Welby Sentamu 2
Church of England

EU Referendum: Sentamu preaches "moral responsibility" and Welby "peace and reconciliation"

 

Don’t you just love the Church of England’s concept of ‘neutrality’ in the matter of the EU Referendum? A whole sea of bishops has endorsed the Remain campaign (that list has since extended, and is still doing so, and not a single one has demurred over the Cameron-Osborne strategy of terrorising the electorate with ‘Project Fear’). The Archbishop of York declared for Remain a few days ago, and now the Archbishop of Canterbury has done the same (with an emotive video appeal) following his recent smearing of a prominent BeLeaver with the allegation of “legitimising racism”. This coordinated completely coincidental archiepiscopal outpouring of Europhilia comes just a fortnight before the crunch vote which will determine whether we remain party to European political integration, or revert simply to being a member of a looser trade bloc, which is what we were told we were joining in 1973, and so affirmed in 1975. The Prime Minister must be delighted that the Established Church is doing the Establishment’s bidding.

Justin Welby is keen to stress that the Church of England does not have an official line on the EU Referendum. It’s just that it appears so. Imagine if the Government had declared itself to be neutral on the matter, and one by one the Cabinet had toured the TV studios to endorse ‘Stronger In’ while slagging off leading BeLeavers. Do you not think people might detect a hint of predisposition, if not a prejudiced and pre-ordained agenda? It is surely a façade of institutional neutrality which permits the full weight of its collective leadership not merely to express a “personal view”, but to dedicate its entire Church House and Bishopthorpe/Lambeth Palace communications machinery (and so staff and financial resources) to ensure the effective dissemination of that message in the national and social media. This amounts to a ‘non-party campaign‘ under Electoral Commission rules. And to endorse ‘Remain’ with appeals to Christian moral responsibility, as John Sentamu does, is verging on the abuse of religious office and the exertion of undue spiritual influence, which, for some, is a grave matter indeed.

This is not an argument for bishops and archbishops to butt out of the secular political sphere (if such a thing exists): it is a plea for spiritual integrity and reflexive honesty in institutional positionality. One could not credibly assert that the institution of Monarchy is politically neutral on the matter of EU membership if the Queen slags off Boris/Gove/Farage while the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge are singing the enlightened praises ‘Remain’. The institution of Monarchy is not castles, palaces and Crown Jewels: it is princes and kings – living people – in communion with history and ancestry. And so it is with the Church of England: the church is its people. When bishops and archbishops unite to express a unanimous view, it is the church that speaks. Their professed Referendum ‘neutrality’ is a convenient agnostic cloak for a pathological Europhile disposition: everyone knows it’s a ruse to sustain the peace between the pro-EU bishops and the majority Brexit-leaning laity. There is no convenient via media in this referendum: either we remain or leave. It is a very un-Anglican assignation.

If the Church of England had really sought neutrality, its leaders would have done as the Queen and senior members of the Royal Family do: keep mum; not express any public view at all. Discretion is the soul of disinterest: declaration is the meat of partisanship.

The two archbishops may be united for Remain, but they take very different approaches to their mission. Dr Sentamu’s apologetic is replete with value judgments, platitudes, constitutional errors and misunderstandings of international law. The headline and associated picture are a wham of a declaration: ‘Our commitments to our European partners cannot be lightly cast aside – that’s why I’ll be voting to Remain‘, he broadcasts to the world, with accompanying beflagged sandcastle over which a Lillipution Union Jack is subsumed to a humongous EU circle of stars. Yes, that’s all sub-editorial baggage, but inferred fairly from the content, and the Archbishop hasn’t tweeted any censure or discontent. Dr Welby, on the other hand, prefaces his moderate, humble and reasoned appeal with acres of ground dedicated to war and the pity of war. His theme is peace and reconciliation, and his heart overflows with love, not judgment. You can even sense a hug for Boris: the Archbishop of Canterbury’s words are fragrant with grace, and the accompanying image is one of sombre reflection of the imperative of peace, peace, peace. It is profoundly sensitive, and almost sensible.

But the Archbishop of York is like a trumpet in a wayside chapel: “I haven’t yet heard a cogent argument for why we should be out,” he snapped at the Times a few weeks ago. Perhaps he needs an aid, unless he truly believes that all those intelligent, educated and thoughtful BeLeavers are unable to string together a sound and valid case. The Archbishop of Canterbury is more generous: “I have huge respect for politicians on both sides as they seek to put their case, a case in which they genuinely believe, and which they know matters hugely,” he writes. Both essays merit a thorough theo-political fisking, but life’s too short and death can be better spent.

Dr Sentamu makes many sound observations: both Leave and Remain campaigns have been shallow and crude. Promises are important, but he appears to prefer modern history to the long centuries of developed democracy and millennia of cultural cultivation. His initial appeal is to Burkean notions of conservatism: society does not merely consist of the living, but also of those who preceded us and those who will succeed. Individuals live in communion with the living and the dead, and to be mindful of this is conducive to well-being, good stewardship and mutual flourishing. And to deny history is indeed to deny national identity. Institutions are not immutable: they must adapt organically to the concerns and priorities of each generation, but preserve the essence of their meaning, foundation and constitution. Europe is indeed bigger than European institutions: on this we can all agree.

