A black trainee vicar with strong views on identity politics says he has been told that his route to the priesthood has been cancelled by the Church of England (CofE) because white senior clergy were fearful that he refuted claims that Britain is “institutionally racist.”
“I would have had to fight just to be a Christian in the Church of England,” Calvin Robinson, a journalist and commentator, told The Epoch Times.
Robinson has been critical of the measures that the CofE has taken to solve its “deeply institutionally racist” problem, which is a view held by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. The institution wants quotas to boost the number of black and ethnic minority senior clergy by introducing paid “racial justice officers” across its dioceses. It also wants to launch a “racial justice Sunday” once a year.
Talking to the Mail on Sunday, Robinson said that he “fundamentally disagreed with this approach, which is based on a faith in divisive left-wing critical race theory, instead of the teachings of Christ. I believe it is divisive and offensive.”
“I have experienced plenty of racism in my life, but it has always been down to a minority of malicious individuals. I do not think the claim that either the Church or wider society, is institutionally racist has ever been supported by robust evidence,” he added.
Robinson, who is a well-known columnist and presenter for GB News, is also a political commentator on social issues such as the influence of liberal-progressive views and ideologies in British establishments.
The Mail reported that senior clergy had voiced fears over Robinson’s views, which he says has now resulted in him being blocked from serving as a deacon at a parish in London, a role for which he trained for two years. He is now joining the breakaway conservative Global Anglican Future Conference.
During a Zoom call, the Bishop of Fulham, the Rt. Rev. Jonathan Baker, told Robinson that there had been “a lot of turbulence” over some of the views that he had expressed online and on TV.
On another occasion, the Bishop of London, the Rt. Rev. Sarah Mullally, told Robinson, “Calvin, as a white woman I can tell you that the Church IS institutionally racist.”
The Rt. Rev. Rob Wickham, bishop of Edmonton, also voiced his fears to senior church leaders saying that “Calvin’s comments concern me about denying institutional racism in this country.”
“Woke is the new religion and it has replaced the old religion, unfortunately,” Robinson told The Epoch Times.
“We have good people within the pews, same in the clergy. The issue is the bishops in the hierarchy who are entirely liberal progressives,” he said. “They’ve actually become gatekeepers as they are keeping conservatives out [politically and theologically conservative] and they are keeping us out to protect their echo chamber.”
Reflecting, Robinson said that if he had been ordained in the CofE “every day would have been a battle or a struggle” for repeating scripture that dictates that marriage is “between a man and a woman.”
“I would have had bishops down my throat, clergy disciplinary measures, I would have had to fight just to be a Christian in the Church of England,” he said.
The Church has been criticised for backing social justice ideology from climate change to critical race theory. In 2020, the dean and chapter of Bath and Wells took the knee in an empty Wells cathedral in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. Last year, Justin Welby, the most senior cleric in the Church of England, apologised for having compared the impact of climate change to the Holocaust. The body also voted to “stamp out conscious or unconscious” racism.
In its Anti-Racism Taskforce update, the Church said its “work is not a battle in a culture war but rather a call to arms against the evil and pernicious sin of racism. Our mandate flows not from identity politics but from our identity in Christ.”
“We are at a place where every public body has been taken over by woke or progressive views,” said Robinson, adding that he believes many are not aware of the Marxist roots in ideologies such as critical race theory.
“They are deconstructing our Western way of life, they are adverse to Christianity, adverse to family, and they are adverse to Britain and the West. People just think they are doing something nice,” he said.
Robinson also criticised the notion some think “it’s nice” to tell poor black children that the sole reason they are oppressed is down to racism.
“The Church should be focusing on what is good, and what is good is scriptural,” said Robinson.
A spokesperson for the Diocese of London did not answer The Epoch Times’ questions but said in a statement: “In the Diocese of London, we have a limited number of curacies available that are considered on a case-by-case basis. We work with and support Ordinands throughout the discernment process to establish the right path for each person. In this instance, it is felt that there is no suitable option available that London can currently offer. We continue to be in conversation with Calvin, are willing to work with him to discern the right way forward, and we keep him in our prayers.”