Bishop of Liverpool Compares Modern Day Racism to Slave Trade

As Churches across Britain celebrated the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade, the Bishop of Liverpool has told worshippers at Liverpool Cathedral that the horrific murder of black teenager Anthony Walker was caused by the same racism which led to slavery.

At a service commemorating the abolition across the British Empire, the Rt Rev James Jones told the congregation of around 400 that racism is an evil force that "destroys and dehumanises".

The Christian community was left in shock in 2005 when Anthony Walker, 18, was attacked with an axe in Merseyside, Liverpool. Four months following the killing, two cousins, Michael Barton, 17, and Paul Taylor, 20, were convicted of Walker's murder.

Walker was youth leader at his local Evangelical Alliance church, and over the past two years, relatives of the deceased have received support and condolences from the Christian community. In an amazing act of compassion, Gee Walker, mother of Anthony, offered her forgiveness to her son's racist attackers.

Bishop Jones said at the weekend: "As I have immersed myself in the history of slavery, the more I believe that our racism is rooted in the dehumanising treatment of black people by white people during the slave trade."

Recalling the horrors of slavery, the Bishop of Liverpool read out a descriptive account of "jointing", a torturous process by which slaves were slowly hacked to death with an axe, until their body parts were thrown among other terrified slaves as a warning.

According to the BBC, Bishop Jones explained: "In this very cathedral 18 months ago we gathered to bid farewell to Anthony Walker, whose murder, also with an axe, was driven by the same brutal racism. That's why we need to repent and to keep on repenting, setting our faces against the racism that both destroys and dehumanises other people."

Liverpool, a city which hundreds of years ago took part in the slave trade, held a procession from Liverpool Cathedral to the Albert Docks, a spot from where slaves would have been shipped. Hundreds took part in commemorations across the city, offering their apologies and mourning as the atrocities of the slave trade were remembered.