Church of England

Sentamu calls on Christians to pay more voluntary tax (which isn’t tax, but a free-willed tithe)

The Archbishop of York began his ‘state of the nation’ speech to Synod with a showdown: “On 20 January 2015, I launched this book, On Rock or Sand? Firm Foundations for Britain’s Future. Immediately, the book received two reactions. Those who hated it. And those who read it.”

This was an unfortunate provocation, not to say a bit of gratuitous guile, because some who read it still hated it, and some who hadn’t read it surged with mitre-licking adulation. Others still gave it a thoughtful and considered critique, but we don’t exist in Sentamu’s cosmology: if you are not for him, you are patently against him; if you don’t agree with him, you hate him.

Which is a neat prelude to a contentiously political Synod speech. If you don’t applaud it, you don’t understand it. Or, rather, if you think it sounds extremely left wing, you don’t grasp the theology of where he is coming from. Those who attended Synod sat through it, so you don’t have to. One person (evidently bored) emailed as the Archbishop was speaking: “There were so many tendentious assertions I can’t even be bothered to seriously engage with it on the floor.”

And much of it really isn’t worth engaging with. There’s a lot that sounds extremely left wing of the theology of where he is coming from, with a bit of anti-Brexit stoking, a lot of ‘common good’ waffle, the obligatory deployment of Grenfell Tower, and a swipe at the last Conservative manifesto (not unwarranted, though no equal treatment for Labour et al). One section on taxation, however, merits some analysis:

The main challenge on tax, and public spending, is that we don’t really have enough tax to pay for all the things we want to do together. This week’s debate on public sector pay has demonstrated that there is little sign of a coherent plan about how to fund the health service, education, social care, defence, housing, or transport infrastructure. Proposed solutions pit one section of society against another to provide the funds – either by cutting public spending for some, or increasing taxes for others. Surely the nature of communal action is that it is precisely action taken together.

And his proposed solution:

Members of Synod, to serve the common good, how many of us would be prepared to top up freely our income tax from our net monthly take home pay for Education, Health, and Social Care?

Please let us have a show of hands. We are among the 48% who, according to the British Social Attitudes survey (British Social Attitudes survey 34, NatCen), wanted higher taxes to pay for more spending on those three areas of the common good.

After his request for a show of hands, a majority of palms waved in adoration, which permitted the Archbishop to proclaim to the world (or the 12 watching via YouTube) that members of the General Synod of the Church of England are among the 48% of the country who would like to pay more voluntary tax. However, when this was put to an electronic vote, Synod voted not to include the Archbishop’s proposal as part of their response to the current economic climate. This suggests a Synod of hand-raising hypocrites, for they love to be seen by others as being supportive of ‘common good’ notions by being willing to pay more voluntary tax, but in private they are of the view that what’s theirs is theirs and they don’t want the state to take more, nor do they particularly want to give the state any more. Truly, they have received their reward in full.

This was all very embarrassing for the Archbishop: an unforced error; a bit of an own-goal.

But it is also very odd.

There is absolutely nothing stopping the Archbishop of York writing out a cheque to HMRC and gifting the Treasury any number of hundreds or thousands of pounds of his own money (or the money he cares for “as part of the whole human resource for our social flourishing”). They will surely cash his cheque and thank him very much for his voluntary tax. They might not spend it on the sort of social flourishing the Archbishop has in mind, but they will certainly grab it with both hands as a national resource to apportion as the government sees fit (Trident renewal, HS2, Hinkley Point C…). Anyone anywhere in the UK can pay more voluntary tax if they wish, and Christians have more justification than most, for it all belongs to Caesar.

But would it not be preferable to give the Church a voluntary tithe rather than the Treasury a voluntary tax? ‘Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver‘ (2Cor 9:7). There’s no point at all letting the bishops, clergy and laity see your hand waving in the air if you haven’t determined in your heart to give freely and cheerfully: ‘…and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly‘ (Mt 6:6).

But if you don’t quite trust the Church to handle your cash (or the cash you care for “as part of the whole human resource for our social flourishing”); if you think they might siphon it off to a mission project led by a Muslim or some non-judgmental programme of never-ending inclusion, there’s absolutely nothing to stop you from giving your local school a thousand quid, or the local hospital, or the local library, or the youth centre, residential care home, or day centre for the elderly or disabled, or any new community project you decide. There’s nothing stopping you from voluntarily financing a Macmillan nurse to help someone cope with the loneliness, pain and impact of cancer. There nothing stopping you from voluntarily financing a dogs’ home or a cats’ home or an animal shelter that heals and cares for God’s abused and injured creatures. It’s called charity: some might call it the ‘Big Society’.