But it is curious, having observed the need for renewal and change in order to effect necessary reform, that Dr Sentamu believes treaties to bind a nation “in perpetuity”. Setting aside the sovereign and constitutional matter of a parliament not being able to bind its successors “in perpetuity”, treaties are man-made contracts: they can be cancelled, amended and, more importantly, exchanged for better contracts. There is, of course, no virtue in contracts ‘broken’, and that is what Dr Sentamu believes a Leave vote would amount to. It would, for him, constitute a broken promise, a breach of trust, which would cause all the nations of the earth never again to wish to do business with us, for our word would no longer be our bond. This is quite odd. Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty provides for this very eventuality: the option to leave the European Union is set out cogently in clauses of the Constitutional Treaty. The desire to leave is an acknowledged possibility with constitutional validity. The binding “in perpetuity” is a figment of Dr Sentamu’s theo-political imagination.

“My conscience tells me that I must vote to Remain in the European Union,” he writes, which is fine, but why impugn everyone else’s sense of political morality to assert a personal conscience perspective? The international order is in a state of constant flux, and needs to be if it is to be responsive to the revolutions and aspirations of the people. Is the Archbishop of York really saying that all treaties which bind disparate clans may never be decided afresh, for to do so would constitute a failure to accept responsibilities and fulfil inherited obligations? So Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia should have remained bound together, no matter what bloody civil wars or ethno-religious campaigns of terror were waged in pursuit of independence? Scotland may not secede from the United Kingdom, for the Scots have an inherited obligation to honour the Acts of Union? May not a treaty-bound empire fracture and fragment as its tribes yearn for liberty and identity?

Dr Sentamu bemoans Brexiters’ inability to keep promises, as though the Treaty of Rome were an oath sworn on pain of divine wrath. And then we get:

We should continue to work and walk together. Reconciliation and honourable political and economic accommodation are always possible. That goes some way to explain why British membership of the UN, Nato, the Commonwealth, and now the EU have survived this long. Isn’t the best way of winning over those we disagree with to make them our friends? Moral responsibilities must never give way to pragmatism.

To vote Remain is a moral responsibility? Are Christians who wish to leave the EU somehow deficient in their morality? Are they rashly abdicating their responsibility? Is it therefore morally irresponsible to vote Leave? Does that not make voting Leave a sin? If voting to remain in the EU is our moral responsibility, would it not be God’s will that we do so, and so the Christian thing to do? Would not Jesus exhort his disciples always to be morally responsible? Is the Archbishop of York seriously suggesting that Jesus would vote Remain on 23rd June because it is the morally responsible and most virtuously Christian thing to do? At least the Archbishop of Canterbury has the humility to admit: “In no sense do I have some divine hotline to the right answer.” Dr Sentamu’s hotline seems to go straight to the right hand of God.

“But nothing is sadder than someone who has lost his memory,” he then opines, quoting Henry Chadwick. “The same is true of nations in general and of Great Britain in particular,” he adds. Surely the nation that lost its memory is the one which believes that 40 years of European political integration nullifies centuries of developed democracy, liberty and rights. Surely the nation that lost its memory is the one which forgets why millions of our youngest, finest and bravest died in two world wars.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is far more cultivated. He wraps his political appeal in so much theology and compassion that one might be persuaded he is right:

At the heart of Britain’s Christian heritage are certain glorious principles. They are what make the best of our nation, whether we are Christians, of another faith or of no faith. They come from Jesus’s teaching, especially in the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes.

Among those principles is a vision of peace and reconciliation, of being builders of bridges, not barriers…

And off we go to the Somme, cemeteries and his father-in-law’s sadness at the waste and loss. These paragraphs are replete with mental scars and noble feelings. There are exhortations to love our neighbour and show mercy and hospitality to the poor, the alien and the stranger. But then comes a disquieting manipulation. Perhaps it is inadvertent; a little careless or uncharacteristically irreflective. Speaking of Our Glorious Dead, he writes: “How those who fought would vote in the referendum is unknowable, and likely to be as varied as how people today will vote. No one can conscript them to one side or the other.” And yet he does precisely that, just as the Prime Minister has previously done, and just as Jean-Claude Juncker did with his crass advice that “Eurosceptics should visit war graves“. If you preach that the EU is righteously and sacrificially looking forward, and then say: “Those who fought in two world wars were not looking back but forward. Those who built the EU after the two wars, in which millions of Europeans had died, looked forward”, you are conscripting the sacrifice of our war dead to your side. That is an undue and imperceptive influence.

No Christian who wants to leave the European Union is not also concerned, as the Archbishop of Canterbury manifestly is, with “sacrifice, generosity, vision beyond self-interest, suffering for others, helping the helpless”. We simply believe that freedom and democracy are nullified and negated by our continuing membership of the EU, and that Europe needs a better settlement of hope and virtue. To vote Leave is not to be self-absorbed or to care “only about ourselves”. We are indeed most human when we exist for others, but our others include the 20+ European nations who are not in the EU, as well as the starving and destitute of Africa, who are unable to sell their beans and grain into Fortress EU without incurring 7-30% tariffs, thereby making the fruit of their labours uncompetitive with the produce of the heavily-subsidised Common Agricultural Policy. Where is the justice in that? How is that an expression of economic love for the African?

“This referendum seems to me to be so important because it is about our vision of what kind of country we are, for ourselves and for the world,” Dr Welby says. Does he not want a world in which the Greeks can get what they vote for? Does he not want a world in which mass migration and 50% youth unemployment matter more than the maximum wattage of kettles and vacuum cleaners? Does he not want a world in which Christians are free to wear crosses in the workplace? Does he not want a world of good governance, accountability and transparency? He says the EU “needs renewed vision; major reforms”, apparently oblivious to the fact that the Prime Minister was impotent to secure the most modest of welfare reform, despite having promised to do so in his election manifesto. He doesn’t disclose what these “major reforms” must be; nor does he say how they might ever be achieved.

