A former Chaplain to the Queen has criticised St Albans Cathedral for supporting Black Lives Matter by installing a painting of a black Jesus, describing the movement as “inimical to Christian values”.
Dr Gavin Ashenden, who was an Anglican bishop before converting to Catholicism, has accused the 11th century Abbey of “tokenism” after announcing the 12ft artwork by Lorna May Wadsworth will be installed in the north transept on Saturday following pressure from Black Lives Matter activists.
Dr Ashenden said: “The problem is it camouflages what Christianity’s solution to racism is. Christianity offers a supernatural solution by having people fall in love with God, be forgiven and forgive all others and then become colour blind.
“The people who ended the slave trade were all Christians who had that experience. Black Lives Matter is a political organisation. It wants to get rid of the family and capitalism.
"So I find it difficult that a Cathedral offers solidarity to a movement that is inimical to Christan values and downplays what Christianity has to offer to solve racism.”
Speaking to Nick Ferrari’s LBC show, Dr Ashenden added: “It’s not WYSIWYG. What you see is not what you get. You get a very sophisticated political movement intent on the redistribution of power behind it. Christianity is a much better solution to racism.”
The 2009 painting, entitled A Last Supper, is a rework of Leonardo da Vinci’s 15th century mural and casts a Jamaican model, Tarafi Hinds, as Jesus Christ.
It comes after the Church of England’s most senior figure, the Archbishop of Canterbury called for a “rethink” regarding the portrayal of Jesus as white.
In recent days, leading figures including Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer have distanced themselves from the movement along with the Premier League amid concerns it is anti-semitic.