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Monday, 23 April 2012

Racism ruining Sentamu bid for leader of Anglican Church

Racism ruining Sentamu bid for leader of Anglican Church

By Isaac Imaka &agencies

Posted Monday, April 23 2012 at 00:00

Dr John Sentamu’s chances of taking over the Anglican Church’s top seat are dwindling by the day. Why? Colour. The early favourite to become the next Archbishop of Canterbury has become a victim of “naked racism” by critics who are trying to besmirch his name, one of his closest supporters has claimed. Although Dr Sentamu has on several occasions spoken against racism, a report by the Sunday Telegraph, one of Britain’s leading Newspapers, quotes two bishops- who spoke on condition of anonymity- citing Dr Sentamu’s African birth as an issue in the race to become the Archbishop of Canterbury. One likened Dr Sentamu’s temperament to that of an “African chief”.

 He said: “I think Sentamu is clearly going to be a very strong front-runner, although I think there are also the people who are not quite sure that he is suitable in terms of the way he behaves, because he is quite tribal and the African chief thing comes through. “My preferred candidate would be [the Bishop of] Norwich, who is very level-headed, sensible and would actually do the job well and has a lot more kind of stability. You wouldn’t know where you were with Sentamu, whereas you would with Norwich.”

Born in 1949 in Masooli near Kampala, Dr Sentamu, who is also the elder brother to Rubaga Miracle Centre’s Robert Kayanja, has spoken in the past about his experience of racism but stressed that any abuse came from outside the Church. But according to the Sunday Telegraph, the second bishop, who is retired, said Dr Sentamu had some “outrageous moments” which had been “balanced” out by Dr Rowan Williams. He added: “There is something in Sentamu which retains his African views and approach, which can be at one time an asset and another time, can be a problem.”

The retired bishop said Dr Sentamu’s African background was apparent in “his understanding around issues of human sexuality”. The Archbishop has opposed the UK government proposals for same-sex marriage. A former aide, who is about to become the Church’s director of communications, said there, was a “stark contrast” between the way Dr Sentamu was portrayed and the treatment of other bishops.

 “At its best, the besmirching of John Sentamu has revealed that strand of snobbery which views outsiders as lacking class, diplomacy or civility — in other words ‘not one of us,’” the Sunday Telegraph quoted the Rev. Arun Arora. The comments by Dr Sentamu’s former aide were published on Mr Arora’s blog on March 23, before his new appointment was announced.

“At worst, it has elicited the naked racism which still bubbles under the surface in our society, and which is exposed when a black man is in line to break the chains of history.” His allegation of an “anonymous whispering” campaign against Dr Sentamu has the potential to be hugely damaging to the Church. In 2000, he criticised police after an officer refused to justify stopping him and searching his car near St Paul’s Cathedral.