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Rev Jules Gomes: Welby Sahib’s post-colonial guilt patronises me because of my skin colour


I’m furious! I’m furious! Just because my skin has a higher percentage of melanin than my fellow-British Christian brothers and sisters, the Church of England has decided that I need a special bishop who will ‘reach out’ to me.

The Diocese of Leicester has petitioned the Queen for permission to create a new suffragan bishop of Loughborough who will promote diversity and drive cultural change. Yuk! The idea of this new episcopal white elephant is one of the most insulting, patronising and condescending “initiatives” from the C of E hierarchy as Captain Welby and his crew play musical chairs on board the sinking Titanic.

Why? First, this asinine idea panders to the virtue of victimhood. It assumes that people from so-called black and ethnic minorities are so miserably Godless, Christless, friendless, helpless and hopeless that we need an episcopal Saviour clad in purple and sporting a funny hat to deliver us from the damnation of our skin colour. Remember the days of white missionaries handing shining trinkets to the natives?

No, thank you very much, Welby Sahib! I don’t need another postcolonial foreign aid handout from you. Your white guilt doesn’t make me feel good. I am not a victim and don’t you dare call me one. I refuse to be labelled an ethnic minority—like a bird species about to fall extinct. I am a full member of British society and don’t you deny me that privilege.

I played God Save the Queen on my violin at the age of six, I grew up reading Enid Blyton and P G Wodehouse, I speak the Queen’s English, for my degree in English literature I read from Chaucer to Eliot, and I have a doctorate from the University of Cambridge—which was awarded to me based on merit and not on my skin colour. I find it bloody cheeky that you would try and push me into a racial ghetto where you want to define me based on what you and your fellow bishops assume is my ossified cultural identity as an immigrant from India.

Second, this dim-witted strategy only serves to entrench further the idea that Christianity is a Western religion. No, Archbishop Welby, it is not! Jesus was not an English Etonian who ‘reached out’ to benighted Asians and Africans. Forensic anthropology has confirmed that Jesus was a ‘dark and swarthy Middle Eastern man’ who ‘looked a great deal more like a darker-skinned Semite than westerners are used to seeing him pictured.’ Dear Welby Sahib, when we have a dark-skinned Jesus, what need have we for a bland, establishment-type manager who represents a decaying church steeped in corporatism and identity politics?

Third, Christians of Asian and African origin have planted their churches in Leicester and London for reasons that the head-in-the-sand hierarchy of the C of E simply does not recognise. It’s not simply because the C of E refused to give us ‘a warm welcome’ in the fifties and sixties, as Martyn Snow, Bishop of Leicester, points out. It is because most Asian and African Christians are conservative!

As a cleric, I meet scores of such Christians who feel alienated from the C of E not because it is ‘quintessentially English’—something which Bishop Martyn seems to be ashamed of—but because it is rabidly liberal and reeking of cultural Marxism. Ironically, one reason people of other cultures are drawn to the C of E is that it is ‘quintessentially English.’ Where in the world can one find such sublime transcendence than at Evensong with a boys’ choir singing Tallis or Byrd? Or the soaring prose of the Book of Common Prayer with its theology so eloquently phrased and so firmly anchored in the truths of biblical Christianity?

Fourth, there is virtually nothing people from diverse ethnic minorities share in common—except darker skin pigmentation—and that too in wildly varying degrees! My wife and I are mascots for this lack of commonality. She originates from Maharashtra, while my ancestry is Goan. Geographically, we are neighbours; culturally, we hate each other. Maharashtrians think the Goans are Indo-Portuguese bastards; our women are loose because they wear mini-skirts and our men are drunken layabouts. Goans despise Maharashtrians because we think they are arrogant, lazy, and uncultured.

Guess what unites us in marriage? A common bond in the gospel of Christ and a common love for English literature! She did her MPhil on William Faulkner (yes, yes, I know he’s American!). So how is Welby Sahib’s episcopal albatross of a Tamil (Tamils can’t stand each other because of caste differences) or Rwandan bishop in Leicester going to ‘reach out’ to us?

Oooh! And what about the Polish, Lithuanian and Romanian ethnic minorities? Don’t they qualify for this charity shop bishopric? Or are they not ethnic enough because they have less melanin in their epidermis? Are the C of E bishops doing theology or dermatology?

So what’s Welby’s hidden agenda? The bishops are desperate to have fresh bums on rotting pews. They’ve done everything possible to lure in the white bums—dumbed-down Messy Church, circus-like Family Services, ‘wimmin’ vicars with pudding basin haircuts—they have tried every brand of tomfoolery. The fish are not biting. Just down the road, the black church is full. The Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar, which is technically in full communion with the C of E, quietly ignores the organ-grinding Anglican monkeys and goes ahead full-steam planting new and thriving churches full of bright doctors, nurses and computer programmers from Kerala. They don’t need the C of E! The C of E needs them!

Bishop Martyn sheepishly admits to this catastrophic failure. ‘The majority of people going to Anglican churches are white British, while there are more than 100 BAME churches, mostly neo-Pentecostalist,’ he says. But while he denies that the bishopric is being created with a view to poaching black and brown bums, he is forced to admit that ‘we’re not actively doing that, but if people approach us they will get a very warm welcome’—Anglican-speak for we’re desperate for new members!

This was precisely one of the reasons given for ordaining women. If only we ordain hordes of priestesses, multitudes of women will flock to our churches. This is exactly one of the reasons behind the pansexual agenda. If only we have gay bishops, lesbian bishopettes, and transgender archdeacons, masses of LGBTIQ people will flood the church and halt the decline and death of the pale, stale and female C of E. So how about creating a bishop for white people? After all, the Diocese of Chichester has just appointed the Rural Dean of Brighton (where else?) as the first Bishop’s Liaison Officer for the LGBTI community.

But the dark and dirty secret is that the C of E does not want to appoint more black and brown bishops to already existing bishoprics. Why? Because most Christians of Asian and African origin stubbornly refuse to genuflect at the altar of the new pansexual agenda, which is now the true religion of the C of E. They just won’t feature in the secret X-files of the archbishops’ secretary Caroline Boddington, who according to a senior Anglican clergyman, is well known to be a ‘corporate type’ intent on feminising and liberalising the C of E in her image and likeness.

The new bishopric will not draw a single BAME church into the C of E. It stinks of racism! Martin Luther King Jr defined racism as a ‘doctrine of the congenital inferiority and worthlessness of a people.’ When you treat some Christians as victims, who, based on skin pigmentation, need to be ghettoised and patronised as needing a form of Christian leadership that is already available to everyone, the C of E is furthering the racism it claims to be eliminating.

The new bishopric will be not only racist but also profoundly divisive. St Paul would be excoriating in his condemnation of the Diocese of Leicester’s new policy. Surely he was not wasting his time reprimanding the churches in Galatia and Colossae not to divide the church on the basis of identity politics? Because, as he wrote, there is ‘neither Jew or Greek, slave or free, circumcised or uncircumcised, male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus!’

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‘Rebel Priest’ Rev Jules Gomes
‘Rebel Priest’ Rev Jules Gomes
The Rev’d Dr Jules Gomes, BA, BD, MTh, PhD (Cantab) is a journalist and academic.

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