Archbishop speaks on freedom of expression, religious intolerance and prejudice in the UK

On 17th October 2018 the House of Lords debated a motion from Communities Minister Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, “That this House takes note of the challenges posed by religious intolerance and prejudice in the United Kingdom.” The Archbishop of Canerbury, Most Revd Justin Welby, spoke in the debate. A transcript is below, with excerpts from the speeches of others in the debate:
The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Bourne, and others who have made this useful and important debate possible. Like the noble Lord, Lord Hain, I agree with much of what the noble Lord, Lord Bourne, said. I agree also with the passionate and clear setting out by the noble Lord, Lord Hain, of the threats and incidents that have occurred in recent years. However, I want to focus more on religious intolerance and prejudice. If I have one concern, it is how we bring together religious tolerance, and stand against the kind of things the noble Lord, Lord Hain, spoke about, while maintaining freedom of speech.
In his book, The Home We Build Together, the noble Lord, Lord Sacks, wrote:
“Society is not a house or a hotel. It should be a home”.
The rising tide of anti-Semitism, with which I am deeply familiar through work with the Chief Rabbi, and Islamophobia, which we in the Church are deeply familiar with through working with Muslim leaders across the country, are just two illustrations of the narrowing of those who feel truly at home in the UK today. This terrible, storm-ridden climate is affecting people across a whole range of religious traditions.

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Bishop of Leeds responds to Government statement on Brexit negotiations

Leeds0518On 15th October 2018 Baroness Evans of Bowes Park repeated a Statement that had previously been made by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons on Brexit negotiations. The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, responded to the Statement:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, the question I have is not political, it is phenomenological. The statement:

“We cannot let this disagreement derail the prospects of a good deal and leave us with a no-deal outcome that no one wants”,

is a statement of unreality. It is clear that there are people, even within the Cabinet, who would be very happy with a no-deal outcome. I wonder if the Minister could comment.

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Bishop of London asks Government about purposeful activity for prisoners, and role of chaplaincy in rehabilitation

On 15th October 2018 the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, asked a question she had tabled to Government on prisons. Her follow up question and those of other Members is reproduced below:

The Lord Bishop of London: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they plan to ensure that every prisoner can participate in purposeful activity during their sentence.

 Lord Keen of Elie: My Lords, the introduction of offender management in custody and the associated staffing means that prisons will be better equipped to run fuller regimes with more opportunities for purposeful activity. Our education and employment strategy, launched in May, will create a system where prisoners are on a path to employment through increased opportunities to gain experience of work in communities while released on temporary licence

The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his response. In Prisons Week, does he accept that continuous efforts must be made to ensure that our prisons are places of safety for those serving their sentences, and are places of hope for those who intend to avoid reoffending once released? Although I welcome the constructive use of additional staff through the promising new offender management in custody scheme, I invite the Minister to acknowledge the important role that chaplaincies, community chaplaincies, charities and churches can play in the rehabilitation of offenders. Continue reading “Bishop of London asks Government about purposeful activity for prisoners, and role of chaplaincy in rehabilitation”

Bishop of Leeds asks about religious literacy in processing asylum claims

Leeds0518cOn 15th October 2018 Baroness Berridge asked Her Majesty’s Government ‘what plans they have to improve the assessment by the Home Office of asylum applications made on the grounds of religious or belief based persecution.’ The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, asked a follow up question:

The Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, before training is rolled out, will some religious leaders in this country be consulted on what sort of training might be appropriate, and the sort of questions that may be asked of asylum seekers? At the moment, I should be hard-pressed to answer some of them. Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds asks about religious literacy in processing asylum claims”

Church Commissioners Written Answer: leaseholds within precincts of Salisbury Cathedral

On 15th October 2018 the Second Church Estates Commissioner Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP answered a written question from Sir Desmond Swayne MP on leaseholds within the precincts of Salisbury Cathedral:

Sir Desmond Swayne (New Forest West): To ask the Honourable Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what the policy of the Commissioners is on renewal of leaseholds within the precincts of Salisbury Cathedral; and if she will make a statement. Continue reading “Church Commissioners Written Answer: leaseholds within precincts of Salisbury Cathedral”

Bishop of Durham asks about food, health and political security in Burundi.

On 15th October 2018 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer to a question on Burundi:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are their latest assessments of (1) food, (2) health, and (3) political, security in Burundi. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about food, health and political security in Burundi.”

Church Commissioners Written Answer: diversity in church leadership

On 15th October 2018 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question from Stephen Doughty MP on diversity in leadership positions in the church:

Stephen Doughty(Cardiff South and Penarth): To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps are being taken to promote greater diversity by (a) gender (b) ethnicity and (c) sexual orientation in leadership positions within the Church. Continue reading “Church Commissioners Written Answer: diversity in church leadership”