Tag Archives: Archbishop of York

Let’s renew the vision for unity and inclusion we need

This is the text of a Joint Statement from Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury and Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York:

 “The European Parliamentary and local elections on June 4th will take place at a time of extraordinary turbulence in our democratic system. It is a time for great vigilance over how to exercise our democratic right to vote. The temptation to stay away or register a protest vote in order to send a negative signal to the parties represented at Westminster will be strong. In our view, however, it would be tragic if the understandable sense of anger and disillusionment with some MPs over recent revelations led voters to shun the ballot box. Those whom we elect to local councils and the European Parliament will represent us and our collective interests for many years to come. It is crucial to elect those who wish to uphold the democratic values and who wish to work for the common good in a spirit of public service which urgently needs to be reaffirmed in these difficult days. There are those who would exploit the present situation to advance views that are the very opposite of the values of justice, compassion and human dignity are rooted in our Christian heritage. Christians have been deeply disturbed by the conscious adoption by the BNPof the language of our faith when the effect of those policies is not to promote those values but to foster fear and division within communities, especially between people of different faiths or racial background. This is not a moment for voting in favour of any political party whose core ideology is about sowing division in our communities and hostility on grounds of race, creed or colour; it is an opportunity for renewing the vision of a community united by mutual respect, high ethical standards and the pursuit of justice and peace. We hope that electors will use their vote on June 4th to renew the vision of a community united by the common good, public service and the pursuit of justice.

They are so right. My previous post at https://unfinishedchristian.wordpress.com/2009/04/07/the-bnpwhat-would-jesus-do/#comment-169 has proved to me the most viewed and commented on so I guess this has stirred up emotions on all sides about free speech, democracy, racism, hate and unity. I hope you are encouraged to do the right thing and support unity, diversity and justice.

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Cry God for Sentamu, England and St George?

st-georgeToday is St George’s Day and earlier this year The Archbishop of York ,Ugandan-born Dr Sentamu, called  for a stronger focus on St George’s Day in response to the past association of  England’s patron saint and the national flag of St George with racists and the Far Right.Dr Sentamu  said that failure to support an English cultural identity could create a ‘twisted vision’ which could be exploited by firebrand politicians and Islamic extremists. The revival of interest in St George has been boosted in recent years by devolution in Scotland and Wales, and through widespread use of England’s national flag, the Cross of St George, by fans of the national football team.

The Archbishop added; ‘Has the time come to make the feast of St George, the patron saint of England, a public holiday?’Whether it be the terror of Salafi-jihadism (the radical Islamic doctrine behind Al Qaeda) or the insidious institutional racism of the British National Party, there are those who stand ready to fill the vacuum with a sanitised identity and twisted vision if the silent majority are reticent in holding back from forging a new identity.’Englishness is not diminished by newcomers who each bring with them a new strand to England’s fabric – rather Englishness is emboldened to grow anew.The truth is that an all-embracing England, confident and hopeful in its own identity, is something to celebrate. Let us acknowledge and enjoy what we are.”

Musician and political activist Billy Bragghas also called for the nation to the cross of St George and take pride in being English, and believes very much that St George’s Day offers a unique opportunity for people from all backgrounds and beliefs to come together and celebrate the things that make England great. His 2002 CD England, half English featured a number of songs based on the concept of multi-faith, multi-cultural Englishness. One of my favourites comes from the album’s title track;

“Britannia, she’s half English, she speaks Latin at home. St George was born in the Lebanon, how he got here I don’t know. And those three lions on your shirt. They never sprang from England’s dirt them lions are half English and I’m half English too.”

For more on St George go to http://www.royalsocietyofstgeorge.com/historyofstgeorge.htm

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Filed under Archbishop of York, Church of England, religion, Saints, St George