Letter: Theological censorship

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The Independent Online
Sir: On 31 July, Anthony Freeman will cease to be Priest-in- Charge of St Mark's, Staplefield. This is a consequence of the Bishop of Chichester's response to Mr Freeman's book God in Us.

Mr Freeman is not being offered another post, despite his willingness to make the required Declaration of Assent, and he has been refused a Permission to Officiate in that diocese.

The bishop's action reverses a long Church of England tradition that tolerates and values a wide range of views. It poses a danger to freedom of expression within the Anglican ministry. There has been no opportunity for the Church of England to debate the issues raised by it.

We believe this case is highly significant; it is the first this century in which a parish priest has been dismissed for publishing his theological views. For those who value breadth and openness, whatever their individual theological outlook, 31 July is a day of sorrow.

Yours faithfully,

RONALD PEARSE, DON CUPITT, HUGH DAWES, DAVID HART, J. L. HOULDEN, PAUL OESTREICHER, GEORGE PATTISON, FRANCES WARD, KEITH WARD, ALAN WEBSTER

and 55 more Church of England priests

Loughborough, Leicestershire

22 July

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