No, the Church isn’t institutionally racist

Apr 22, 2021 by

by Calvin Robinson, spiked:

But it is in danger of becoming institutionally woke.

The BBC’s latest Panorama was called ‘Is the Church racist?’. But the entire programme was produced around the assumption that the question had already been answered: yes, it is. This, of course, isn’t helped by the fact that the Archbishop of Canterbury shares this assumption and has stated as much on public record at General Synod.

The problem is, the Church doesn’t really operate as a single institution. Each diocese has an incredible amount of autonomy. Bishops have responsibility for their diocese and the priests within them. So a few awful experiences shared by individuals throughout the documentary does not make the Church a racist institution.

The Church is made up of flawed individuals. We’re all fallen, after all. The issue the Church faces, however, isn’t institutional racism – it’s institutional incompetence. For instance, its complaints procedure isn’t just bad for issues of race, it’s bad in general. Any priest with experience of the Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM) – or any experience with safeguarding concerns – will attest to how outdated and cumbersome the process is. In the Church, you’re presumed guilty until proven innocent, often with no idea who has filed a complaint about you. There is plenty of work to be done on improving things within the Church for all people, not just for ethnic minorities.

In the BBC’s understanding of racism, clearly the perception of the victim counts for more than the intent of the perpetrator.

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