But don’t call any of this ‘taxation’, for it is not a voluntary tax to fill a Treasury black hole, but a gift to complement a social enterprise over which you have complete control. Whatever the Archbishop of York might believe or teach, it is your money. The cause you support is based on your choice of merit and your judgment of virtue, arising from your conscience of discernment and compassion. And the less the state takes in statutory taxation, the more you get to keep and freely give as you wish. So please don’t be lured by the archiepiscopal statist air that higher taxation = greater social justice = what Jesus wants. He wants you to give freely as your heart desires, for God loves a cheerful giver.

  • len

    Further evidence that the General Synod dwells in cloud Cloud cuckoo land.(As if we needed it?)

    • Sarky

      Ahem, many a true word etc etc

  • Anton

    Thank God I am no longer an Anglican.

  • Pubcrawler

    Ever since His Grace of York cut up his dog collar, it seems, he has suffered a perpetual rush of blood to the head.

  • Maalaistollo

    Presumably the 48% are engaged in unproductive and/or taxpayer-funded occupations. This idea is so profoundly stupid it is difficult to know where to begin, so I don’t think I’ll bother. Suffice it to say that your money is likely to be used to better effect by Send a Cow than by Sentamu.

    • TropicalAnglican

      I assume you made up “Send a Cow” as a pun on “Sentamu”, but I do remember once donating to a Telegraph Christmas appeal, and I think it did involve sending cows to Africa …

      • Maalaistollo

        Not made up at all: https://www.sendacow.org/ A very worthwhile charity.

        • TropicalAnglican

          It is the same charity! Glad to know it is still going strong. I couldn’t remember the name, so thought you might be punning on “Sent-a-moo”.

      • Sarky

        Where did you put the stamp?

      • Rhoda

        The sale of one cow from a family farm sale was donated to this charity.

      • Gregory Morris

        Sent-to-Moo

  • bmudmai

    Starting to think it is time for ABY to move on and step aside.

    • Maalaistollo

      Ah, but remember that his middle name is ‘Mugabi’ – not a name associated with those who are ready ‘to move on and step aside.’

      • Redrose82

        I ba gum so it is. No wonder I thought him backward.

      • Little Black Censored

        I believe it is Mogabe, carefully pronounced Moggaby, to avoid any “confusion”.

  • Charitas Lydia

    I’m drooling with mitre-licking adulation for the brilliance of this article. Thanks for exposing the Sentamu fraud.

  • David

    My opinion of Sentanu’s ability to think clearly paying respect to the context of the Bible passage’s he uses, or misuses, continues to decrease. He uses Scripture sloppily. He also misunderstands the meanings of words, which is most surprising in a former barrister. I first noticed this with his incredibly badly made argument for the Remain side where he conflated God’s holy, enduring OT covenant with Israel with our Treaty agreements with the EU, treaties remaining in force until one or more parties, the nation states, withdraw. To confuse the OT covenant with a nation to nations treaty is an bad theological error, and incredible for an archbishop.
    No I do not confuse paying tax with the Common Good, in the Christian sense, because the priorities of the hierarchies of both our state and our national Church as now so very at odds with the priorities revealed to us in Scripture. Moreover all big bureaucratic organisations are very wasteful and political rather than possessing a Christian sense of husbanding resources wisely.
    As the hierarchy of the C of E retreats from confidently preaching the full gospel of Jesus Christ it becomes ever more a like a junior, unelected play pen for wannabe diocesan politicians – incredible !
    I have no choice about the taxes I pay, as my only recourse is to vote in elections. But as well as doing that I choose to donate directly to a variety of well run and God fearing Christian charities that tirelessly go about Kingdom business. They are fully open, and in that sense accountable, to me as a contributor. The bureaucracy of the state and the C of E should be shrunk as they are have both forgotten God’s instructions to them, are remote from their members, are` careless with the hard worked for money they collect and are forgetful of the purposes that they were put there to serve.

    • Little Black Censored

      It was a good thing for the Law that he ceased to practise; not such a good thing for the C of E.

