Archbishop Of York: Government Must Not 'Scapegoat' Migrants For Failures In Housing And Jobs

Reuters

The Archbishop of York has warned the UK not to be "senile" in its attitude to free movement and migration.

Rt Rev John Sentamu told Christian Today Brits were in danger of forgetting migrants' role in its history and urged ministers not to "scapegoat" foreigners for the government's own failure to create housing and jobs.

"The whole question has got be for people who look at migration as the most terrible thing that has happened to this country," he said. "Most won't remember that a lot of people in this country are mongrels."

He told Christian Today: "People are forgetting memory. Once memory has gone, people become senile," he said.

"This country survived the second world war by a lot of Commonwealth soldiers actually fighting to defend the crown. People forget that very easily because we are living in a period of peace."

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Sentamu was speaking at the launch of his new book Agape Love Stories in York on Thursday. It features "22 stories of God's love changing people's lives today". Sentamu said the book was part of the Church's response to the UK's political climate after Brexit and Trump's victory in the US Election.

"This book is saying love is stronger than hate, life is stronger than death, and resurrection is stronger than sin. The message there is absolutely wonderful."

He added: "The rediscovery of that kind of love which we see really in the birth of Jesus, in his life and ministry and ultimately dying for us and then rising us again says love will win."

The second most powerful cleric in the Church of England said before the referendum he would vote to remain. But despite every senior bishop declaring they would vote remain, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, 58 per cent of Christians backed Brexit.

Sentamu urged ministers not to blame migrants for their own failures.

"We have got to be slightly more careful if jobs are not in some places, if housing is pretty bad, we must not scapegoat the stranger as the ones responsible." He added it was a matter for "government and policy".

Turning to Trump's administration, Sentamu warned him "the public have a memory". He said if the President-elect did not follow through with his promises, which Sentamu described as "horrendous", they will "come back and haunt him".

He said: "He has got to remember when you made a lot of, some of them very outrageous, promises, you have got to carry them out. If you don't, the electorate won't forget."

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