Perhaps, in his next YouTube video, the Archbishop of Canterbury might explain his “renewed vision” for the EU/Europe. And, in the meantime, both archbishops might consent to debate the issues of the EU Referendum with Christians for Britain, who have issued the invitation.

  • Graham Wood

    These two gentlemen would have been wiser to heed the advice attributed to ‘honest Abe’
    President Abraham Lincoln
    “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt”

  • magnolia

    Superb article, length fully justified. At least some Bishops have been more percipient.

    Quite why any Christian would support super-statism and all the totalitarianism thereby implied is quite beyond me, and beyond most of the population. Which one hopes they just might ponder, but some seem not to.

    They are led by the nose by forces they fail to analyse, and which are- once you get to the active kernel- profoundly antipathetic to Christ.

  • Royinsouthwest

    Has any journalist asked the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office if he has apologised yet to Nigel Farage for implying that he is a racist?

  • And once again the CofE hierarchy proves that they are completely out of touch with the least & the lowly, and perfectly in-touch with the well-educated & well-heeled. They extend one hand towards the poor with “good deeds” whilst slapping them down with the other. “Know your place, your hopes & fears are ungodly and unwelcome”. Like the pharisees in today’s lectionary reading, they sit at the table thinking to themselves, “Does Jesus know what kind of people these are. They’re racists.” Then they wonder why their inner-city churches are bereft of ordinary, working class voters, their whole institution propped up by (diminishing) numbers of “respectable”, middle-class, professionals.

  • sarky

    It doesn’t matter what they say. They are so irrelevant to the majority in this country that their feeble bleetings will have zero effect on the result of this referendum.

    • They’re irrelevant to the demographic who find them irrelevant – just as the voice of any “celeb” endorsement. They’re probably many times more influential than, say, the opinions of Keith Porteous Wood are but significantly less influential than say, Kim Kardashian.

      • sarky

        Perhaps a naked selfie or two would help their cause.

        • Pubcrawler

          You offering to send ’em a couple?

  • Dull Person

    Wouldn’t it be nice if we had an Archbishop of Canterbury who actually believed in the fundamental creeds of his denomination?

    37. The King’s Majesty hath the chief power in this Realm of England, and other
    his Dominions, unto whom the chief Government of all Estates of
    this Realm, whether they be Ecclesiastical or Civil, in all causes
    doth appertain, and is not, nor ought to be, subject to any foreign
    Jurisdiction.

    Where we attribute to the King’s Majesty the chief government, by
    which Titles we understand the minds of some slanderous folks to be
    offended; we give not to our Princes the ministering either of
    God’s Word, or of the Sacraments, the which thing the Injunctions
    also lately set forth by Elizabeth our Queen do most
    plainly testify; but that only prerogative, which we see to have
    been given always to all godly Princes in holy Scriptures by God himself; that
    is, that they should rule all estates and degrees committed to
    their charge by God, whether they be Ecclesiastical or Temporal,
    and restrain with the civil sword the stubborn and evil-doers.

    [Granted Article 37 is the single one of the articles which is not founded on Biblical witness, so it is not an essential part of Christianity in general. But neither is it contrary to Biblical witness, so each Anglican should nonetheless hold to it. As far as I can see being subject to no foreign jurisdiction rules out membership of the EU. Of course, there are much better reasons for wanting to leave the EU than the `39 articles say so’, including the principle of subsidiarity on which this article is based.]

  • David

    Thank you indeed Cranmer for this excellent piece, that sets out concisely and eloquently the folly of the Archbishops wholly unnecessary, inappropriate and ill-thought through support for our corrupt political class.

    Once again I see some members of the local Anglican clergy achieving standards that greatly exceed those of the C of E’s hierarchy, who are, with a few honourable exceptions, merely sycophants regarding the corrupt political elite that is running this nation to ruin. But perhaps support for the passing whims of the purely self interested political elite is the price that they have paid for their preferment ? Maybe that is the contract ? The C of E vine flourishes, but only from some of its roots.

    A mere local vicar at my Biblical evangelical Anglican church humbly delivered a thoughtful and balanced homily on the referendum warning both sides against casting their vote, for selfishness. He himself took no side. Aside from a tiny majority who might have erroneously declared that “vicars should never ever mention politics”, no objection could reasonably have been taken to his short address. His was the model to follow. However such ministers and priests are usually too busy doing God’s work, growing their churches and attracting followers to The Way, to seek “elevation” to The College of Bishops. More is the pity of this, because the episcopacy desperately needs more godly, Bible believing bishops to reform the top tier.

    But the actions of this pair have succeeded in achieving a rather difficult thing, which is to lower even further my already very low opinions of the majority of the C of episcopacy. The clumsy intervention of York comes over as a rather, historically and politically, ill-educated, badly thought through and poorly argued statement which would probably achieve but a very low mark in a school A level essay. Canterbury’s more nuanced and gentler statement is more palatable, but essentially hypocritical, since he uses his prominent national position to push the governments agenda, whilst cowardly sheltering behind the paper-thin facade of institutional neutrality. Does he think that we are stupid, and will fall for this ploy ?

