BBC Panorama smears the Church of England as ‘racist’

Apr 20, 2021 by

by Archbishop Cranmer:

‘Is the Church racist?’, asked the BBC’s Panorama yesterday evening, as reporter Clive Myrie interviewed a few minority-ethnic clergy who have experienced some awful abuse at the hands (or from the mouths) of other members of the clergy, or from fellow ordinands, or from their theological tutors, or from a few of those who sit in the pews week by week. And so the Church of England was bludgeoned with its decades of “broken promises on race and racism”, with the BBC trumpeting to the nation that black and Asian and other minority-ethnic clergy are forced to pretend that everything is okay; that there’s a “culture of fear” about complaining, and that black and brown-skinned clergy feel “invisible” and “powerless” in an institution plagued by racism and well-meaning white supremacy.

Some of the experiences recounted were truly awful, and some of them were told with tears and trembling. When a bishop draws attention to a priest’s ethnicity and uses it to question their ability to express the gospel clearly, and even to speak the truth, then yes, there is racism. When an ethnic-minority ordinand is told to “turn the other cheek” after being abused by a white ordinand, it is indeed devastating and isolating, if not crass and insensitive. When a trainee vicar is told by his senior that he is “too Brazilian” and that “people of your kind, of your colour, are not clever enough”, then yes, there is a very ugly undercurrent of racism.

And when a young black man receives a picture of a banana with his head superimposed upon it, and beneath it is written ‘Banana Man’, and he makes a formal complaint against the person who sent it, and his HR Department determined that it wasn’t racist, then yes, there is not only racism, but an astonishing ignorance of racism.

And when this man finally settled his case but was forced to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement, there is something very rotten indeed. No-one in the Church should be awarded compensation contingent on their signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement, except in truly exceptional circumstances. You’d think, in the Church, that truth, transparency and humility might trump abuse, obfuscation and secrecy.

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