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Bishop of Salisbury joins the plea that “all voices in the Brexit debate be heard”

Bishop of Salisbury Rt Revd Nicholas HoltamBishop of Salisbury Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam 

 

The Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, is one of twenty five Bishops who yesterday, August 28, signed an open letter that calls for “all voices in the Brexit debate to be heard.”

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.”

They add: “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 neighbours.”

“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 twenty four Bishops, led by The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines

 

 

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