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.

Continue reading “Archbishop speaks on freedom of expression, religious intolerance and prejudice in the UK”

Bishop of Birmingham affirms commitment of bishops to oppose antisemitism, adopt IHRA definition and its examples

On 13th September 2018 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Popat, “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what actions they are taking to reassure the Jewish community over the impact of anti-Semitism in the United Kingdom.” The Bishop of Birmingham, Rt Revd David Urquhart, spoke:

The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, as we have heard, there is a need for constant vigilance to ensure that antisemitism plays no part in the life of our country. To continue its determination in this aim, the College of Bishops of the Church of England, building on 75 years of friendship marked by the founding of the Council of Christians and Jews, has adopted and adhered to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism, including all examples without qualification or exception. This is in the context of our conviction, which I trust will be affirmed today by Her Majesty’s Government, that anyone involved in political, spiritual or national life should reject all language and activity that leads to prejudice, stigma or hatred towards people on the grounds of their religion, culture, origins, identity or beliefs. This includes issues related to those we are discussing today, such as Islamophobia. Continue reading “Bishop of Birmingham affirms commitment of bishops to oppose antisemitism, adopt IHRA definition and its examples”

Church Commissioner Questions – Christian persecution, church buildings, anti-Semitism, Christmas campaign

On 24th November 2016 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered questions from MPs on the persecution of Christians overseas, the Red Wednesday campaign, church buildings, anti-Semitism and the Church’s Christmas campaign: 

Caroline SpelmanChurch Commissioners. The right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked—

Persecution of Christians

Henry Smith (Crawley) (Con):

What recent representations the Church of England has received on the persecution of Christians overseas. [907442]

The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Dame Caroline Spelman): The Church of England remains concerned about a number of religious minorities across the world, not just Christian ones. Recently, the Lord Bishop of Coventry travelled to northern Iraq to visit the Christians in Mosul because it is clear that questions remain about their continued safety and the need to make their homes and businesses safe if they are to sustain themselves there. Continue reading “Church Commissioner Questions – Christian persecution, church buildings, anti-Semitism, Christmas campaign”

Church Commissioners written answer: anti-Semitism

On 24th November 2016 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question from Karl McCartney MP on the action the church is taking to combat anti-Semitism: Continue reading “Church Commissioners written answer: anti-Semitism”

Bishop of Winchester calls for universities to confront and combat anti-Semitism

On 27th October 2016 the House of Lords held a short debate on a question from Baroness Deech, “to ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they propose to take to combat anti-Semitism, in particular in universities.” The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, spoke in the debate:

Bishop of WinchesterThe Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, I also thank the noble Baroness, Lady Deech, for initiating this debate.

Despite there being Jewish societies in over 60 universities, a study in 2011 found that half of all Jewish students in the UK attend only eight universities. Safety in numbers seems to be key, as Nottingham, Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester all boast Jewish societies with over 1,000 members. None the less, we know that Jewish staff and students experience anti-Semitism in a significant number of higher education institutions today. As the recent Universities UK task force report on hate crime makes clear, anti-Semitism is a practice for which there is no place in universities, nor in the Church or society at large. Continue reading “Bishop of Winchester calls for universities to confront and combat anti-Semitism”