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Archbishop of Canterbury denies endorsing Tory mantra

by Eno Adeogun

Most Rev Justin Welby and the archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu's note called on Christians to set aside "apathy and cynicism" and draw new inspiration from the ancient Christian virtues of "love, trust and hope" during this election period.

Rev Welby said "stability" should be a key reference point when people considered how to vote, which worried some clergy and other Christians who feel the word has become synonymous with the Conservative leader Theresa May.

Speaking to the Guardian and Christian Today, Rev Welby said: "Was the letter a shift to the right? Absolutely not."

He added that the word stability had been a watchword of Christianity for centuries and the use of it should not be limited to a political campaign.

In an open letter to the Archbishops, signed by Rev Al Barrett, the clergy say the connotations are too strong to ignore.

"We appreciate the word's Benedictine roots, and the critical contemporary challenge of 'living well with change'.

"However, words also acquire meaning from their common usage in the present, and it is impossible to escape the fact that the leader of one of the major political parties competing in this General Election has used the phrase "strong and stable" almost as a mantra throughout the election campaign thus far.

"For your pastoral letter to focus so positively on such a politically freighted word seems to us, at best, as a case of desperate political naivety, and at worst, an implicit endorsement of one party in this election."

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