Bishop of Salisbury signs Brexit open letter

by Michael Ford last modified 03 Sep, 2019 03:04 PM

The Bishop of Salisbury is one of 25 Bishops who have signed an open letter that calls for "all voices in the Brexit debate to be heard."

Read the text here

The Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam says the Letter, which was written before the Prime Minister asked the Queen to suspend Parliament, "sets out some of what is involved in loving our neighbour in the present very testing circumstances."

Written in the light of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s conditional agreement to chair a Citizens Forum, the Letter says that the Bishops are "seeing the evidence of division in every part of England" and goes on to list a series of areas they are "deeply concerned about."

These include the "political polarisation and language that appears to sanction hate crime"; "the ease with which lies can be told and misrepresentation encouraged" and "the levels of fear, uncertainty and marginalisation in society."

The Bishops write:

"We hold different views about Brexit and how our country should proceed from here. However, although we agree that respecting a public vote is essential, democracy and committed debate do not end after the counting of votes."

Adding:

"Churches serve communities of every shape, size and complexion. We continue to serve, regardless of political persuasion. We invite politicians to pay attention with us to the concerns we register above and encourage a recovery of civil debate and reconciliation."

Commenting on the letter, Bishop Nicholas said:

"This crisis gives us both a moment of judgement and an opportunity. We urgently need to find new ways of talking with each other so as to seek the common good and live with our differences. That is why I welcome the Archbishop of Canterbury’s conditional agreement to chair a Citizens Forum. Christians seek to love God and love our neighbour.

"This joint letter sets out some of what is involved in loving our neighbour in the present very testing circumstances. We have to work with our political processes, take great care to tell the truth, care for the poor and listen to each other, especially to those who feel themselves to be marginalised."

Bishop Nicholas is a co-signatory with the other 24 Bishops, led by The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines.

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