‘Save their souls’ Laurence Fox risks sparking dividing opinion over church petition
29th May 2022

Laurence Fox opposes government saying what public should eat

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Laurence Fox, 44, has launched a petition, urging the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Bishop of London Sarah Mullaly to resign. It comes after the Archbishop issued a public statement declaring the Church of England to be “institutionally racist”, and after the Bishop reportedly told a black trainee vicar that the Church was “institutionally racist”.

Laurence, in his petition, suggested they should both resign and make way for Black, Asian and ethnic minorities (BAME) clergy people.

He explained in a statement published on Change.org that Justin Welby has, since 2020, called for “radical and decisive” changes to be made within the church to “remedy past injustices”.

The actor claimed the Archbishop said he was “ashamed of the Church’s history”.

It comes after the Most Reverend Justin Welby said at a meeting of the Church’s ruling body, the General Synod, that he was “ashamed” of its history of racism, in 2020.

The BBC reports he said at the time: “I’m ashamed of our history and I’m ashamed of our failure. There is no doubt when we look at our own Church that we are still deeply institutionally racist.”

Of the Bishop of London, Laurence wrote: “Sarah Mullally has likewise been full of penitence for what she sees as the Church’s ongoing sins.

“She recently informed a black trainee vicar, that ‘as a white woman I can tell you (the trainee) that the Church is institutionally racist’.”

Laurence added: “While the black trainee disagreed, it is clear that both the Rt Hon Welby and Dame Mullally are having to live with unimaginable guilt.

“We therefore invite them to save their souls by resigning their posts in favour of BAME Anglicans.

“Welby and Mullally would be showing the ultimate form of moral leadership, giving up their own careers to resolve what they attest to be a grim historical injustice.”

Laurence added it would be “more Christian” than trying to urge white clergy people out of their professions and onto the streets.

He demanded that the next Archbishop be democratically elected from a group of BAME candidates.

A source close to Laurence told Express Online: “Once Welby et al have resigned, Fox and Reclaim will support democratic elections to be held within the Church to replace them.”

The Reclaim Party founder’s petition now has over 3,000 signatures. 

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A spokesperson for the Church of England told Express Online:

“We fully sympathise with concerns over racism within the Church and wider society – the Church has been actively engaged on this issue for some time.

“In April 2021, the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce issued its report ‘From Lament to Action’, proposing a suite of changes to begin bringing about a change of culture in the life of the Church of England.

“This work is now continuing with the Archbishops’ Racial Justice Commission, which is setting out a compelling agenda for change and will report to the Archbishops at regular intervals with recommendations to help the Archbishops fulfil their commitments to identify, respond to, and root out systemic racism in the Church.”

Laurence is an actor best known for his supporting role as DS James Hathaway in ITV Drama show, Lewis, from 2006 to 2015.

The star was also married to singer Billie Piper from 2007 to 2016.

More recently, however, the star has gained recognition after he publicly opposed the George Floyd protests in June 2020.

He also expressed strong anti-vaccination views during the Covid-19 pandemic.

His controversial political stances earned him a growing following on Twitter.

After founding the Reclaim Party, Laurence stood in the 2021 London Mayoral Election in opposition to what he deemed “extreme political correctness”.

During his election campaign in May last year, he wrote on Twitter in a public statement: “Someone needs to unlock London now, and I can tell you one thing: Sadiq Khant.

“And Sadiq Won’t. Sadiq Khan is ashamed to be British.”

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