    Has the C of E episcopacy deliberately hardened its hearts to the sufferings of many of the UK’s working classes as a result of unlimited immigration – shame on them ! Does the C of E’s episcopacy close its collective mind to the frustration of the African farmers unable to develop their country, because fortress EU erects trade barriers to exclude their good, cheap produce and protect and subsidise the inefficient, mainly French ones ? Has the C of E’s episcopacy decided to ignore the rape of the seas, a classic “Tragedy of the Commons”, by swarms of industrial sized EU fish harvesting ships, whilst the artisanal fishermen of West Africa starve and UK fishermen go bankrupt, their livelihood destroyed ? Does the C of E’s episcopacy deliberately set out to irritate many of their mainly Brexit leaning middle class, regular worshippers as possible; has he not noticed that these are the people who pay to keep the roof repaired and for everything else too, including the Bishops questionably over-elaborate robes ?

    I with many other committed Christians, who happen to be Anglicans, have ample evidence to demonstrate that the EU is a godless political empire, decidedly anti-Christian, which is crushing the hopes and aspirations of the working and middle classes in many of its formerly free constituent “member states”. How any caring Christian could be so blind to those sufferings is beyond me. But as this is a blog, not a my personal tome, I have mentioned but one of the many, many very bad and unjust effects of the EU’s selfish policies.

    The list of what is wrong with the EU, from its basic conception, to its constitutional architecture, its methods of proceeding based on lies and deception, and its irrational, ineffective and wasteful policies is an exceedingly long one so I shall stop at that point.

    It is such a disappointment that the two eminent Archbishops did not possess the wisdom of silence, so to keep their ill-judged, hopelessly misinformed, myopic, exceedingly selfish and poorly formed ideas within their expensive palaces.

    I just hope and pray that a majority of the UK voting public, having been tricked and lied to, into joining the wretched beast four decades ago, will finally recognise what a very thoroughly bad, elitist empire it truly is, and Vote Leave !

  • Inspector General

    “Peace and Reconciliation”! Bloody idiot. It’s not 1946, Welby!

    Was it too much to expect the Temple not to side with Caesar on this occasion…

  • Inspector General

    As these two damnable priests have tied the flesh-less bones of the despicable Heath to their costumes, we can of course expect their joint resignation in the event of Brexit…

  • Uncle Brian

    If the Church of England had really sought neutrality, its leaders would have done as the Queen and senior members of the Royal Family do: not to express a public view at all.

    The Archbishop of Canterbury is neutral but Justin Welby is voting Remain.
    The Archbishop of York is neutral but John Sentamu is voting Remain.

    Paleface he speak with forked tongue.

  • len

    The Church tied to the State is like a person shackled to a corpse the corruption will eventually infect both…
    Jesus came that we might have Life and we Christians need the Life that only God can provide…..

  • The Church of England really does hate us. It has long given its blessing to the mass immigration and Islamization which will, in time, make the British a minority and all but extinguish Christian worship. And now, it declares its support for a project specifically designed to do away with democratic, accountable government, with all the consequences that holds for our freedom. The church could have sided with the people but it sided with the élites. What a sad day.

  • IanCad

    The odds offered on David Davis becoming the next CP leader or PM are 50/1 & 101/1 respectively.
    Worth a flutter?

  • Dreadnaught

    ++Welby would do well to take on board the looks on the faces of Merkel and Hollande as Farage spells out the truth of what they don’t want to hear in Brussels.
    http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/610529/video-Nigel-Farage-European-Parliament-Angela-Merkel-Francois-Hollande

  • Politically__Incorrect

    In his DT article, the archbishop used the phrase “succumbing to our worst instincts” over immigration. As he often does, he failed to expand or explain what exactly he means by “worst instincts”. Instead, he leaves the comment hanging in the air like some ominous black cloud with the implications of something sinister. What does he actually mean? If he thinks that brexit supporters want to put all immigrants into concentration camps while sealing the borders of fortress Britain and pointing our guns at the rest of the world lest they try to have anything to do with us then he should find the courage to actually say that in plain English instead of the obfuscating language he actually used. If that is effectively what he means by “worst instincts” then he is smearing around 50% of the population by making a false accusation against them. How is it encouraging the peace and reconciliation that he keeps talking about when he imputes to so many the “worst instincts” of human nature?

    • magnolia

      What they do not take into account is that whilst some of people’s worse instincts may be brought into play whilst some people discuss immigration, far worse, and arguably the worst instincts are brought into play whilst involved in war, and bombing whole villages with children in for strategic reasons. Just war, whatever one thinks of the concept, is realistically long gone. Yet the C of E is largely still willing to bless the accoutrements of maiming, raping, disease, blanket bombing, and tortured death, whilst loudly bemoaning even the slightest whiff of prejudice over immigration.

      I would far rather be turned down for a job or insulted than bombed to oblivion, so why is the C of E not more loudly defensive of accountable democracy, of peace, and of diplomatic effort? Why do they not decry provocative placements of missiles pointed on the Russian and Chinese borders? Why do they not decry the unjust demonisation of Russia?

      Many of us do not want a ghastly superstate run by super-rich vested interests. Why on earth would any Christian? Some of us have given up money to serve the church and we are entitled to ask why the church is so impressed by the European super-rich oligarchy, and so unimpressed by those who have given up things. Where are the super-rich oligarchy who make no pretence at discipleship praised in the gospels exactly? I don’t see it.

  • bluedog

    Well, Your Grace, is it any surprise that the Established Church supports the position of the elected government? Possibly not.

    The fun will come if Brexit prevails and Cameron resigns, to be replaced by Boris Johnson. One anticipates a Damascene conversion by Welby, with rhetorical flourishes disavowing any previous commitment.

    However Sentamu seems so far out of his depth that he would be wise not to attempt any form of recantation, sticking instead to the ancient lie of ‘I have been misquoted’.

