Reverend says ‘woke’ priests like Welby are at odds with their congregations

LBC: Richard Turnbull and Camilla Tominey discuss 'woke' priests

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Speaking to LBC on Sunday, Reverend Dr Richard Turnbull told Camilla Tominey that a recent poll he had conducted showed the “disconnect” between churchgoers and Church leaders was “enormous” as he shared concerns that priests in Britain are becoming too “woke”. It follows comments made by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, at COP26 where he equated the slow response to climate change by politicians to ignoring the Nazis.

Illustrating the issue, the reverend noted how his poll revealed that church leaders believe, on the whole, that higher levels of taxation are a way of achieving a sharer society.

But he stressed how that is “not a view shared by those in the pew.”

He added how another disconnect was the view held by Church leaders as to whether business leaders “care for their employees”.

But Reverend Turnbull stressed this was yet again at odds with their congregation who believed they do care.

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As a result, Reverend Turnbull said: “What you find is being preached from the pulpit on a Sunday is not connected to the experience and the beliefs of those in the pews.”

The Reverend went on to draw on his poll further noting how 46 percent of Church leaders believe Britain is an “attractive place for business”. But among the faithful it was “66 percent”.

Ms Tominey interjected, saying: “How much blame should so-called ‘Woke Welby’, the Archbishop of Canterbury, carry here?”

She went on to note how Archbishop Welby has “courted criticism” through his decision to go on a Sabbatical during Covid and the comments made at COP26.

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Despite Justin Welby’s influence, Reverend Turnbull suggested that it was not necessarily an individual to blame for the shift in outlooks but rather a “wider narrative” which church leaders are buying into.

He said this “doesn’t actually reflect the views of the faithful or the general public”.

The reverend added: “It is a much wider buy in to a negativity about the market, a negativity about the economy and an over-reliance on the place of government.

“The assumption that government is the answer to all our problems.”

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The comments come as Justin Welby told the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg at the COP26 climate change conference earlier this month that people will speak of politicians “in far stronger terms than we speak today of the politicians of the 30s, of the politicians who ignored what was happening in Nazi Germany”.

He also said there would be a “curse” on leaders presiding over the climate crisis.

Following the Nazi comments, Mr Welby went on to tell Ms Kuennsberg this was “because this [climate change] will kill people all around the world for generations, and we have will have no means of averting it.”

But he later apologised, saying it was “never right to make comparisons with the atrocities brought by the Nazis” adding that he was “trying to emphasise the gravity of the situation facing us” with the comments.

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