Stephen D’Evelyn on True Citizenship

Citizenship has been on my mind. At a personal level, I have been working on the application to extend my visa to stay in the UK. Of course Archbishop Justin Welby has also made the headlines recently by saying that it is “outrageous” to describe people who are worried about the impact of migration as racist. There was “genuine fear” of the impact on housing, jobs and the NHS, he told Parliament’s The House magazine. Welby also said Britain’s pledge to take 20,000 Syrian refugees did not compare well with the efforts made by Germany.
This all seems sensible. But maybe that is the problem. Such comments might leave one wondering quite what fresh perspective Welby should offer *as Archbishop*. Perhaps he cannot come out quoting Augustine ‘our life in this exile cannot be without temptation’. But surely when in the same interview he calls for a ‘visionary’ debate on Britain’s place in or out of the EU, one can ask where is the visionary understanding of immigration? of identity? Where is St Paul’s vision of all persons being made equal by the event of Christ’s Passion? Where is the insight that the big difference lies bewteen God as giver of the possibility of being and the world and not between people? As Christians we are called, I think, not only to be sensible and moral but to live out the continuity of the moral and the mystical.We are called to give society that edge of perception which comes from looking beyond the horizon.

 

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