A number of incidents in recent years has given rise to a report on attacks on clergymen and women in the United Kingdom between 1997 and 1999. The results are alarming, showing that 70% of the clergy have been subjected to some form of abuse, whether physical or verbal. 20% have been threatened with violence, 12% have been attacked physically. 40% of those interviewed claimed that they did not feel safe at work.
The situation has led the MSF, the union which represents the country’s clergy, to provide classes in Tae Kwon Do for its 1,500 members. The Union hopes that the Anglican Church will follow suit and provide martial arts classes for all those clergy interested. The head of the Union’s Clergy section, the Reverend William Ward, said, “It is a sad fact of modern life that members of the clergy will come into contact with individuals who are likely to resort to violence”.
Another priest, the Reverend Paul Andrew, minister at Saint John the Evangelist Church in Hammersmith, London, declared, “We certainly do feel vulnerable. Only half a mile away in Fulham a priest was murdered in the autumn. A Roman Catholic minister near by was the subject of na arson attack. A friend of mine from theological college was murdered three years ago”. Another priest was tortured by men who broke into the vicarage, wearing Batman and Madonna masks.
Six priests have been murdered in the last five years and a woman priest who was attacked used martial arts to save herself. More and women priests are being attacked by those who resent the fact that the Anglican Church allowed women to enter the priesthood.
One woman priest received a book of Satanic images and a note telling her she was the “whore of Babylon”, along with death threats. The problem is that the priests, men or women, cannot complain to any authority because they have no employment rights. Under English law, persons who do not have “a terrestrial employer” do not qualify for employment rights. That is why women priests, who earn less than the men in the Anglican Church, have nobody to turn to, except the Big Boss.
In future, instead of turning the other cheek, Britain’s clergy will respond with a kick where it hurts the most.
John ASHTEAD PRAVDA.Ru LONDON UNITED KINGDOM
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