    • DP111

      John Sentamu continues to disappoint by the day. He is a nice man, but likes to be liked by his fellow bishops, politicians etc. Not good. I preferred Nazir Ali, who was loathed.

  • IanCad

    Quite the skewering, YG, of a man who really needs a good roasting.
    Well done!! Rarely does the AofY get much criticism. This medium being the exception.

    • Dominic Stockford

      You know he’s not IC1, don’t you?

      • IanCad

        You got me digging there Dominic. I fully realize the hazards of criticizing minorities of the darker hue, but such are the peculiarities of our times.
        When speech is restricted, the mind atrophies, the soul is crushed – we become lesser mortals.
        Poor Anne Marie Morris is the latest hi-profile victim of the Witchfinder Generals.

  • Anton

    There are several types of bishop. There is the bad bishop. There is the indifferent bishop. And then there is the good bishop: almost as good, in fact, as no bishop at all.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Chortled.

      • Anton

        Adapted from the late John Sparrow on dogs.

    • Chefofsinners

      The bi-shop is where Linus gets his grosseries.

      • Pubcrawler

        His gross aris, I think you mean.

      • Anton

        Can you do anything with the word episcopal?

        • Chefofsinners

          I have never done anything with episcopal. That is an oversight.

  • Anton

    Meanwhile, across the Tiber, Pope Francis says that Europe should adopt a federal structure as soon as possible or it won’t count for anything in the world.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-g20-germany-pope-idUSKBN19T09W?il=0

    • len

      Federal Europe didn`t quite work out in the 1940’s so I suppose its time to give it another go?.
      Pope Francis is eager to get the multi faith thing going and he desperately needs a vehicle for it(no, not the’ pope mobile’)but the EU Federal Superstate.

    • Terry Mushroom

      I note that the Catholic Herald says “reportedly” and “apparently. It notes that the “93-year-old interviewer does not record interviews or take notes.” (Edited)

      • Anton

        And if I mention this comment of yours in the pub tonight then I shall say Terry “reportedly” said what you did!

        • Albert

          There’s a difference, here there is a written record.

          • Anton

            Not at the bar there isn’t.

        • Terry Mushroom

          Cheers!

          I note that this papal comment, even if correctly reported, is merely his opinion. As a Catholic, I read it with interest, but I’m not bound to take any notice of it as it has nothing to do with faith or morals. Render to Caesar and all that.

          • Anton

            All papal comments are merely the Pope’s opinion!

    • So what? Many Catholics disagree with his political opinions.

      • Anton

        What point did you think I was making?

        • No idea. Perhaps you could explain.

          • Anton

            I thought that His Grace’s regulars would be interested.

      • IrishNeanderthal

        But really, he ought to read some Chesterton, like this bit for example:

        This is what makes Christendom at once so much more perplexing and so much more interesting than the Pagan empire; just as Amiens Cathedral is not better but more interesting than the Parthenon. If any one wants a modern proof of all this, let him consider the curious fact that, under Christianity, Europe (while remaining a unity) has broken up into individual nations. Patriotism is a perfect example of this deliberate balancing of one emphasis against another emphasis. The instinct of the Pagan empire would have said, “You shall all be Roman citizens, and grow alike; let the German grow less slow and reverent; the Frenchmen less experimental and swift.” But the instinct of Christian Europe says, “Let the German remain slow and reverent, that the Frenchman may the more safely be swift and experimental. We will make an equipoise out of these excesses. The absurdity called Germany shall correct the insanity called France.”

  • Inspector General

    How jolly! The problem is that with net migration enrinching our over crowded country at 280,000 pa, there soon won’t be any voluntary about it. It’s wonderful the third world want to bring their ways here, but Glenfell House type accommodation for them doesn’t come cheap, you know. And the would-be inhabitants haven’t a penny of their own…but they have Sentamu to pass the plate around for them…

    • Manfarang

      The number of wealthy European property buyers in London has surged. Greeks, Italians, Spaniards and the French are converting their Euros into bricks and mortar, predominantly in London. Other wealthy buyers come from the Middle and far East.

      • Inspector General

        There’s a significant difference between the wealthy who will invest in a foreign country and savage paupers who don’t even place any value on their own lives, as well as the host country’s indigernous.

        • Manfarang

          Of course, no visas for the ones who have no funds.

