IN A recent interview with the Italian newspaper la Repubblica, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, warned of the ‘huge threat to the Church of England’ of cancel culture.
It might come as a surprise to His Grace that some Anglicans think the threat lies with his tenure at the helm of a sinking ship that once was the national church. Anybody who imagined that attending a Church of England service would be a chance for quiet reflection or spiritual solace would be sorely disabused: they are in fact harbouring repellent racist thoughts they didn’t know they had. The Church was involved in racist practices in the past and the sins of the fathers must be atoned for by self-flagellation at the altar of collective and imperial guilt in the present.
Apparently, the increase of minority ethnic clergy in the Church is painfully slow and this must be remedied by the imposition of quotas together with plans to roll out anti-racism training and the ‘contextualisation of statutes’.
The fault of all this lies of course with those aging, bigoted, crusty, monochrome members of the church. Those who turn up every Sunday and other days, having voluntarily cleaned the building, arranged the flowers, rung the bells, read the lesson, served the tea and biscuits, given lifts and devised and delivered the parish mag in all weathers. Belittled and scorned for serving their community with humility and kindness, they may be forgiven for wondering what on earth they have done to deserve such a barrage of hostility and condemnation.
The anti-racist campaigner Chine McDonald is part of it. In a panegyric in the Church Times last July last year to Dr Elizabeth Henry, who departed her role after seven years as National Adviser for Minority-Ethnic Anglican Concerns ‘feeling frustrated and troubled’ and berating the Church regarding its ‘willingness in principle but not in practice to tackle racism’, Ms McDonald insists that the Church remains ‘steeped in white supremacy’ by which she means the ‘pervasive yet often subconscious idea that whiteness is better or best’. She cites the Rev Azariah France-Williams who asserts in his book Ghost Ship: Institutional racism and the Church of England: ‘Unless the status attributed to being white is examined, the white historic Church will continue to both consciously and unconsciously limit the voice, action, and influence of her non-white members . . . Critical whiteness studies are a tool to prise open the sealed can of white male dominance expressed in Synod, theological colleges, and churches.’
That just about takes the communion wafer. Some of us have had enough. Instead of promoting this country as an open, tolerant and democratic society, the Archbishop and his colleagues are presiding over a church in its death throes. Supine before the forces of a minority of myopic and divisive far-Left activists within the Church, they have cancelled those many disaffected Anglicans, mystified by a sustained barrage of unwarranted recriminations, who have left the church they once loved and now feel they have no spiritual home.