That's the newly-appointed Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Rev Andrew Watson talking. He has rapped Stephen Sizer hard across the knuckles for the despicable "9/11 Israel Did It"Facebook post link Sizer made on 20 January.
|Sizer is a keen "photo journalist"|
'told a Press conference at Guildford that Dr Sizer had agreed to a prohibition from using social media for six months and from commenting on Middle Eastern issues while he remains in the employment of the diocese.
“It is my view that Stephen’s strong but increasingly undisciplined commitment to an anti-Zionist agenda has become a liability to his own ministry and that of the wider church.
Many who more moderately support the Palestinian cause and share his critique of a particular brand of Christian fundamentalism, themselves find Stephen’s actions to be increasingly unhelpful and counter-productive, a fact he himself now recognises.
It is therefore my decision that Stephen’s work in this area is no longer compatible with his ministry as a parish priest.
(Press conference reported more fully here; update:see more particularly here)In order for Stephen to remain in parish ministry, I have therefore asked for and received from him a solemn undertaking, in writing, that he is to refrain entirely from writing or speaking on any themes that relate, either directly or indirectly, to the current situation in the Middle East or to its historical backdrop.”
All praise to the British Board of Deputies, in the person of vice-president Mr Jonathan Arkush, for pursuing this matter so determinedly, and to the newly-appointed Bishop for dealing with it so promptly.
one Christian organisation noted of Sizer's apology for the post (see right; when at length caught out, and following an initial show of defiance to the Jewish News),
'This apology appears to show no genuine remorse, and is instead reminiscent of the child forced into apologising because he has been caught out. While the suspension of his blog is a step in the right direction, it seems too little, too late. His anti-Israel views and his questionable theology now pervade much of the UK and American church.
While 'anti-Israel' does not necessarily equate to 'anti-semitism', and clergy are entitled to air their political views, Mr. Sizer's actions have frequently been highly regrettable. Through the regular negative mass media coverage he has attracted, much damage has been done both to the Church of England’s reputation and to its witness, especially among the Jewish community. The media attention also reflects badly on the wider Church. It is to be hoped that the Diocese of Guildford will take this into account and plan to deal decisively with Dr. Sizer.
It is to be hoped that the Diocese of Guildford does not merely to settle for this inadequate apology and hope for the end of matter, but deals decisively and justly with the recurring problem that clearly exists. Through negative publicity, and his links and associations, Dr. Sizer raises serious questions about whether his occupations and habits befit his calling as a Clerk in Holy Orders. His actions have, on many occasions, been the cause of offence to others, and cannot be said to set a wholesome example and pattern for those in his care'Should Sizer offend again, then one would expect more serious consequences. It would seem that if he doesn't shape up he'll be shipping out, as the phrase goes:
"If he is not repentant, if he continues working in this way I've made it very clear that he will go."Sizer's letter of 4 February to the bishop can be read here
Full report here
BBC synopsis here