Root out racism, churches urge

Published April 1, 1999

Black churches in the United Kingdom are urging the Archbishop of Canterbury, George Cary, to lead the way in rooting out racism from British society, following the release of the report on the inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence. The report stated that the investigation of Mr. Lawrence’s murder was “marred by a combination of professional incompetence, institutional racism and a failure of leadership by senior officers.” Released in February, the report outlines six instances of “unwitting racism” by police during the investigation, and provides more than 70 recommendations. “Leaders of the black community have been telling the Metropolitan Police for year s that racism within the force has to be addressed, so I am not surprised at the report’s (findings),” commented Rt. Rev. Tom Butler, Bishop of Southwark, in whose diocese the murder took place. “No institution, including the church, has so far done enough to combat racism,” he added. “This must change.”This is a golden opportunity for the Church of England to take the lead in combating racism, asserted participants at a meeting hosted by the Christian Council for Racial Justice. In a public statement after the report was released, Archbishop Carey said that changes are required to “hearts and minds, as well as to policies” in order to combat racism.


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