Church ‘has duty to tell the truth on refugees’, says Bishop of Leeds

THE BISHOP of Leeds has rejected claims that the Church of England is “anti-Conservative” after 84 senior clergy signed a letter criticising the Government’s response to the Syria refugee crisis.
Bishop of Leeds Nick BainesBishop of Leeds Nick Baines
Bishop of Leeds Nick Baines

Writing in The Yorkshire Post today, the Right Reverend Nick Baines - one of the co-signatories - said the bishops only chose to go public with the correspondence after waiting for five weeks for David Cameron to respond to the concerns.

He says the Church would be abdicating its responsibilities if it ducked “its prophetic vocation” .

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“The bishops agreed the letter to David Cameron some five weeks ago. It was kept private. We were promised a response. Is not five weeks quite a long time to wait, especially as we were told we would hear soon?” he writes.

“Secondly, we were clear that we are not against the Government, but responsible for asking the moral questions. To be portrayed (by some people who should know better) as anti-Conservative is wrong, lazy and ridiculous. Every government of every shade thinks the church is against them.

“Labour thought we were right wing; the Tories think we are all lefties. We just have to get used to the knee-jerk responses that this defensiveness provokes.

“The job of bishops is not to be popular or simply to go with the current, dominant flow – of culture or power – but to tell the truth...”

For more about the Bishop’s opinions, click here.