          • Merchantman

            If they have no money to spend why would they want to come? Fresh air I suppose.

          • Manfarang

            Whether they want to come or not, proof of income is required. For the very rich no problem. Few highly skilled workers from outside the EU now qualify for a work permit.

          • Merchantman

            I dont want to see the very rich as the sole group coming to the country but space is at a premium and people should bring skills and an income. I would also allow the exception of orthodox Christian Missioners; for the harvest is great and the labourers are few and He may return.

          • Manfarang

            I have fond memories of an Anglo-Indian curate in the English parish where I once lived in the 1960s.

          • Anton

            I’m not ashamed of that.

          • Manfarang

            A number of British people married to a foreign spouse find they cannot meet the financial restrictions. So much for family values.

          • Inspector General

            Not a problem, dear fellow. If the Inspector was to up sticks and move to the USA, he would understand that he has no right of residence. Which is just as well because lacking a few million or whatever it takes to earn desired immigrant status, he would soon be turned out most likely…

          • Manfarang

            Well you won’t be off to sunny Spain in two years time.

      • Dominic Stockford

        That is because of the English Channel, which they still see as offering hope for this piece of Europe.

        • Manfarang

          Or a nice tax arrangement.

    • Dominic Stockford

      over 500,000 pa in fact, including illegal immigration.

  • Sybaseguru

    Could someone explain why the liberal churches are the ones who can’t pay for their clergy and so everyone gets penalised by the Diocesan quotas imposed on Parishes. Surely if they have so much money sloshing around in their pockets they should at least be able to do that.

    • Anton

      The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money (to closely paraphrase Margaret Thatcher).

    • bluedog

      Are there any figures on the demographic composition of church attendance in the CoE? This writer would hazard a guess that a lady bishop or vicar would never see young men at worship in her church. If there is one thing young men cannot stand, it’s being lectured by middle-aged women. And of course, if they lose the habit of worship when young, its a very long time indeed before they return. In summary, it may be possible to prove that the feminisation of the ministry has a direct correlation to falling church attendance.

      • Sybaseguru

        When I look at the 10 largest churches in our diocese they are all run by men. One that chose a woman is no longer in the top 10.

        • bluedog

          Thank you, no surprise. Of course, the reason for the decline will be attributed to ‘other factors’.

  • A Berean

    So, is this a parody like the previous article or not?

    • Dominic Stockford

      No. Sadly.

    • Chefofsinners

      The question the French are asking… Is Vanessa Paradis?

      • In her youthful days when she was chasing a taxi driver named Joe, perhaps.

      • Anton

        Arnold Scharzenegger. True or False?

    • Lol …..

  • Manfarang

    Tithes have been abolished. Maybe Sentamu wants to bring them back.

  • John

    Is it true to say that if you are a Christian it is not *your* money “to keep and freely give as you wish”?
    Is this not what leads to a “tipping for service” model of giving? Surely all my worldly wealth; my house, my car, my investments, my bank balance and my stuff belong to him. That is what it means to say “Jesus is Lord”.

    • Dominic Stockford

      it is yours. God has given it to you, just as he gives you life. It is yours to use wisely and in order to give glory to God – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t yours.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Ananias and Sapphira were not punished for keeping some of their money, but for claiming that they had given it all. The hypocrisy of hand-waving in the Synod therefore seems somewhat more Biblically significant than my point blank refusal to hand to the government more than parliament has decided is the due amount.

  • Chefofsinners

    If God has given me any spare money, does He really want me to give it to a government which spends vast sums on:
    Prosecuting Christian street preachers and those who refuse to bake ‘gay’ cakes.
    Disciplining nurses who pray with patients.
    Compulsory government-approved sex education in schools.
    £9 million on a leaflet outlining the benefits of remaining in the EU.
    £9 million in Foreign aid for the Ethiopian girl pop group Yenga.
    And a host of other iniquitous activities?

    Make a donation to the Cranmer blog instead. All this DDoS protection can’t be cheap.

    • Sarky

      Is that what they do with it??

      Where do i send the cheque?

      • Chefofsinners

        Fold once and when Phillip Hammond gyrates towards you, stick it down the front of his bra.

    • IanCad

      All well and good Chef but HG has made it tough to contribute – that is unless he supplies a payment method.

      • Chefofsinners

        By Jove, you’re right. This is an outrage!
        Cranmer…! Can a man not spend his hard-earned as he pleases?

