Pubdate: Sun, 17 Oct 1999
Source: Sunday Times (UK)
Copyright: 1999 Times Newspapers Ltd.
Author: Stephen McGinty


AN anti-drugs campaigner is set to quit the Scottish Episcopal church
after 40 years, in protest at the liberal drug statements of Bishop
Richard Holloway.

Maxie Richards, named Scotswoman of the Year four years ago for her
work among addicts, has found her position incompatible with views she
describes as "shocking".

Holloway, Bishop of Edinburgh and primus of the Scottish Episcopal
church, has attracted a storm of protest after saying that drugs are
"intrinsically good" and that parents should teach their children safe
drug use.

He attracted further controversy a fortnight ago at the launch of a
drugs centre in Glasgow when he was re-ported to have asked: "Has
anyone got a joint?"

Richards, 63, who opened her home to drug addicts 10 years ago and won
a Winston Churchill Fellowship Award for her work, believes Holloway's
views are unchristian and dangerous. "I do not see how I can stay in
the Episcopal church unless I get some satisfactory answers and
ac-tion," she said. "I have written to the primus requesting a meeting
but four months later nothing has happened. He may leave me no option."

Richards plans to raise the dilemma later this month when she lectures
students at Oxford on how her faith informs her work. The re-tired
schoolteacher believes Holloway should resign if he wishes to continue
to make such inflamatory statements.

"I don't know how his statements are compatible with his office. He is
supposed to be leading people to God and instead he is pushing them
towards drugs."

Richards said that his comments have outraged many families she has
visited as well as the addicts she works with. "One family have
already picked the pallbearers for their son and he isn't dead yet.
Holloway's words are little comfort to them," she said.

Holloway has suffered a backlash since the publication of his book,
Godless Morality. Leading members of the Episcopal church have
demanded his resignation, while the Anglican archbis-hop of southeast
Asia, Moses Tay, branded him a heretic.

Rev Dr Kevin Scott, the rector of St Philip and St James' church in
Edinburgh, who has repeatedly called for the resignation of the
bishop, said he was not surprised at Richards's reaction. "If we
depart from our teachings its not surprising that people with
conscience and an understanding of what Christianity really is feel
less at home."

Holloway was unavailable for comment. 
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