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Anglican bishop Pete Broadbent suspended over Facebook gaffe

24 November 2010

Bishop Pete Broadbent

Yesterday I commented on some of the media reporting of Anglican bishop Pete Broadbent’s comments and prognistications about the proposed marriage between Prince William and Kate Middleton. Now comes the news that he has been suspended.
Church of England bishop suspended over royal wedding comments | The Guardian:

A Church of England bishop has been suspended indefinitely following his disparaging remarks about the royal wedding.

Pete Broadbent, a suffragan bishop in Willesden, wrote a series of posts on Facebook, where he said the marriage of Kate Middleton and Prince William would last seven years and described the wedding day as being surrounded by ‘nauseating tosh’.

There is something a little bit odd about this.

Anglican bishops have sometimes publicly denied fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith, like the resurrection of Christ, and they have been feted by the media and become overnight celebrities, as the sales of their latest book soar. There’s never been a hint of suspending them. But make rude remarks about the British royal family, in a semi-private medium like Facebook, and there is a swift reaction. So I wonder, who has more influence in the Church of England — God or Caesar?

They are very tolerant about bishops denying basic Christian teaching, but very intolerant about dissing the royal family.

Tolerance is one of the virtues that secular society pays the greatest lip-service to, but it obviously has its limits, and those limits seem to be in strange places.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 24 November 2010 1:03 pm

    Perhaps the relationship between the CofE and the Royal Family is one that still requires a modicum of obeisance to retain the class structure?

  2. 25 November 2010 12:38 pm

    Hmmmm, can’t help thinking it’s more complicated than this. After all, one can deny the physical resurrection of Jesus with both historical and scriptural gravity but to doom someone’s marriage and gossip as a public figure about another public figure is fairly clear cut. This isn’t the first time Broadbent has been in trouble for comments he has made about people on facebook (see link below: enjoy!).

    Broadbent is a master of the e-gaff and from what I’ve heard of him I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a bit of a habit of saying stupid things off-line as well as on. Basically what I’m saying is – much as I dislike the Bishop of London and the institution of the monarchy – I can’t help being pleased that Broadbent has been suspended. Perhaps we should be suspending more of our bishop’s for supporting war for example, or making homophobic and islamaphobic comments.

    The real scandal is that when Bishop Michael Nazir Ali made comments about British Muslims, inciting religious hatred. He wasn’t even lightly censured.


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