        • All’s restored (gremlins eradicated).

          • Chefofsinners

            Prepare to be flattened by the tidal wave of donations.

          • Bless you for you generosity, but if His Grace weren’t already dead, he still wouldn’t hold his breath.

      • The payment method is PayPal: it’s as secure as any credit card terminal. If you pay for your groceries by credit card, this is just the same.

        • Simon Platt

          …except that I have to say that I have only used Paypal three times. Once it was merely inconvenient. Twice it was immediately followed by my credit card being compromised. I assume I must have been very unlucky – Paypal would have been out of business years ago if my experience were typical – but I’m not willing to use it a fourth time. If Paypal is the only payment method available, I’m afraid I just don’t pay.

          • Bless you.

          • Simon Platt

            I thought you might be interested.

          • Chefofsinners

            The Catholic Church accepts donations via Papal.

          • Simon Platt

            Not from me it doesn’t.

  • Anna

    It seems the bishop wants people to hand over more of their money to governments that have not done a very good job of stewarding their money in the past.

    There is something morally repugnant about democratic governments happily spending taxpayers’ money on whatever they like, while signing contracts and introducing laws to benefit special interests, foreign governments and party donors. Such careless spending should be made illegal and strict limitations imposed on what governments can legally spend money on.

    Most people would have no objection to their money being spent on essential healthcare, education, public libraries, defence, roads and transportation, housing for the poor, support for the elderly and similar. Anything else including external aid (except in situations of humanitarian disasters) ought to be funded by voluntary donations overseen by private societies set up for that purpose.

  • magnolia

    Also if you give it to the Church or Christian Charity and are a taxpayer it is worth 20% more again, so the contest between paying more tax and giving to Christian charity is a no-brainer.

    • Anton

      Just like the comments emanating from various bishops.

    • That’s “robbing” the Exchequer of money it could be spending on things like transgender operations.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Good.

    • John

      It’s 25% actually if I’m not mistaken.

      • magnolia

        Thanks. I wasn’t sure and strangely couldn’t find details online. Have edited accordingly.
        Even better.

        Give to your local church and don’t give- more than necessary- to the Exchequer!

        And for any ministers tempted to waive ministerial fees to a struggling church, don’t; if you are a taxpayer accept the fee and donate the same amount of money plus 25%. to the church, or 80% plus 25% (the same original amount) and keep the difference. You can then also claim tax relief on the donation.

  • Sarky

    Totally off topic, but does anyone know what happened to Mr Scott??
    (It’s his fault I’m here!)

    • Chefofsinners

      Hit by flying dilithium crystals in the engine room when Kirk demanded warp factor 11.

      • Sarky

        Was that the sound of two drums and a cymbal falling off a lorry?

        • Chefofsinners

          It was the cutlery drawer landing on the cat. Apologies.

      • Politically__Incorrect

        Warp factor 11. That’s the strongest sun-cream around

  • Albert

    What a silly idea. If you want to support state funded things you can easily give directly to your local school or hospital. But giving it to the state, boarders on immoral because the state is wasteful, and unwise, because the state will give the money to something you might not approve of. For example, you think you are paying for public sector workers, but in fact they just spend it on another nuclear bomb or abortions.

    It’s truly potty I think and reflects the CofE’s love of the state.

    • Anton

      Even then you have to be smart, because the authorities will look at how much local generosity a school receives and take it into account.

      • Albert

        Certainly. But that of course requires them to be efficient…

    • Linus

      Catholic schools are full of immoral boarders. But only because the priests made them that way…

      • Chefofsinners

        You’re still at school?

      • Albert

        So I make a point abut tax and fundraising. And you make an entirely irrelevant (and unevidenced) comment about Catholic schools and priests.

        Obviously Catholic schools are not full of immoral boarders, since Catholic schools in the state sector (the only ones relevant to my comment) are not boarding schools. Do you not worry that you have some kind of obsession?

        • Linus

          I was making no point other than this: a man who struggles to master his own language can hardly expect to be taken seriously when pontificating on other subjects.

          • Albert

            I have not the faintest idea what you are talking about.

          • Albert

            I get it, because I’ve mis-typed something, you thought you’d make a point about paedophilia. Nice.

          • Linus

            Well to be fair, paedophilia is the first thing that comes to mind whenever a Catholic clergyman speaks. The words “priest” and “paedophile” are inextricably linked in the public consciousness.

