Archbishop of Canterbury warns cancel culture is a ‘huge threat’ to the future of the Church of England as he defends the right to freedom of speech in wake of Prophet Muhammad cartoon row
- The head of the Church waded into the row engulfing the school in Batley
- Justin Welby railed against creeping trend of cancel culture as a ‘huge threat’
- He said: ‘We cannot cancel history. We cannot cancel differences of opinion’
The Archbishop of Canterbury has railed against the creeping trend of cancel culture as a ‘huge threat’ to the Church of England’s future.
Justin Welby also defended the right to freedom of speech after a teacher was suspended for showing his class a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad.
In a rare intervention, the head of the Church waded into the row engulfing the school in Batley, West Yorkshire, where the teacher has gone into hiding after furious protests from Muslim parents.
He told Italian newspaper La Repubblica: ‘In some parts of the world, you have to be very careful what you say because people feel very, very strongly. But in this country, I think, we have to hold on to freedom of speech.’
The Archbishop of Canterbury has defended the right to free speech after a teacher was suspended for showing his class a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad
Welby stressed that while many of the UK’s Muslim leaders were ‘very upset’ by the cartoon, lots had urged against reacting with ‘violence and threats’.
‘In other words, exercise your freedom of speech, but don’t prevent other people exercising their freedom of speech,’ the Archbishop added.
He further slammed cancel culture and those that are trying to expunge Britain’s history.
Statues of controversial figures have been targeted by campaigners, and last year a Bristol monument to the slave trader Edward Colston was memorably toppled.
Last year the Church announced it would be conducting a review into statues at its sites.
But Welby said: ‘We can’t erase the past. It’s impossible. We have to learn from it sometimes, often, always.
‘We have to repent of it quite often. But we cannot erase it. We cannot cancel history. We cannot cancel differences of opinion.’
In a rare intervention, the head of the Church waded into the row engulfing the school in Batley, West Yorkshire, where the teacher has gone into hiding after furious protests from Muslim parents
The Archbishop noted it was an alarming trend growing at UK universities, where controversial speakers have been no-platformed.
He added: ‘Particularly for universities, it seems to me very, very dangerous because you start with cancelling some views that you dislike and very quickly, you are cancelling everyone who disagrees. It’s a very dangerous process.’
On Brexit, Welby also said he was a ‘Remainer’ but not a ‘Remoaner’ and branded vaccine nationalism an ‘enormous danger’.
Relations between the EU and UK have strained in recent months as Brussels tries to rescue its bungled jab rollout, even threatening to block exports of doses to Britain.
‘Harry and Meghan’s legal wedding was on the Saturday’: Archbishop of Canterbury breaks silence on interview claim and says it would be ‘a serious criminal offence’ if he signed certificate knowing it was false
By George Kirby for the Daily Mail
The Archbishop of Canterbury has rejected the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s claim that he married them at a secret ceremony before their Windsor Castle wedding.
Breaking his silence on what the couple told Oprah Winfrey three weeks ago, Justin Welby said he signed Harry and Meghan’s wedding certificate on the day millions watched them marry.
The legal wedding was on Saturday, May 19, 2018 at St George’s Chapel, he said. In her interview, Meghan raised eyebrows when she told Miss Winfrey that she and Harry were married ‘just the two of us in our backyard with the Archbishop of Canterbury’.
But the 65-year-old told an Italian newspaper yesterday: ‘The legal wedding was on the Saturday.’
He was asked ‘what happened with Meghan and Harry? Did you really marry them three days before the official wedding?’
Breaking his silence on what the couple told Oprah Winfrey three weeks ago, Justin Welby said he signed Harry and Meghan’s wedding certificate on the day millions watched them marry
But then he added: ‘I had a number of private and pastoral meetings with the duke and duchess before the wedding.
‘The legal wedding was on the Saturday. I signed the wedding certificate, which is a legal document, and I would have committed a serious criminal offence if I signed it knowing it was false.
‘So you can make what you like about it. But the legal wedding was on the Saturday. But I won’t say what happened at any other meetings.’
Harry and Meghan, who have now been completely relieved of their royal duties, backtracked on their private ceremony claim in a statement last week.
It had drawn heavy suspicion, partly because a legal marriage in the UK requires two witnesses.
A spokesman for the couple told US website the Daily Beast: ‘The couple exchanged personal vows a few days before their official/legal wedding on May 19.’
A backyard exchange of vows is not a marriage. Despite this, Harry chipped in during the Oprah interview, adding it was ‘just the three of us’.
In her interview, Meghan raised eyebrows when she told Miss Winfrey that she and Harry were married ‘just the two of us in our backyard with the Archbishop of Canterbury’
The Archbishop’s comments yesterday, while not categorically denying a private ceremony, quash any doubts about when and where the couple legally tied the knot.
Previously, he had declined to speak out as pressure grew on him to debunk the claim.
A spokesman for the Archbishop’s office said last week he ‘does not comment on personal or pastoral matters’. But other clerics became involved.
The Rev Mark Edwards said he contacted the Archbishop’s office to ‘get some clarity’ in the wake of the claims.
Mr Edwards, vicar at St Matthew’s Church in Dinnington and St Cuthbert’s Church in Brunswick, Tyne and Wear, said he was told by a Lambeth Palace staff member: ‘Justin does not do private weddings.
‘Meghan is an American, she does not understand.
‘Justin had a private conversation with the couple in the garden about the wedding, but I can assure you, no wedding took place until the televised national event.’
Archbishop Welby’s first public comment on the matter was in an interview yesterday with Italian newspaper La Repubblica during a tour to promote his new book Reimagining Britain: Foundations For Hope.
In it, he echoed wide-ranging views from the book on topics such as the pandemic, vaccine nationalism, Northern Ireland, cartoons of Muhammad and freedom of speech, racism and asylum seekers in the UK and Pope Francis.
The former industrialist, who sits in the House of Lords, did not comment on the accuracy of any other topic mentioned in the couple’s US TV interview.
He did discuss racism, but avoided any mention of Meghan’s allegations about speculation over the skin colour of her son Archie.
In the wake of the interview, Buckingham Palace issued a statement on behalf of the Queen saying: ‘Recollections may vary,’ in reference to claims of racism and other issues.
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