Welby’s bid to placate statue topplers could backfire

Jul 10, 2020 by

by Daniel French, Spectator:

m a Church of England vicar and I’m worried about the Archbishop of Canterbury’s planned review of statues and monuments. The church, we have been told, hopes to ‘play a leading role’ in facilitating ‘meaningful dialogue’ and apply ‘justice’ with ‘real outcomes’ in assessing statues. But what does this mean for churches like mine?

Anglicanism prides itself on being a highbrow form of Christianity. It operates in subtleties and niceties. In Anglican-speak, the expectation is that a ‘review’ is a modest bureaucratic exercise where a few monuments are quietly mothballed into vestries and some ethnically diverse depictions of Christ commissioned. If so, there is little to worry about. But will that be enough for the statue topplers?

I’m not convinced. Instead, I fear that unguarded comments from the church’s senior figures could give those who don’t care about Anglican congeniality and ecclesiastical procedures the green light to take matters into their own hands. Angry iconoclasts rushing into your local church at the end of a demo might not locate an offensive statue but they will probably find plenty white versions of Jesus. In one of my churches I found eighteen! Who’s to say that some won’t be offended by such depictions? If this kicks off then vicars and vergers are on their own as current news footage points to a slow police response.

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