Saturday, June 07, 2008

Church of England praises 'strident' Conservative Party

There was a time when the Church of England loathed the Conservative Party: in its 1985 report 'Faith in the City', the Church was convinced that Thatcherism emanated from the darkest regions of gehenna, and was responsible for the demise of spirituality, the exaltation of Mammon, the deification of materialism, and the primary cause of all suffering and poverty. And bishops and archbishops appeared unanimous in this; or, at least, the Thatcherite ones became decidedly trappist.

But now, in what is undoubtedly a remarkable shift, the Church of England has issued a report which, according to The Daily Telegraph, carries the full backing of the Archbishop of Canterbury. And the Conservative Party is praised for its 'strident’ and ‘genuine thirst to understand and combat poverty’.

'Compassionate Conservatism' has arrived.

And this is no lightweight study; it is written by academics based at the Von Hugel Institute at Cambridge University. It states: ‘Despite many voices in the Church telling us, “there is no difference between any of the parties on these issues,” the reality is otherwise. Of all our interviewees, Conservative advisors and politicians were among the most comfortable and enthusiastic regarding involving faith groups in this renewal of the third sector, and believed that Christian churches had something “unique” to bring to the table as strong local leaders.’

This sort of comment must have the Christian Socialists profoundly disturbed, and ruing the day they ever exchanged their Methodism for Marxism.

The report upholds the concerns expressed by the Archbishop of York and the Bishop of Rochester, concluding that Christianity is 'discriminated against by Gordon Brown's Government'. And the beneficiaries are Islam and other minority faiths: ministers are only paying ‘lip service’ to the Anglican Church while ‘focusing intently’ on other religions. The report shows a Church heavily engaged in social welfare through its dioceses, cathedrals, bishops, priests and laity, but receiving little support and next to no recognition from the Government.

The Times points to research which shows that more than 50,000 churchgoers are regularly involved in church-based or church-backed social action, such as youthwork, and helping the poor, elderly or disabled. A similar number of churchgoers are involved in volunteering for secular charities. But the report observes: ‘We encountered on the part of the Government a significant lack of understanding, or interest in, the Church of England's current or potential contribution in the public sphere. Indeed we were told that Government had consciously decided to focus...almost exclusively on minority religions.’

The report claims Gordon Brown's Government is failing society and ‘lacks a moral vision’ for the country. While the Government has tried to improve social cohesion, it has failed to appreciate the potential contribution of Christian groups to the ‘civic health and wellbeing’ of society. And further: ‘The government is planning blind and failing parts of civil society. The government has good intentions, but is moral without a compass. Every participant in our study from the Church agreed that there was deep “religious illiteracy” on the part of the Government.’

And the solution, the academics suggest, is for the Government to appoint a ‘minister for religion’, who would serve as the Prime Minister's faith envoy and utilise the untapped reserves of volunteers in churches and charities.

No, no, no.

This would be disastrous for the Church of England. One only has to observe how such a role is fulfilled in, say, Serbia or Egypt to realise just how undesirable the development might be in a liberal representative democracy. Such a minister would necessarily have to be a multi-faith ecumenist who would have to be all things to all people and would be constrained from having any religious conviction or expressed adherence of his/her own. They would have to be spiritual, but God forbid that they might hold to any doctrine. Their role would be to develop and articulate government orthodoxy, and thereby elevate the State to making ex cathedra pronouncements on matters of faith. Rather like the Word in St John's Gospel, all things would be made by it. And the moment this minister sets foot in a church, the Muslims would demand visits to their mosques with increasingly-taller minarets, and then the Sikhs would want a visit to their shining new gurdwaras, and thence to mandirs, and viharas. And at some point the minister would have to make statements in the House about the status of Scientology, and feel obliged to celebrate Yoda's birthday at the House of Commons with the Jedi Knight fraternity, if only to win their endorsement and votes.

But the Government already has a ‘minister for religion’ – 26 of them, in fact. And they sit in the House of Lords. If they did their job, the Church of England would not be demanding a ‘minister for religion’, for such an appointment could only cause conflict between the faith groups as they all jockeyed to get their man/woman in there, and it would diminish the spiritual, political and historical significance of the Established Church. One can only imagine the national outcry and Western uproar if a Muslim were to be appointed to this position, and so they would be creating a government post which would be a cause of endless spiritual division and political strife. Religion cannot be conveniently compartmentalised by government diktat; it constitutes a worldview which underpins everything.