  • carl jacobs

    I don’t think that the EU can succeed, as I have said before. But there is a point worth addressing in the AoC’s statement. The strategic question of Europe is “Who is responsible for European security?” The end of WWII allowed Europeans to evade the issue that has vexed Europe for centuries. The US conveniently acted as the hegemon to guarantee security. European security became an American responsibility – as indicated by the recent poll showing Europeans unwilling to honor Article V guarantees while being quite certain the Americans would. But at such time when the US departs, or when the US is compelled by circumstance to focus its attention elsewhere, the question will return with a vengeance. And Europe is quite frankly both unprepared and unwilling to face it. There are many people who see the EU as the replacement hegemon and fear what will happen to Europe should the US leave without any potential replacement.

    That’s the argument behind the AoCs statement. How will Europe sort out European security in the absence of a committed US when Europe is still a disparate collection of nations? It is a serious question, and it deserves a serious answer.

    • DP111

      America has no choice but to be the guarantor of European security

      The idea of a EU army, with a re-armed Germany as the leader, will send shivers down the backs of almost all European countries. As well as Russia and France. Far from enabling security, such a move will make all East European nations flee to Mother Russia. This will panic Germany as well.

      America is the only choice for everyone’s sake, including Germany and Russia.

      • carl jacobs

        The US most assuredly does have a choice. Europe’s chronic inability to address its own security does not instantly transmute into a perpetual American obligation. You are illustrating the “unprepared and unwilling” part of my comment.

  • Inspector General

    Archbishop of Canterbury gives refugees his home – Telegraph
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk › News › UK News › Immigration
    20 Sep 2015 – The Archbishop of Canterbury has promised to offer sanctuary for Syrian refugees at Lambeth Palace. The Most Rev Justin Welby will welcome …

    Right then chaps. Has Welby succumbed to his better in stink and changed his mind over that as nothing seems to be happening. Perhaps he’s not too amused at the idea of Anglican regalia being burnt on his beloved lawn by Allah’s finest, and the female staff sexually assaulted. Surely not, as that would be “succumbing to our worst instincts”, which apparently is not abdication of all reason…

    • Coniston

      Would these be Syrian Christian refugees? If they were, presumably he might be accused of being hostile to Islam.

      • Inspector General

        What! And risk headlines like “Welby condemned by parliament for only offering refuge to Christian asylum whatevers. Outrageous discrimination, says PM”

        • Inspector General

          But then…

          “Dead Bodies reported to be on lawn after Muslim Syrian asylum seekers ambush Christian ones at Lambeth Palace”

  • Sigfridiii

    Both Archbishops are part of the Westminster Bubble and have no comprehension of what life is like for ordinary working people in this country, who have become no more than fodder for bankers and ruthless employers. Welby is a very rich man who will never have to worry about an appointment with a GP – all the bishops get private health care.

    • David Harkness

      Siggy, how do you know Welby is a ‘very rich man’, In my experience he is not as poor as a church mouse, but I don’t believe that he is a rich man. Private health care doe not make you rich or well, I had private health care when I was working, and I found that in some instances the NHS was as good or superior.

      • Sigfridiii

        It is a matter of public record. Here is an Old Etonian, living in a medieval palace almost opposite the Houses of Parliament, with a large staff and a substantial budget provided by the Church, appointed ultimately by David Cameron, a member of the House of Lords, a key figure in the establishment, who faces none of the challenges faced by ordinary people struggling to make ends meet in a Britain which is being forced into penury by Osborne’s austerity, while the plutocrats belonging to families like Welby’s grow ever richer. And ultimately Welby is not answerable to any electorate or even to his Church. You might wish to debate the merits of private health care, but there are many who long to get even NHS health care and find it difficult to access in Cameron’s Britain. It does not go down well in such circumstances to be told by someone in such a privileged position that the status quo is the best of all possible worlds.

        • David Harkness

          Er, you do know that Justin Welby does not own Lambeth Palace? You do know that he has a staff because of his office and will lose them when he is no longer the AoC, You are aware that the large budget provided by the Church is for Church use and is not for his personal use? Membership of the house of Lords is not a paying post, other expenses per attendance, but £45K pa does not make one a rich man
          Please substantiate your statement that he is ‘very rich man’

          • Sigfridiii

            Living in Lambeth is one of the many perks of the job – like Chequers for the PM. You don’t need to own it when it is provided for free.

  • Inspector General

    Google “eu plans for the future”

    EU Plan To Abolish British Army If UK Vote To Stay In Europe | Your …
    yournewswire.com/eu-plan-to-abolish-british-army-if-uk-vote-to-stay-in-europe/
    29 Feb 2016 – But under the new EU plans we could in future be blocked from researching new military technology which would benefit the British Army, …

    EU Plan To Abolish British Army If UK Vote To Stay In Europe
    Posted on February 29, 2016 by Sean Adl-Tabatabai in News, UK // 7 Comments
    EU unveil plans to abolish British army if Britain remains in Europe

    The EU plan on merging all of Europe’s militaries into one giant Euro Army, and have said they will dismantle the British Army if Britain votes to stay in the EU in the upcoming referendum in June.

    If Britons vote to stay a part of the European Union then the UK military will be forced to share sensitive weapons technology with the rest of Europe under a new agreement.

    Express.co.uk reports:

    Britain would also be expected to contribute around £375million to the scheme – enough to rehire all of the 20,000 soldiers the Government sacked in its last defence spending review.

    Last night critics branded the plans “scandalous” and said only a vote for Brexit in the upcoming referendum can guarantee the future of the 356-year-old British army.

