Church of England Clergyman Apologises After Saying Clapping for Capt Sir Tom Moore Was ‘Cult of White British Nationalism’
Steve Doughty, Daily Mail, February 4, 2021
A clergyman from a prominent Church of England parish yesterday condemned the commemoration of Captain Sir Tom Moore as a ‘cult of white British nationalism’.
The Reverend Jarel Robinson-Brown appeared to dismiss the work of the Covid fund-raiser, whose efforts were praised by all political leaders and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The cleric, newly appointed to a prestigious post by the Bishop of London, the Right Reverend Sarah Mullally, added that he would not join Wednesday night’s national clap to mark the passing of Captain Tom.
He responded to the veteran’s death by tweeting: ‘The cult of Captain Tom is a cult of White British Nationalism. I will offer prayers for the repose of his kind and generous soul, but I will not be joining the “National Clap”.’
Hundreds of thousands of Britons across the nation took to their doorsteps yesterday evening to pay tribute to Sir Captain Moore after he died of coronavirus yesterday.
The intervention by the 29-year-old black and gay activist appeared to undermine the Church of England and its handling of the Covid crisis at a time when its leaders, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, have been facing criticism for their willingness to close churches.
The Archbishop marked Captain Tom’s death by saying he was ‘an inspiration to millions’.
Mr Robinson-Brown deleted the tweet after a fierce backlash and posted an apology, saying: ‘I offer an unreserved apology for the insensitive timing and content of my tweet regarding the clap for Captain Tom.’
He said he had since read and will sign the church’s digital charter, which is designed to ‘help make social media and the web more widely positive places’.
Former Tory MEP David Campbell Bannerman described it as an ‘appalling comment’, and Bishop Mullally’s diocese was understood to be preparing an apology last night.
Mr Robinson-Brown, a former Methodist minister and chaplain at King’s College London, converted to Anglicanism and is training to become a priest in the Church of England. Last month he was appointed as a curate at the oldest church in the City of London, All Hallows By the Tower.
Mr Robinson-Brown is set to begin work shortly at the ‘inclusive church’, CofE jargon for a radical parish that supports gay rights. His new vicar, the Reverend Katherine Hedderly, greeted his appointment as a curate last weekend by saying her congregation were ‘delighted’.
He has said he is ‘passionate about issues of justice, particularly in the areas of race and sexuality’ and has ‘an interest in gender, desire and ethnicity in Late Antique Egypt’, alongside ‘liberation theology’ and ‘queer theology’.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson led the national round of applause at 6pm from Downing Street yesterday, with the veteran’s family also taking part.
Images showed his emotional daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore leaning on her son Benjie as they marked the applause alongside her daughter Georgia and husband Colin Ingram outside Captain Tom’s home in Marston Moretaine near Milton Keynes.
They were joined by hundreds of thousands thousands of well-wishers who showed their support for the 100-year-old by standing on doorsteps and leaning out of windows to clap.
Captain Tom became a national treasure during the first coronavirus lockdown after he raised £33 million for the NHS by doing laps of his garden. His death was met with an out-pouring of grief with the Queen leading tributes.
MPs held a minute’s silence before Prime Minister’s Questions at midday, after which Mr Johnson asked Britons to take part in a clap straight after his 5pm Covid press conference.
He also threw his backing behind a statue to commemorate the war veteran for his efforts during the pandemic.