Yet Cranmer finds it ironic that at this time the Church of England should choose to issue a report entitled 'Moral, But No Compass’. While this is most probably a twist on Mr Brown's claim to have a ‘moral compass’, it has to be observed that the Church of England itself has trouble finding true north, and the Archbishop of Canterbury is manifestly incapable of distinguishing (middle) east from west, preferring instead to dwell in Middle Earth.


Blogger Manfarang said...

How many Anglicans in England will go to church this Sunday?

7 June 2008 at 12:49  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Manfarang,

The Lord is not concerned with outward show, but with the heart. It is not going to church that matters as much as being the church.

7 June 2008 at 13:22  
Blogger Manfarang said...

They won't be reading their Bibles either.

7 June 2008 at 13:31  
Blogger Manfarang said...

And talking about compasses.I hope the service this Sunday will begin with the hymn "In Christ there is no East or West"
And I also wonder whether Caroline will feel like going to her Knowle parish church or stay home and take care of the kids.

7 June 2008 at 16:27  
Anonymous edward tattysyrup said...

Manfarang - she has people to do that sort of thing for her. She probably has people to go to church for her too - at public expense!

7 June 2008 at 17:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Religious illiteracy' is right. The awards under the Faith Communities Capacity Building Fund made to the Buddhist Community last year went almost entirely to groups widely recognized as cults. Somebody didn't do their cramming before they decided to throw money at the problem of inadequate social cohesion!

7 June 2008 at 18:26  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

it offers some hope , if our faith is worth anything and i do think it is "unique" then what is wrong in the goverment giving it support, unless it really is the trip from methodist to marxist with out informing anyone or desireing there view or vote .

its as though new labour have tried to ex sponge christianity out of the picture . as though a set of rules and laws is no different to faith is what they would like us to believe.

the minsister for religion !! might as well as appoint the bishop of labour .

this making of politics as being the be all and end all , is very disturbing as it either reflects ignornace on behalff of this goverment or will full evil. i have every respect for an athiest wanting to debate if we should worship god or even his/her existence, but tricking or fooling the people and in so doing removing there freedoms and liberties , is very much the actions of a second rate peddler of snake oil, he seeks power without the wisdom or the enquiry .

to quote from a nother article , in indian jones and the last crusade donovan rather foolishly chooses the jeweld cup in stead of the plain one used by a carpenter , so it is with gordon brown and his cronies , that they choose the most visible oppulant , ornate and complex cup , in favour of the one that everyone else would use .

nu labour was very wrong to sideline the C of E and also the roman catholic faith in there understanding of the cup that everyday folk use .

it is hard to see just how long it will take to put this error right , so much basic christianity , voice and writing has been lost , and the clergy have been led into a sort of intellectual appeasement .it will have to find its foundations and think and pray for the tools to rebuild .

but what is most clear is how poor we have become in its absence and how marginalised mature love and christian principals are .

there is a whole swathe of the population who think christianity doesnt matter , how will we ask them to come and seek the christ?? , you cant spin it or sell it , making it seductive is as dangerous as a cult.

as many of us do, we know god is real , and have all done our personal delusion checks , our voices should have not have been corrupted or ignored !!

7 June 2008 at 22:03  
Blogger Can Bass 1 said...

Minister for Religion indeed. I shall speak to the Bishop! (We were at school together.)

8 June 2008 at 08:38  
Anonymous taken for granted said...

Spot on your Grace. I am very suspicious about the appointment of a Minister for religion. seems to me like another nail in the coffin: when the ethnic majority twig the potential they will of course hijack the bandwagon as usual with screams about prejudice.

8 June 2008 at 09:07  
Blogger Johnny Norfolk said...

I think The Church of England would do far better to put its own house in order first. However its findings about the Labour government a correct in every way. They have realised that in the long term people are far better off under Conservatives even if there has to be some pain on the way. With Labour it stars off with all sort of promises and just gets worse and worse as we have seen again with this lot.

8 June 2008 at 09:31  
Anonymous Cracker said...

The global elite want a monoculture, Bliar's Faith academies are to meld all religions into one.

Note what he says next on the Issue and see, he will go on about how we need to take the best of all religions blah blah blah.

9 June 2008 at 00:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace, it appears that the Church and the Army have declared war on the Commies, in the interests of National Unity (and because we all want to stick the boot in aswell ) how can the Brtish Public support this.

9 June 2008 at 00:25  
Blogger Windsor Tripehound said...

Manfarang said...
They won't be reading their Bibles either.

Just finished a "Genesis to Revelation" reading (which started last September), so some of us do read our Bible.

Hot tip: reading your Bible on the bus is a sure-fire way to ensure that nobody sits next to you!

10 June 2008 at 15:48  
Blogger sexy said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

14 January 2009 at 07:30  

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