    EU Plan To Abolish British Army If UK Vote To Stay In Europe
    Posted on February 29, 2016 by Sean Adl-Tabatabai in News, UK // 7 Comments
    EU unveil plans to abolish British army if Britain remains in Europe

    The EU plan on merging all of Europe’s militaries into one giant Euro Army, and have said they will dismantle the British Army if Britain votes to stay in the EU in the upcoming referendum in June.

    If Britons vote to stay a part of the European Union then the UK military will be forced to share sensitive weapons technology with the rest of Europe under a new agreement.

    Express.co.uk reports:

    Britain would also be expected to contribute around £375million to the scheme – enough to rehire all of the 20,000 soldiers the Government sacked in its last defence spending review.

    Last night critics branded the plans “scandalous” and said only a vote for Brexit in the upcoming referendum can guarantee the future of the 356-year-old British army.

    One former servicewoman, who asked not to be named, told Express.co.uk the proposals would require the the military to change the centuries old Oath of Allegiance for new soldiers, because they would no longer be “bearing true allegiance” to the Queen.

    • Dreadnaught

      Scary stuff; but not the first time this has raised its head as there were reports that Germany and Netherlands have already agreed to merge their military. We still have a vote to veto such matters before it would affect us but could we trust our politicians when they dangle the usual financial inducements? It would no doubt result in us leaving Gibraltar for certain or be used to keep small unhappy nations in check Soviet style.
      Die to defend my Country or die to protect a politicians pension plan?…Hmm…

  • Inspector General

    EU to launch kettle and toaster crackdown after Brexit vote
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/…/eu-to-launch-kettle-and-toaster-crackdown-after-brexit-vote2...
    11 May 2016 – The EU is poised to ban high-powered appliances such as kettles, toasters, hair-dryers within months of Britain’s referendum vote, despite …
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    No it’s not a spoof report. Remember the Vacuum Cleaner ban is already in place. So will life ever be the same again with an EU Toaster and EU Kettle. Who knows, but we know this, you better get up a few minutes earlier in the morning if your going to make it to work on time using those new things as they naturally take longer to do the same job…However, the EU Commission will tell you that its better that way…

    • Royinsouthwest

      Twenty minutes with a relatively low powered vacuum cleaner might leave floors looking just as clean as the same period of time with a more powerful one provided the place is not too dusty to begin with. Therefore it could be argued that low powered vacuum cleaners will save energy and money.

      Kettles are an entirely different matter. The amount of energy required to raise a given volume of water from room temperature to boiling point is a matter of basic physics. If it were not for heat losses the energy required would be the same whether the temperature of the water was raised rapidly or slowly. However, because of heat losses the longer the kettle takes to raise the water to boiling point the more energy is wasted. Therefore low powered kettles will use slightly more energy, and cause a slight rise in electricity bills.

      Therefore, unless the EU is planning to issue a new law lowering the boiling point of water its proposals for limiting the power of kettles is bad for the environment which is one of the gods of the pagan EU pantheon.

      • Inspector General

        Seems to be what the EU does best – narrow freedoms right down until there is only one way, their way. Reminds this man of the Green Fascists claim that if we are to feed the world, we can no longer use crops to fatten animals. That too is inefficient and giving up meat ‘will be good for you’….

      • Dreadnaught

        Roy, I find your familiarity with the minutiae of housework somewhat disturbing: you must invite the Inspector round for a chorus of ‘I want to break free’, no doubt you can discuss with him the relative advantages of hose length and such.

        • Inspector General

          ‘Housework’. Yes heard of that. Er, what is it again…

          • Dreadnaught

            I refer you to the lately referenced vid on my post IGGY.

          • Inspector General

            As yes, Mr Mercury as was. Expect he was popular in Orlando where a certain gay nightclub is presently nailing up a “No Muslims!” notice…

          • The Explorer

            The killer’s father has conformed that his son’s actions had nothing to do with religion.

          • Inspector General

            Been over to Pink News. As expected, a mass outpouring of grief, some anti Islam sentiment, but most of all, lashes of Anti Christian hate. Quite astonishing…

          • Uncle Brian

            Does it really astonish you, Inspector?

          • Inspector General

            Well, yes Brian. But one can offer some insight into the mindset. Militant Homosexuals see Islam as a ‘persecuted minority’ in the West. They themselves considered themselves a persecuted minority too. So the idea of one persecuted minority killing another just doesn’t compute. To give you an idea of how deep this is entranced in the militant, if a black personage disparages LGBT, then the commentators on Pink News are quick to point out that said personage would be descended from slaves. Victim Mentality, you see. No escaping from it…

          • Uncle Brian

            There’s a curious parallel here in Brazil just at the moment. Earlier this month a priest was arrested for sexually molesting a 15-year-old boy. The two were in a sauna together but the priest is saying nothing happened. Not only that, but since he’s black and the boy is white, he’s being persecuted as a “minority” …

          • The Explorer

            The US authorities are investigating if it’s a hate crime against gays. Seems a statement of the obvious. Shooting people is a crime. You don’t do it because you love them. I suppose it’s fair enough to investigate whether it could have been any nightclub or was specifically targeted for being a gay club.

            What the authorities are desperately trying to avoid is having to say that he did it because he was a Muslim acting out the precepts of his faith. Unfortunately, ISIS are saying it for them.

          • Inspector General

            It may well be a result of merely racial differences. He was an Afghan.Those of the lesser achieving peoples tend not to consider disagreeable human life of any merit whatsoever. That’s why they are lesser achieving – rejecting that they disapprove of, in the most violent of ways.

          • Pubcrawler

            “Shooting people is a crime. You don’t do it because you love them.”

