Church of England leaders increasingly embracing 'ultra-progressive values' - report

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Church of England leaders are increasingly taking on the mantras of the radical Left about "systemic racism" or "alarmist calls for a climate emergency", a new report from religion think tank Civitas claims.

The report, titled 'Rotting from the Head: Radical Progressive Activism and the Church of England', says the political trend among the clergy has "impacted the spirit and ideals of the Church's mission".

The three Civitas researchers behind the report, Jim McConalogue, Rachel Neal and Jack Harris, found that "some measurement could be made of clergy-adopted progressivist values within each diocese".

The researchers found that 70 per cent of the CofE's 42 dioceses have appointed clergy who "promote climate activist warnings".

Over half of all declarations from the clergy promoting climate activist warnings occurred within 12 months after the CofE hierarchy urged support for climate protests during Holy Week in 2019, they noted.

They also found that 87 per cent of claims by clergy of "systemic or institutional racism" occurred within the first six months of the UK racial justice campaigns in May 2020 following the Black Lives Matter protests in the United States.

Civitas trustee and practising Anglican, Tom Harris, argues in his foreword to the report that this "complete departure from the Church's central purpose risks making it unrecognisable to the grass roots members who support it".

The trend toward progressive activism in the CofE leadership "marks a separation of the head from the body that is becoming alarmingly recognisable in so many of our national institutions", he writes.

Elsewhere, he says, "The result is a Church losing its ability to minister at local level because it is making expensive appointments at diocesan level while closing local parish churches and making vicars redundant.

"The focus on racism sits awkwardly with its apparent silence on things which a truly caring Christian Church might be expected to care deeply about. The breakdown of family life and absent fathers which disproportionately affects Caribbean Heritage families in the UK or the knife crime crisis which results in so many deaths of young black people in urban Britain.

"A Church informed by its Gospel mission rather than by Marxist ideology would surely not behave this way."

The report says the Church has adopted an "alarmist notion" of a climate crisis that "is very rarely presented by the Church as an argument which requires a balanced understanding".

"What has happened to the Church of England in the past year reflects the direction other British institutions are currently travelling towards. As institutions have declined in their authority, there is increasing anxiety within them to be justified," the report reads.

"This decline has run in tandem with a wider vacation of public life, meaning only a small number of activists are providing a path in defining the role and purpose of such institutions. Thus, ideologically, institutions like the Church are increasingly taking on the mantras of ultra-progressivism, such as the notion of 'systemic racism' or alarmist calls for a 'climate emergency'.

"These ideas are reinforced by new policies to achieve structural change via a growing bureaucracy, recruitment shortlists or quotas and rewriting education curriculums. That has, in turn, impacted the spirit and ideals of the Church's mission."

The report concluded: "There is a common denominator of leadership acquiescence or a particular vulnerability among leaders about their approach to society, ordinary human values and a laziness in objecting to questionable claims and narratives, often to appease relentless and large-scale agitators."