The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned of the dangers of caricature and prejudice, saying they can “lead to violent persecution and genocide” in a statement on Holocaust Memorial Day.
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s comments will be regarded as an attack on Islamophobia as he warned against “caricature, simplistic criticism and ridicule that leads inexorably to the dehumanising and degrading treatment of others”.
He urged followers to “take responsibility ourselves”, particularly in speaking out “against those who would diminish others through caricature and cheap political point scoring”.
I have a problem. A big one. I just can’t get past the hypocrisy. I know these are sensible and righteous words but I also know that the man speaking them refused to help me when I asked for help. In fact, worse than that, he listened to those who had hurt me and believed them over me, completely ignoring indisputable facts in the process. He talks here about caricature and in response I accuse him of stereotyping those who have suffered from mental health problems.
But it doesn’t stop there. Welby is not the only bishop who I have asked for help but who has refused to give it. I cannot help assuming that this is down to my mental health history as one bishop (who I drove hundreds of miles to ask for help) refused to help me because of what he called “my baggage.”
So, in my mind, all bishops are hypocrites. They are career politicians in ecclesial garb who say one thing in public but don’t give a damn about individual people who are not newsworthy. Of course, this makes me guilty of caricature and prejudice myself. Worse, there is nothing a Church of England bishop can say that I will not immediately respond to with cynicism. I just do not believe they are for real anymore.
There is one way out of this vale of universal distrust. An Anglican bishop in England, Scotland or Wales, could respond positively and practically to my request for help. But as I’ve been crying out for nearly ten years without a single, even tentative response, I doubt this will be forthcoming. So, perhaps I am right after all.