            Apparently it’s the “compassionate thing to do”, according to this cleric who, er, spoke at an Orlando mosque …

            https://youtu.be/qBlwxqqAprQ

          • The Explorer

            It certainly gives mercy killing an unexpected twist. The main issue in the States arising from this incident, as far as I can see, is the question of gun laws.

        • Royinsouthwest

          I do my best to tidy up my house when I run out of space on the floors for leaving things lying around and start tripping over things!

          • Dreadnaught

            I’m sure you’d make the perfect couple.

          • Royinsouthwest

            I think such matters should be left to DanJO but he has been rather quiet lately!

          • Inspector General

            A dashing gay blade called DanJ0
            Come onto this site with such gusto
            It just goes to show
            And you’ll agree, you know
            You don’t have to rhyme that word ‘banjo’

      • David

        Did you not know that now the EU controls the physical relationship between the continent of Europe (and soon the rest of the world) and sea level. So at a touch of Empress Merkel’s switch she will soon elevate the entire land mass, and therefore all of us on it, to new dizzy heights of reduced atmospheric pressure. Hey presto, this will depress the boiling point, allowing the lower powered kettles to bring water to the boil even earlier than before. The fact that the elevated boiling water will not be hot enough to bring out the taste of the tea leaves, is a suitable punishment for those nasty, uppity Brit. tea addicts. In this way she will quell our rebellious ways. You have been warned !

        • Politically__Incorrect

          Very good comment David, if slightly surreal

          • David

            Thank you – ’twas meant to be surreal.

      • bluedog

        Vale the British Thermal Unit, which surely has no place in the brave new world of the EU.

    • This is true Inspector. And there are other more dastardly changes afoot after the 23rd June 2016, namely the passing of the authority to control our army and police forces to the EU. They will take their orders from the EU Commission in the near future instead of our government despite the oath the soldiers swear to our Queen. There are also plans in the pipeline to reduce the influence of The Monarchy.

      • Inspector General

        The Westminster weasels have kept that quiet, Marie…

      • Royinsouthwest

        Let us hope the members of our armed forces remember their existing oath and warn the traitors in government that they will be dealt with if they don’t back off.

  • Inspector General

    Springtime for Merkel and Germany
    Deutschland is happy and gay!
    We’re marching to a faster pace
    Look out, here comes the EU way!

    Springtime for Merkel and Germany
    Turkey’s a fine land to be sure!
    Springtime for Merkel and Germany
    Watch out, Europe, we’re going on tour!

  • DP111

    If there is a decisive referendum, the one on June 23 2016, is. If we assume that the EU lasts another 30 years, then if we stay in the EU, all national elections within Britain, for the next 30 years, have no importance except to change bums in parliament.

    However, if we leave the EU, we get the opportunity not just to change bums in parliament, but to change policies every four years, if we so desire.

    Thats what this is about – do we decide our future, or let others decide it for us.

  • DP111

    Both ABCs are voting to stay in the Westminster bubble. Thats what its all about.

  • dexey

    “… the Church of England does not have an official line on the EU Referendum” since I joined the Church of England a few years back I have been disappointed to find that it doesn’t seem to have an official line on anything at all.

  • mudlark1

    On hearing about Justin Welby’s pronouncements this morning, I really struggled to attend church this morning. In the end, I went and was at least rewarded by the sight of a dear friend who recently lost her husband and whom I have not seen for many months. Words cannot describe how unutterably sick I feel when I hear the hierarchy of the Church of England pontificating. They simply lower themselves in everyone’s estimation, particularly those working people who they pretend they want to reach. It’s not just the political class which needs to be overthrown but our spiritual leaders and if Brexit is the means then so be it..

    • David

      Yes we are being betrayed by most of the elite, political, academic and spiritual. The gulf between the people and the governing class has become an unbridgeable ocean. They are simply not listening to us. Either they go or else it will get very unpleasant, possibly dangerous. The people are certainly not going anywhere. We will get our country back.

      • Eustace

        Careful how you go. Anti-terrorism legislation gives the government power to investigate all threats, no matter how veiled, against its legitimate authority.

        The government has an absolute majority and this gives it the power to legislate as it wishes. We can vote it out at the next election, but we cannot dispute its right to exercise its mandate while it’s still in power.

        Politics being what it is, if the sentiments you express are representative of real public feeling, then support will coalesce around whatever party expresses them best, which will then form a legitimate government following an election victory. Trying to short circuit that process by claiming majority support for your own point of view and using this as excuse to promote civil unrest is nothing more than sedition, and as such can be legitimately suppressed using such force as necessary.

        Of course paranoid Christians will cry persecution at any attempt by the State to stop them riding roughshod over due process and imposing their beliefs on us all. But that won’t help them when the authorities come down on them like a ton of bricks and all reasonable citizens support such action as essential in the face of threats to our parliamentary democracy.

        There’s no difference between Muslims who preach jihad and Christians who make veiled threats about popular uprisings. Both are trying to use the threat of violence to influence the political process. Both can be legitimately suppressed.

        • David

          Get a grip.
          The threats are coming from you not me !

  • IanCad

    Like it or not, the Archbishop of York is at least out with it. It is such a shame that Welby is being slippery. Gone down a notch in my book.

  • Martin

    Sadly the archbishops are also in favour of ecumenicism where what one generation felt were essentials of the faith are abandoned in favour of union.

    There seems to be a marked similarity to the EU, where Britain abandons common law and democracy for government by decree.

    Perhaps the problem is that the archbishops really have no principles worth defending apart from a belief in unity – whatever that means.

