The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Left-wing bishops who run the Church of England, have published a 52-page pastoral letter stacked with leftist clichés.
It might very well be the straw which breaks the camel’s back. It vilified Thatcherism, the market economy, the Tory welfare reforms, and all the policies which give Britain the highest growth of any developed economy. Worst of all they urged Britain to deepen integration with Europe rather than to consider leaving.
Presumably, the Church’s House of Bishops believe surrendering powers to an unelected government and unelected courts, along with scrapping Trident, echoes Christian teaching. If so, they would horrify their membership, most of whom remain staunchly conservative. Churchgoers are also likely to be older, and therefore more likely to be Eurosceptic, and even perhaps UKIP voters.
The Church has gone from “the Tory Party at prayer” to what amounts to “the religious wing of the Labour Party” according to The Sun – the best-selling newspaper of Britain’s working class. The CoE has drawn fire from David Cameron and Cabinet ministers like Ian Duncan Smith, who mocked the Church’s dwindling membership last week.
By betraying its own roots and its own congregants, the Church should not be surprised its membership is dropping. In trying to sound like the Green Party they do themselves no favours, nor is there any hope for them to win converts among young, progressive liberals. The Times recently reported atheists now outnumber believers, and no amount of parroting the Greens will win over that part of British society to God.
Writing for the Daily Mail, Amanda Platell condemned the CoE manifesto in harsh terms: “Like many natural conservatives, I was deeply offended by the letter’s underlying implication that Labour supporters somehow have a monopoly on compassion and kindness”. She says recent statements by the Church’s leaders could force her to convert to Catholicism!
While these CoE bishops pretend to be non-partisan and politically neutral, the evidence suggests otherwise. There is a clear agenda on the part of Archbishop Welby and other left-leaning bishops against the Conservative party and its policies. It seems they would overturn centuries of tradition to present a ‘nicer’ face of the Church of England, even if it means promoting policies which sound like something out of a Socialist Workers Party meeting.
What happened to the days of the Church of England representing conservative, muscular Christianity? The historian Robert Conquest’s Second Law of Politics says any institution which is not explicitly Right-wing, will inevitably become Left-wing. This is what we are seeing, not just with the Church but also the BBC.
Archbishop Welby should know better. His agenda is at-odds with churchgoers and out of touch with the public mood. Even Thomas Aquinas taught patriotism is a virtue, so the Church should defend British identity rather than our EU membership. There is great support in Britain for leaving the European Union. Only two days ago the Daily Mail reported 51% would vote Out. Maybe it is because the British public want to be governed by whom they’ve elected, not by bureaucrats whose names they haven’t heard of.
Our campaign to Get Britain Out would advise the Church to mind its own flock, and also to keep out of fraught political issues like our EU membership, particularly so close to the General Election. Christianity is characterised by the importance of personal responsibility, not by blind belief in the State looking after everyone. It is the religion of individual freedom. So why are these bishops urging Britain to remain shackled to the rule of Brussels? The quicker we Get Britain Out of the EU the better – without unwelcome interference from the Church of England.
Alan Murad is a Research Executive at Get Britain Out