            You might not like that fact. You might even take it as an accusation. But I accuse you of nothing. I merely remind others that the moral authority of a group of people heavily implicated in child abuse needs to be questioned.

          • Albert

            But I wonder whether one can accept the moral authority of someone who always brings the topic back to paedophilia.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    A sign of just how unhinged the CofE has become. Give your cash to the Treasury and you could be funding anything from a Civil Service shindig to Jean Claude Junckers’ wine cellar. What an utterly stupid idea.

    • Dreadnaught

      Well said

  • David

    Sentanu has just demonstrated at least these two things.
    Firstly just how utterly impractical that man is.
    Secondly like far too many clergy he is confusing “Caesar”, with the Kingdom of God ! Paying ever more taxes to an over mighty, bloated state is not the same as doing God’s work ! They appear to have conflated Christian love and charity, which is a very good thing, with shovelling resources towards the state, which is at best fair, but more often cold, inefficient, wasteful, remote and totally wrong headed.

    • Chefofsinners

      Hardly surprising though. For this very reason Henry dissolved the monasteries and nationalised the church.

      • Mike Stallard

        Time to redistribute the Welfare State?

        • Anton

          Yes, if you pay people for doing nothing then Doing Nothing becomes a paid profession.

          • Doctor Crackles

            “If you want more of something, subsidize it.” – Ronald Regan

          • Anton

            And if you want less of something, tax it.

          • Doctor Crackles

            Curious when it comes to income tax though isn’t it? Although, our benefits system seems to encourage idleness so maybe they don’t want us working?

          • DP111

            Excellent.

    • Maalaistollo

      I remember being disappointed that he wasn’t given the ABC job, as I assumed he might have brought some robust commonsense to the post. How wrong I was. Since becoming ABY he’s gone native to an extent it is difficult to comprehend. At this rate he’ll soon be supporting Sharia4UK.

      • Anton

        Nazir Ali is the man we should feel disappointed didn’t reach Canterbury.

        • DP111

          Right too. He was “shunned” as he spoke the truth about Islam, multicultism, NoGo areas, support for traditional marriage, with children as the byproduct. This was just too much. So now he minsters to faithful in jeopardy.

  • How times have changed. In the gospels tax collectors were the epitome of the sinners that Christ had come to redeem. Now they are the paragons of righteousness. According the the New Revised Sentamu Version, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and whilst you’re at it, the things that are God’s as well”.

  • Plasterer

    Tim Worstall regularly revisits the topic of voluntary tax paying, and ‘revealed preferences’ (the difference between what people tell surveys they would do, and what they actually do do). Suffice to say that in general, the amount paid in voluntary tax is derisory.

    Most recent example: https://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2017/07/10/norway-invited-interested-people-to-pay-more-tax-they-raised-1325/#446a2bae203f

  • Tony Phillips

    I’d like to voluntarily ‘top down’ my contributions. Not just income tax, but that whopping 20% VAT. And the biggest theft of all, of course, is stamp duty–the biggest purchase most people ever make, and the government taxes it–meaning most people have to take out a bigger mortgage to cover the stamp duty, which therefore balloons over the years with interest…
    Sorry, I have no opinion on Sentamu, I just wanted to rant about confiscatory taxes. Thanks.

    • Mike Stallard

      Let me take it one further: Why should I pay for other people to be lazy and permanently on the dole, very badly educated – or at school until the age of 18 and then at University where a three or four day week is normal? Why should I be forced to pay for the BBC which I am beginning to loathe? Why should I have to pay for all the cyberchondriacs on the NHS?
      Whenever I ask this question, people assume a sort of sub Christian answer. And then the atheists come in with the full Christian tirade. The government, of course, giveth and the government, as we all know, taketh away.

      • David

        Well said Mike.

  • Royinsouthwest

    Shouldn’t we cut out the middleman and send our “voluntary” cheques straight to Brussels as a contribution to our “divorce bill” from the EU? If the Synod is in agreement we could continue to send such cheques to the EU every year for the rest of our lives as alimony payments.

  • Terry Mushroom

    I’m not an Anglican, but regularly read Cranmer with sympathy and very occasional comment. I’m saddened by his recent essays for the nonsense he outlines and the distress of Anglicans who agree with him.