    • Inspector General

      Government by decree, Martin. That’s how it was up until Charles I. Looks like democracy has had its day. One realised that would be the case eventually, but not during his lifetime!

      • Martin

        IG

        Hasn’t yet been completed. Loved your song tho’

  • KJS

    I read that an archbishop cannot vote to remain without being in breach of article 39 of articles of faith of the Church of England which state that the uk government shall not be subject to the jurisdiction of another country. Is this correct?

    • Uncle Brian

      XXXVII. Of the Civil Magistrates.

      THE Queen’s Majesty hath the chief power in this realm of England and other her dominions, unto whom the chief government of all estates of this realm, whether they be ecclesiastical or civil, in all causes doth appertain, and is not nor ought to be subject to any foreign jurisdiction.

      I’m only guessing, but I think they’d have a bit of a hard time trying to get that accusation to stick. The Remainers need only argue that the EU doesn’t count as a “foreign jurisdiction” because the UK is a member on equal terms with all the others. And if that doesn’t do the trick, they can just rewrite Article 37. The whole 39 articles have been revised from time to time over the centuries, haven’t they?

      http://www.eskimo.com/~lhowell/bcp1662/articles/articles.html

  • len

    Just when you think C of E leaders are getting their act together they announce by their actions that they haven’t got a clue what is going on….
    ‘Bumbling along’ might have had a certain whimsical attraction in the past for the C of E but now on reality important matters it is failing on a massive scale…

  • steroflex

    The Church that marries the spirit of the age becomes a widow in the next.
    And, of course, if you back side A against side B, you lose all the people who support side B at a stroke.
    I suppose they think this just doesn’t matter that much…

  • preacher

    The stance of the E.U & the ‘ Remain ‘ group plus it now appears many high prelates in the C of E would appear to endorse the old adage that ” When a friend starts to bully you, they are no longer a friend ! “.
    They are entitled to their opinions of course, but that’s all !. ” If the trumpet sounds an uncertain note, ” disregard it – don’t listen to a dodgy horn player with a bent trumpet.
    One could of course add that Sheep that follow shifty shepherds end up dead as Mutton or get the lamb ( Chop ) !.

    • len

      ‘don’t listen to a dodgy horn player with a bent trumpet’. Heath the pied piper that led us into the EU?.

  • The 2 archbishops seem to think belonging to the EU equates to ‘maintaining the unity of the Spirit’ and Sentamu believes that leaving means breaking promises. But the Bible talks of the necessity of freeing yourself from wicked or unwise pledges.

    “My son, if you have put up security for your neighbour,
    if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger,
    you have been trapped by what you said,
    ensnared by the words of your mouth.
    So do this, my son, to free yourself,
    since you have fallen into your neighbour’s hands:
    Go—to the point of exhaustion—
    and give your neighbour no rest!
    Allow no sleep to your eyes,
    no slumber to your eyelids.
    Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
    like a bird from the snare of the fowler.”
    (Proverbs 6:1-5 NIV)

    How can they seriously believe that it is a good thing to belong to an ungodly union – which oppresses the poor, rules without the consent or goodwill of those they govern, robs them of their hard earned money, deprives them of their rights, and overrules Christian laws, while providing undeserved wealth and privileges to an elite class?

    • David

      Excellent comment !

    • cacheton

      But your last paragraph could just as easily apply to the UK government, except for the consent bit. That is what I find so frightening – without Brussels breathing down it’s neck, which is in theory highly undesirable, the UK government would have been even worse than it already is. I hate the fact that it is Brussels who has had to direct our government on environmental issues, worker’s rights, making bankers accountable and many other things. Nobody else seems to be wondering why the UK government didn’t decide those things themselves and had to be told to do them by Brussels. If Brexit happens, there is no evidence to suggest that the UK government will suddenly start behaving responsibly.

      • Anna055

        On the environmental question: I heard a piece on radio (4, I think) looking at whether we would be greener in or out. They said that we had sometimes led on green policies, but had vetoed things at other times. The conclusion was that the jury seems to be out on this one….though the current government is more pro fracking than the EU…..but at least we can put some sort of pressure on them.

      • In my view, a democracy can fail at times; and occasionally a dictatorship can do a good job for their citizens. In a democracy, it is possible to enact changes peacefully; whereas in dictatorships, historically, changes of regime resulted from violent revolutions.

        The EU was a seemingly benign beast in its early stages, but it has already begun to show its teeth, and this helps one understand how dangerous it could become, once full grown.

        http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/06/brexit-facts-not-fear/

  • Shadrach Fire

    Your Grace,
    Catching up on recent posts I have to say how consistently right you have been in your appraisal of the prominent leaders comments.
    Of York and Canterbury, their views are so far skewed towards maintaining the status quo that one might as well threaten them that they will become subjugated to the Pope if we stay in.
    Clearly we must be nation that is free to consider it’s own future, free from the oppressive and undemocratic nature of the Council of Rome and all the irreligious pressures that pertain in the EU.

  • jimbo1978

    As a serving priest I was dismayed to hear of the Archbishops declaration of preference, I had assumed that in such high office it was incumbent upon them to be unifiers, during and after the vote, and therefore remain neutral, though contributing impartially perhaps. In my own ministry, I have tried to be a force of debate, posing questions and asking people to consider Gospel values, even if that leads them to different conclusions, and in this quest for neutrality (which I don’t find easy) I have felt undermined by their decision, however gracefully put, certainly in Justin Welby’s case. I now find myself tempted to say I am a Leave supporter to show my flock that it voting Leave is a perfectly Christian option, and that both options can be chosen for the right and wrong reasons.