Friday 21 February 2014

Who will rid us?

It's something about those hats.
Lefty bishops are absolutely nothing new, though this one does surprise me.  I remember an interview with Justin Welby on Radio 4 shortly before he became the Arch-Bishop of Canterbury, and I was struck at how eminently sensible he sounded - and a refreshing change from the dreary leftism of his dullard predecessor. But there must be something in those hats that sucks out a man's intelligence.  Welby has blundered into the welfare debate again.

There is little I could add to Simon Heffer's view on this, in that there is nothing at all moral about our welfare state. Aside from the obvious, it runs counter to what I always believed were the objectives of the modern CofE.  The Church, if anything, is supposed to encourage people to act selflessly, with neither praise nor recognition, of their own volition.  The welfare state is the very antithesis of this.  Not only does it create the very problems it was designed to solve, it also replaces the free will of the individual to act in a selfless and charitable way.  It replaces spontaneous community action with the dead hand of the state.

If anything, the Church of England should have embraced the ideal of Big Society, because that would have cleared the way for it to encourage and support communities in co-ordinating and addressing their own welfare needs, while also bringing a renewed sense of relevance for the Church.

We don't need another shrill, leftist voice in the debate.  We have any number to pick from, including the BBC, and it is out of step with the public in any case.  The volume of the far left message far exceeds its natural support among the people of England, and the way that the church has aligned itself with the far left speaks volumes about about how isolated and out of touch it is.  They mistake the voice of the NGO's and charities begging them for money, on behalf of "the poor", with the legitimate voice of the public.  As it grasps in the dark for relevance, the Church seemingly believes that bowing to media-land populism will slow the attrition rate on the pews.  But it is not saying anything we cannot get elsewhere.

Rather than taking a moral stand on idleness and want, as indeed the Church should, the Church has given way to fad, fashion and sentiment.  The Church is so unsure of itself and its role, that it has lost the confidence to preach morality. And if a church is not preaching morality, then what on Earth is it for?  But we have seen this before; an out of touch institution, struggling for relevance, perceived to be unpopular - and, in desperation, grasps for populist bandwagons.  Did someone say Prince Charles?  Or were you thinking of husky hugging David Cameron?  Anything for acceptability in the eyes of the rogue state broadcaster, who thinks the CofE, the Tories and the Royals are toxic brands.

It's not difficult to see how British society has lost its moral centre.  If the monarchy, the Conservative Party and the Church of England does not know what it believes in or what it stands for, then how can they be defenders of that which is right and good?

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