    The Church of England, no matter the past or present theological disagreement with my Church, holds in its care my brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s wrong for outsiders like me to mock, say told-you-so or be triumphant. There’s nothing I can do, so far as I can see, but to pray.

    Not only for Anglicans but for the rest of us, because the mess Cranmer comments on affects us all, Anglican and non-Anglican alike. I’m reminded that in this latest ridiculousness, the foolish Archbishop of York sits in our second chamber. The C of E is the established Church by which it seems often all Christians are judged. I courteously and respectfully suggest that matters can’t go on as they are.

    • Doctor Crackles

      The CofE has been used as tool of the establishment for the undermining of the Christian faith in this country by the promotion of secularism and aiding the spread of Islam. Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones instructed evangelical Anglicans to leave it as far back as 1967. Of course our brothers and sisters in Christ deserve our prayer, but we must be blind to the immense damage the CofE has done to this nation, some of which is downright treason.

    • David

      This conservative, Biblical evangelical Anglican thanks you for your gracious words and agrees with you. All conservative believers, Catholic, Orthodox and Protestants share in the fellowship of The Church of Jesus Christ our Saviour.
      The just about acceptable liberalism within the C of E in my early days, the 50s, is now on a course that, if it continues which is sadly likely, will morph into a new heretical faith at odds with our shared historic roots in the early Church. This has already happened in N. America where the Episcopalians are heretical. The orthodox split off, incurring great practical hardships, but now, led by the Holy Spirit, have established faithful Anglican churches linked to the worldwide GAFCON movement which I support. We are now in a time of confusion and the rejection of God’s Truth, but the Church of Christ is unstoppable and will continue in these islands. As with all heresies they will come to nought. Praise be to God.

      • Brother, you have my sympathies.
        But may I say to you gently that you can do more good by coming out of the C of E than by staying in. Being ‘in it to win it’ will not longer do, simply because you are losing every time. As things stand, your contributions are supporting an apostate hierarchy and apostate congregations. There are struggling Bible-believing churches up and down the country that need your involvement, encouragement and, quite frankly, your money. The word to Biblical evangelical Anglicans is ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you’ (2 Cor. 6:17).

        • Anton

          You did and I did, but I think God is not demanding that all his Anglican faithful do today. He IS demanding that they not tolerate the status quo, though: either join the frees or *actively* fight the liberals.

    • Coniston

      The same sort of things are happening in the RC Church – especially in the USA. I get this information from American Catholic websites, which are totally opposed to the direction many liberal senior clergy in their Church are going.

  • Surely every time I give a donation to charity I am paying a voluntary tax. After all, the NHS is supposed to care for our health, so why should all the medical research (to which I contribute) need to be funded privately? An indirect voluntary tax however you look at it.

  • Hi

    It seems Kafkaesque to be told that you should be giving more in taxes , but these should be “voluntary”, except there’s an element of trying to make people feel guilty, so it’s not really volunteering . My 10% Tzedakah goes to anything but the government .

  • Anton

    Will Sentamu now suggest that if you don’t like the government then you should give a donation to the Opposition?

    • David

      LOL !

  • Doctor Crackles

    Pay for a bloated-state and gerrymandering using payroll vote? I don’t think so.

    How can a Christian accept the authority of such deluded souls as sit on the Synod?

  • CliveM

    For those on top rate tax, gift aiding hits the tax man twice. He gives the charity a top up and the giver gets some tax relief.

    Win, win I think it’s called.

    Why you’d give it to the Govt I have no idea.

  • RobinHMasters

    Be easy on him. He hasn’t gotten any sleep lately.

  • timworstall

    I actually investigated this a decade back. 5 people made voluntary extra payments to the Treasury that year and 4 of them were dead leaving bequests.

    Norway tried the same thing this last year, telling everyone how they could pay extra. They got $1,325 in total. From the whole country for a year.

    The US has had a “Gifts to the United States” account for 160 years. Gets perhaps $3 million a year.

    The hunger to pay higher taxes is not in fact that great an appetite.

    • magnolia

      Was the live one this Archbishop then?

  • DP111

    Reminds of the AGW tithe – built on a blade of a hockey stick.

  • DP111

    Further empowering an already powerful state will lead to state control of everything – Marxism. I’m surprise that Marxist theology is not preached from the pulpit, considering many vicars have swallowed this poisonous fruit.