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sentamu and the sun on sunday
A Dear John letter
Dear John (Or Archbishop John Sentamu, as you're more commonly known)

Hello, it's me, Emily. You may remember me from the time you baptised me on Easter Sunday.

How are you doing? I hope things are well at your end. Anyway, since I got baptised in 2006, a lot of things have happened. I worked for the Church, I did a lot of missions, I set up a children's charity, I lost my faith (but that's another extremely long story for another time). Guessing things have been pretty busy your end too.

I'm writing to you because I can't fail to notice that you've decided to write a column in the Sun on Sunday. I have to say, even though I'm no longer a Christian, I'm massively disappointed in this choice. You were always a member of clergy I respected. You had strong ethical standpoints and you weren't afraid to show them. You chopped up your dog collar in an act of political protest. You've always been outspoken. I really did respect you.

And yet, you choose to write for the Sun on Sunday, a "newspaper" founded on the principles of corruption and lies. I struggle enough with the fact that the Church of England, an organisation I used to be associated with, an organisation I worked for, has 9 million of shares in News International and BSkyB. Not just because it means that the Church is invested in the press, which obviously impacts whether or not that press is able to speak freely, but also because of the hypocritical nature of the Church being invested into the soft porn industry.

I wonder if you could explain to me how it's ok for the Church to invest into soft porn whilst simultaneously telling Christians that they shouldn't have sex before marriage?

But the worst thing is, you're now a contributor to the Sun on Sunday, something associated with hacking, scandal, lies and poor journalism. I'm assuming that you'll say you're attempting to communicate with the people, that you're reaching them where they're at, that this is an opportunity to speak to people on their own level – but I can't help but feel dismay and confusion about why you'd make this decision. I no longer choose to associate with the Church, I no longer maintain anything close to a Christian faith, but I don't understand your decision on this.

I'd very much appreciate it if you'd take the time to respond.


Emily Birkinshaw

Update: The Archbishop has now replied on Emily Birkinshaw's blog, where this letter was first published.
emily birkinshaw
Emily Birkinshaw


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