Skip to comments.The way to empty pews
Posted on 08/29/2005 5:07:35 PM PDT by sionnsar
The Church of England is "institutionally racist", according to the archbishop-designate of York, Dr John Sentamu. That would be awful were it true. Fortunately, it is not. The Ugandan-born Dr Sentamu is reviving a term coined by the Stephen Lawrence inquiry (of which he was a member) and applying it to a body that does not merit it. That is depressing - and a clue as to why the Church often seems distracted from its mission of evangelism.
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". (Interestingly, it is the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, rather than the Church of England, that represents the ne plus ultra of political correctness in this regard.) In most cases, the exercises have been worse than useless: instead of rooting out racism, they have succeeded only in imposing an awkward racial etiquette on Christians.
St Paul observed that, in Christ, there is neither Jew nor Greek. He might have added that nor are there black or white archbishops, merely good and bad ones. And the good ones do not waste time and money trying to slay the non-existent dragon of Christian institutional racism; that way lie empty pews.
[Hat tip to titusonenine --sionnsar]
By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent
The Church of England is infected with institutional racism and is still a place of "pain" for many black Anglicans, according to its first black archbishop.
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.
Though a long-term critic of the Church's "monochrome" white culture, his comments will now carry far more weight as he is soon to be enthroned as the second most senior cleric in the hierarchy.
They signal his intention to place racism at the heart of his agenda in office and will reopen soul-searching over one of the Church's most sensitive issues.
Another black bishop, the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, complained of racism when an unnamed cleric dubbed him a "Paki papist" while the Church was selecting a successor to Dr George Carey at Canterbury in 2002.
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."
He referred to his role as a member of the Macpherson Inquiry into the death of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence, which branded the Metropolitan police as "institutionally racist."
Quoting the inquiry report, he said that institutional racism persisted in organisations because of their failure "openly and adequately to recognise and address its existence and causes by policy, example and leadership". The archbishop-elect, whose promotion was announced in June, said that institutional racism was found in all the Churches to some degree.
He added, however, that there were signs of encouragement for the future, and various anti-racism programmes had been effective.
The former Ugandan high court judge who fled the regime of Idi Amin to become Bishop of Birmingham has been an outspoken scourge of racism for decades.
In 2000, while Bishop of Stepney, he complained bitterly of being stopped and searched outside St Paul's cathedral by a police officer who did not spot his clerical collar under his scarf.
He first accused the Church of institutional racism the previous year, when he said in a General Synod on the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry report that the Church suffered from many of the same sins as the police.
The then Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Dr George and Dr David Hope respectively, subsequently attended a "racism-awareness course".
"I'm not about to bow down to an African American idol..."
Nothing about African-Americans in this article. Not all black people are Americans, you know. Do you see how this insidious political correctness manages to creep into our everyday speech without us even realizing it?
He is a Black man. Can't you tell by the way he talks?
We had a Black Bishop in the Catholic church across the street from our ECUSA congregation, and he was held up high because of his colour -- and then a young woman appeared on all the talk shows with the Bishop's illegitimate baby, and that was the end of him.
I'm tired of people bowing down to them.
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