Wednesday, 11 October 2017

All the BBC wanted was "Happy Birthday!

Having been invited to sing 'Happy Birthday' on the sixtieth birthday of the BBC,  Archbishop Justin Welby managed to provide a fair bit of attention by failing to notice the inflammable material scattered all around him as he lit the candles (or should that be 'blue touch paper'?).

As one who is a master of the fine art of Logopodeia (that's 'foot in mouth' disease) I can but applaud Justin's actions as he addressed the BBC's institutional failures and called on it to have some integrity. Would that he had remembered the advice given to people in glasshouses regarding stone-throwing as many consider the birthday advice to be deep and damaging hypocrisy.

Helping the BBC to get a feel for what was needed, Justin paraded the integrity he obviously feels that the C of E and RC churches has shown with their own child abuse scandals - and this was not a good move at all! The Gibb report (An Abuse of Faith) is a good start, but that's all it is and whilst witch-hunts are never good, neither is the token offering of eighty-one pages of report wrapped around with an (according to some who have engaged me) hollow mea culpa!

There\s too many people out there with horror stories and untreated wounds inflicted on them by people in church leadership. The 'long shadow' spoken of by Dame Moira Gibb is still evident and the 'dark area' which Justin considered the BBC to be surely exists in the same shadow.

Justin, speaking for the C of E as he does, has surely opened a challenging can of worms here. Unless he wishes to own the accusations of engaging in “breathtaking hypocrisy”  he needs to deal with the abuse survivors have hurled at him (and the church he leads) by being seen to be doing it right. I for one trust the bloke to be that man and look forward to seeing where this debacle takes him, and us, his brothers and sisters in Christ.

Meanwhile, elsewhere, a radio interview with one of those who have be subjected to abuse in a church setting spoke of the, “Evasion, denial and silence that those claiming abuse had been met with”. A man who stopped me outside of our town centre church asked my opinion on the sacking of George Carey (a former archbishop of Canterbury) as a result of the Gibb Report. His view was that it was an 'easy hit' and that many of those wearing dog-collars (and purple shirts) were equally, or even more, culpable and yet were hidden within the protection the C of E. Whether this is a true assessment of the situation, time alone will tell.

Just read the book and apply it!
So a few pleas:

i.    Please stop beating Justin up - he was doing his job when he spoke regarding the BBC's shadow.

ii.   Please pray for Justin - and all in ministry - that we would act wisely and deal with abuse
      wheresoever we find it.

iii.   Ensure that your church engages in a robust (yet not oppressive) safeguarding practice. We not
        only have an organisational duty of care but we have a personal biblical call to protect those in
        our congregations and beyond.

iv.   Take the time to get yourself trained up so that you can have a basic awareness of safeguarding:
       You can do this through the C of E Safeguarding portal - which you'll find @


1 comment:

UKViewer said...

He was right about the BBC and the Culture of Silence. We are seeing just the same sort of thing in the Entertainment industry where Mr Weinstein was known for his abuse of young women, but a conspiracy of silence was maintained through fear of the career consequences for the women concerned.

The Church has had to reassess cases going back many years, but has put it's hand up and admitted the past deficiences in it's handling of abuse cases and is trying hard to overcome the fallout. There might well be more, before the end. The Public inquiry is now underway and who knows what further revelations will arise from that.
When we look in the mirror, what sort of reflection do we see? A penitent church, hopefully, striving to do better for past victims and for preventing future victims.

Safeguarding training is key, as is people taking responsibility for it - I pray that will do our bit in this area.