Father Christmas visit barred

It turns out the UK has a policy of putting the children of asylum seekers into detention centers because of the perception that the children are at high risk of “mental health issues”. Canon Jim Rosenthal was prevented from visiting them over the weekend as were some other clergy. There were concerns that the visit was a possible security threat.

“In a red robe and long white beard, clutching a bishop’s mitre and crook, St Nick – in real life, the Rev Canon James Rosenthal, a world authority on St Nicholas of Myra, the inspiration for Father Christmas – gently protested that he was not a security threat, but to no avail.

Then as St Nicholas, accompanied by the Rev Professor Nicholas Sagovsky, canon theologian at Westminster Abbey, attempted to bless the gifts, the increasingly angry security guards called the police. The resulting ill-tempered and surreal impasse between church and state was videotaped by asylum seeker support groups and could become an internet viral hit.

The row comes amid mounting concern about the treatment of children in immigration removal centres. Last week senior doctors called for an immediate end to the ‘profoundly harmful’ detention of children in immigration removal centres. In today’s Observer a number of leading children’s authors – including Michael Morpurgo, Michael Bond and Philip Pullman – have signed a letter calling for an end to child detention”

Full article here.

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