Saturday, October 13, 2007

Labour minister admits taxes should recognise marriage

In further confirmation that the Conservative Party is in command of the agenda in British politics, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Andy Burnham MP, has indicated that the Government might give tax incentives to married couples, in recognition of the importance of the institution to society.

Mr Burnham’s words follow Gordon Brown’s seizing of Conservative proposals for cutting inheritance tax, penalising non-domiciled workers and introducing a flight levy. Aping this area of Conservative policy, after a decade of undermining the institution of marriage, really does show how hypocritical, shallow, bankrupt, and devoid of originality this Government has become.

Cranmer is, however, intrigued by Mr Burnham’s use of language. He says unequivocally that there is a ‘moral case’ for using tax to promote the traditional family unit. And further: ‘I don't seek to preach to anybody. But in an abstract way I think it’s better when children are in a home where their parents are married and I think children do notice if their parents are married or not.’

There is nothing wrong with preaching when what you’re preaching is true, noble, good and righteous. And there is nothing ‘abstract’ about the ideal environment in which to raise children. If it were abstract, it would simply be theoretical, intangible, somehow removed from reality. But the empirical evidence indicates overwhelmingly that marriage is not only of considerable benefit to those who are married, but also to children and society, and these benefits are manifest in practice.

The minister uses ‘abstract’ to deflect the focus, to mitigate the implication of his belief, and he denies preaching in order to permit his preaching; to advocate precisely the sort of command ethics one might expect from a politician of religious conviction.

But Mr Burnham’s preaching is completely at variance with that of the Prime Minister, who said only a fortnight ago: ‘I say to the children of two parent families, one parent families, foster parent families; to the widow bringing up children: I stand for a Britain that supports as first class citizens not just some children and some families but supports all children and all families… We all remember that biblical saying: “suffer the little children to come unto me”. No Bible I have ever read says: “bring just some of the children”.’

Mr Burnham is indeed advocating a tax system which benefits just some of the children. He says: ‘I think marriage is best for kids… It's not wrong that the tax system should recognise commitment and marriage.’ And Cranmer’s favourite line: ‘There's sometimes a metropolitan myth that Labour people are all a bit liberal. I don't think the Tories should have a monopoly on this kind of thinking.’

It is completely true that the Conservative Party should not have a monopoly on this kind of thinking, for it should be evident to politicians of all political persuasions and faiths that marriage is not an exclusively Judaeo-Christian institution; it is a union observed in all cultures, and seems, according to Aristotle, to exist by nature. Marriage in the Bible is essential for the functioning of society, and is the model used to explain the mystery of Christ’s relationship to the church (Eph 5:25-32). The Church of England ‘affirms, according to our Lord’s teaching, that marriage is in its nature a union permanent and lifelong, for better or worse, till death do them part, of one man with one woman’. This has its basis in the Old Testament, where YHWH says: ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him’ (Gen 2:18). It continues: ‘for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh’ (v24). Although these verses do not purport to define marriage, they do describe its origin, and are therefore crucial for understanding the Bible’s teaching on marriage.

There are three principal purposes for marriage arising out of v24: (i) the procreation of children; (ii) companionship, and (iii) sexual union. Marriage is a covenant before YHWH, which Jesus confirms with the phrase ‘God has joined together’ (Mt 19:26); when a person ‘leaves’ and ‘cleaves’. It is the erosion of this foundation which has contributed to ‘Breakdown Britain’, and it is a cause of encouragement to Cranmer that some in the Government are making noises of repentance.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Ultraviolents said...

“suffer the little children to come unto me”. No Bible I have ever read says: “bring just some of the children”.’

Gordon Brown's messianic state. Stalinist? I think he is.

13 October 2007 at 17:37  
Anonymous irene lancaster said...

Interestingly, the biblical phraseology for the function of a wife 'ka-negdo', means' 'like someone who is opposed'. This is taken to signify that marriage should be a relationship of creative tension.

I am sorry if some are hurt by what I have said about the New Testament in an earlier posting. But it is Christian commentators themselves who have deemd the NT as partially anti-Jewish and have espoused replacement theology, which used to demonise Jews and Judaism - now turned into a subtle means of demonising the Jewish State, Israel.

Naturally, His Grace is not responsible for this type of behaviour and has shown himself time and time again to be steeped in the Hebrew Bible, as well as in Christian theology.

So sorry that this can't be said of every contributor to this blog!

13 October 2007 at 17:53  
Anonymous nedsherry said...

There is nothing wrong with preaching when what you’re preaching is true, noble, good and righteous.

