A Church of England bishop has warned that the former Archbishop of Canterbury’s call for new limits on immigration would “play into the hands of racists”, The Times reports.
The Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, the Right Rev John Packer, is the latest Anglican (Church of England) cleric to criticise Lord Carey of Clifton after he said in an article in The Times that he feared the present levels of immigration threatened “the very ethos or the DNA of our nation”.
Lord Carey is a member of the crossparty parliamentary group on balanced migration, which last week urged the political parties to make a commitment to keeping Britain’s population below 70 million.
Bishop Packer said: “I [do not] believe Lord Carey or the group are racist but their approach can play into what becomes a racist opposition to people who are not from a white, Anglo-Saxon background.
“The sorts of concerns they raise can lead to a lack of tolerance and welcome towards those seeking asylum. I believe we ought to have a culture of hospitality towards asylum-seekers.”
Asylum-seekers, in his experience, were genuinely avoiding persecution: “I think we often underestimate the dangers that people in other parts of the world are in.” He added that immigration was not the most important issue for those living on deprived housing estates and in other conditions of poverty, and he called for more policies on matters such as affordable housing and employment. He warned that the debate on race and immigration was in danger of detracting from such crucial concerns.
“There there are significant numbers of people in cities such as Leeds who are out of work,” he said. “That is where I would want to put the emphasis when challenging parties in the coming election.”
In his article Lord Carey cited the case of Dagenham, East London, where he was born and brought up, describing “a very real danger” that an alienated white, working-class electorate would vote for a BNP Member of Parliament.
Lord Carey said: “We play into the hands of the far Right if we do not seriously address the concerns that have led to some otherwise decent, hard-working people supporting modern- day fascism.”
The Bishop of Lincoln, John Saxbee, is among those who have also criticised him but the former Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, came out in his defence. He said: “Both he and the group are right that every country has limits to the numbers of new arrivals that it can accommodate. The UK, in particular, as a small country, cannot take an indefinite number of people.” He added: “Not only is there overcrowding, especially of metropolitan areas, but social, educational and medical services are placed under increasing strain and there is always the concern about jobs and housing for the indigenous population.”
Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, of Maidenhead synagogue, said that the subject “needs to be addressed by sensible people who can both separate facts from myths and approach it free from prejudice. Talking about immigration does not necessarily mean limiting it, while open debate may inform the prejudiced and the fearful why they actually benefit from its social and economic effects.”
The Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, was unavailable for comment.
Source: The Times
Lord Careys stance on immigration will come as a surprise to many, as the Christian church, with it’s roots in Judaism, has traditionally supported the migration of people.
The Church of England has spread throughout the world on the back of migration, sometimes enforced, and the majority of it’s active members now come from the developing world and African countries.
In the UK Anglicans have been replaced by Catholics as the leading christian group following a large influx of Poles and other Eastern European Catholics.