Zaidee, Theresa (at age 8), and Hubert Brasier

Britain’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, rarely discussed politics with her father, the Rev. Hubert Brasier, a Church of England vicar. Her father was reluctant to reveal his views, believing it wasn’t right for a vicar to discuss politics because he “should be appealing and working with everybody in his parish.”

May told The One Show (BBC) that when she entered politics her father was keen to ensure that her Conservative loyalty was not divisive in his congregation. “I was limited as to what I was able to do publicly, precisely because he wanted to ensure that nobody felt that he was somebody they couldn’t approach because of his politics,” she said.

May has previously said that her Christian faith is “part of me” and “part of who I am.” She chose the hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” while appearing on BBC’s Desert Island discs.

Both of her parents died when she was in her early 20s and within a short time of each other. Asked what she had learned from them, she replied: “I hope that what I’ve continued to do throughout my political career is to do what they wanted me to do, always try to do my best, and to give back.

“What I learnt from them was a very strong belief in public service and always understand what you need to do for other people. It’s not just about what you yourself think, actually, it’s getting out there, it’s hearing from people, it’s listening to their voice and then delivering for them.”

Abp. Welby on Antisemitism: The Archbishop of Canterbury has said the church bears some of the blame for anti-Semitism, which he says is “an insidious evil.” The habits of anti-Semitism, he said, “have been burrowing into European and British culture for as long as we can remember. In England, during the late medieval period, the Jewish community faced constant persecution: Shylock, the great villain of the Merchant of Venice, was a cliché of his time.”

Archbishop Justin Welby shared his views in a contribution to Lessons Learned?: Reflections on Antisemitism and the Holocaust [PDF], a new booklet by the Holocaust Education Trust. Other contributors include the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and a Cabinet Minister, Sajid Javid.

“The fact that antisemitism has infected the body of the Church is something of which we as Christians must be deeply repentant. We live with the consequences of our history of denial and complicity,” he said.

“All humans are made in the image of God. Antisemitism undermines and distorts this truth: it is the negation of God’s plan for his creation and is therefore a denial of God himself. There is no justification for the debasing and scapegoating of other people. Antisemitism is the antithesis of all that our scriptures call us to be and do, to work together for the common good and to seek the flourishing of all.

“The challenge for us is to remain vigilant, to stand together and to speak out. A historic threat can be faced today by a society that is resolute in its defence of its minorities and confident in its willingness to confront those who seek to undermine its foundations of freedom of religion, equality in law and mutual respect. A commitment to building a cohesive and dynamic civic life can be the new, but this time healthy, contagion.”

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