Does anyone ever think that he's not preaching what is true, noble, good and righteous? Pharisees certainly don't:

But Mr Burnham’s preaching is completely at variance with that of the Prime Minister, who said only a fortnight ago: ‘I say to the children of two parent families, one parent families, foster parent families; to the widow bringing up children: I stand for a Britain that supports as first class citizens not just some children and some families but supports all children and all families… We all remember that biblical saying: “suffer the little children to come unto me”. No Bible I have ever read says: “bring just some of the children”.’

Brown follows in Bliar's self-righteous footsteps.

It is completely true that the Conservative Party should not have a monopoly on this kind of thinking, for it should be evident to politicians of all political persuasions and faiths that marriage is not an exclusively Judaeo-Christian institution; it is a union observed in all cultures, and seems, according to Aristotle, to exist by nature.

Not according to more modern research. Not that Aristotle was one for research. Human nature varies between racial groups: marriage is strongest among East Asians and weakest among blacks, with whites somewhere in the middle. The Christian model of monogamy is certainly not universal -- "Judaeo-Christian" is not a word His Grace would have recognized in pre-incineration days.

Dr Lancaster writes:

I am sorry if some are hurt by what I have said about the New Testament in an earlier posting. But it is Christian commentators themselves who have deemd the NT as partially anti-Jewish and have espoused replacement theology, which used to demonise Jews and Judaism - now turned into a subtle means of demonising the Jewish State, Israel.

Dr L, I know you won't answer these questions, but here they are anyway:

Is your claim that Christianity oversaw "2000 years of attempted extermination of the Jews" a demonization of Christianity?

Do you now retract the claim?

If you don't, can you explain (at last) how Jews survived this attempted extermination?

Did Jews do anything to justify, however slightly, the hostility of the NT?

Does the Talmud demonize Christianity in any way?

Naturally, His Grace is not responsible for this type of behaviour and has shown himself time and time again to be steeped in the Hebrew Bible, as well as in Christian theology.

His Grace believes that Jesus Christ is the Jewish Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament and (I presume) that Jews should convert to the true faith of Christianity from the redundant faith of Judaism. Therefore he is a proponent of "replacement theology". If he thinks you are a friend of Christianity or anything but a Jewish supremacist, he is dangerously in error.

So sorry that this can't be said of every contributor to this blog!

Yes, alas, this contributor claims you are dishonest and evasive. It will be very easy to prove him wrong. See above.

13 October 2007 at 18:53  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

Your Grace
While I agree with the tax system encouraging people with children to marry, I do take issue with the idea that I should be penalised for being single. Being single and without children is in no way problematic for society and having to stay home on Valentine's Day is bad enough punishment without having to pay more tax as well!

In fact, when it comes to teachers, who spend hundreds of hours 'bringing up' children every week, I would argue that single teachers work much harder than the married ones (simply because they can give the time on evenings and weekends), and therefore contribute far more to children's lives than most people!

13 October 2007 at 20:33  
Anonymous irene lancaster said...

The Talmud hadn't been written at the time of the NT. I have no idea if His Grace wants to convert Jews or not. This is actually not replacement theology.

If Judaism is deemed redundant, why I am being allowed to post my thoughts here and why was an entire posting devoted by the writer of Archbishop Cranmer's blog to one of my own articles?

Finally, all my historical descriptions of Christianity and its relationship with Jews and Judaism are attested in many works of Christianity.

They are factually accurate, historically sound statements, included in a history pack which I used to teach the subject at Manchester University.

13 October 2007 at 20:44  
Anonymous nedsherry said...

Finally, all my historical descriptions of Christianity and its relationship with Jews and Judaism are attested in many works of Christianity.

Then please quote or provided a link for something attesting to Christianity's attempt for 2000 years to exterminate the Jews. You won't do it, because you can't do it.

They are factually accurate, historically sound statements,

Historians don't establish facts by fiat.

included in a history pack which I used to teach the subject at Manchester University.

Then you should be able to quote something to back your claim.

The Talmud hadn't been written at the time of the NT.

Er, yes. That the Talmud came later is implicit in the question you obviously don't want to answer: Does the Talmud demonize Christianity in any way?

I have no idea if His Grace wants to convert Jews or not. This is actually not replacement theology.

It is, because there's no point in converting the Jews if their convenant with God is still valid.

If Judaism is deemed redundant, why I am being allowed to post my thoughts here and why was an entire posting devoted by the writer of Archbishop Cranmer's blog to one of my own articles?

One doesn't have to agree with His Grace to be allowed to post or to say things of interest to him.

14 October 2007 at 14:48  

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