place.”
The Rt Revd & Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally
Bishop of London
The Church Times has reported further: Racist attacks on Jarel Robinson-Brown ‘appalling’, says Bishop of London.
The Diocese of London issued this Response to the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce.
The Church Times has again reported this development: London diocese will look at its own actions in Jarel Robinson-Brown review.