welby economy broken
Market and Economics

Welby is right: the UK economy is “broken”, but England’s church is limping

It was an unfortunate coincidence that on the day the British Social Attitudes survey was released which announced that more than half (53%) of the British public now describe themselves as having “no religion” (and the share of the population who say they are CofE has fallen to just 15%), Justin Welby was preaching from the Financial Times pulpit about Britain’s economy being “broken and unequal”.

And so we had a series of regrettable juxtapositions: the Telegraph‘s ‘British capitalism is ‘broken’ because it leaves young people behind, says Archbishop of Canterbury‘ set against ‘Britain has more non-believers than ever before as Church of England Christians make up lowest-ever share‘; and the Guardian‘s ‘UK’s economic model is broken, says Archbishop of Canterbury‘ set against ‘More than half UK population has no religion, finds survey‘; and the BBC’s ‘Archbishop of Canterbury calls for radical economic reform‘ set against ‘More than half in UK are non-religious, suggests survey‘; and the Daily Mail‘s ‘Fury as Welby says economy is ‘broken and unequal‘ set against ‘Britain loses its religion: Number of people who describe themselves as atheists is at its highest EVER level‘.

All of which conspired to permit deputy church warden and Daily Mail columnist Quentin Letts to ask ‘What IS the point of Justin Welby?‘, whom he accuses of “fiddling as Christian England burns”. He wants to know “why the Church of England leader is giving his views on the economy rather than filling emptying pews?”

Which is a fair question, not least because the IPPR report to which the Archbishop of Canterbury has appended his name (‘Time for Change: A New Vision for the British Economy‘) has been seized upon by the combined forces of anti-Conservatism and anti-Capitalism to denounce the Prime Minister and her Government (and, of course, Brexit). Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell doubtless speaks on behalf of Socialists and Marxist progressives everywhere (including the Bishops) when he proclaims: “The commission’s findings drive home the deep problems of the British economy, which have been gravely worsened by seven years of Tory failure that has seen average wages fall and debt rise.”

“The Tories have given huge tax breaks to the super-rich and giant corporations, but failed to deliver the investment in infrastructure, skills and research and development that are needed to create the secure, high-wage jobs of the future. As the report shows, the result is an economy dominated by insecurity and falling living standards.”

Job done: Welby vs May becomes redolent of Runcie vs Thatcher; ‘Faith in the City‘ spreads its episcopal denunciation to ‘Economic Injustice and Inequality in the Nation’ (or ‘Dying Faith in England’, if you want to hurl a brick back at the Archbishop). “I wasn’t wholly convinced she (Lady Thatcher) was wrong,” said Lord Runcie shortly before he died, “but I was convinced something had to be done about the effects of her policies that turned me into a wet, someone who was wobbly.”

Has Welby gone wobbly, too? Was he ever strong and stable?

Well, it’s easy to spout banalities and polarities – they sell copy and entertain the masses. But the tediously nuanced truth is that this report has a great many more authors than just Justin Welby – many of whom are highly successful business leaders, and collectively they have got an awful lot right. Justin Welby is perhaps the most prominent, so it’s into his face people are leaping to hurl their rotten tomatoes. But consider his FT article:

Britain stands at a moment of significant economic uncertainty; a watershed moment where we need to make fundamental choices about the sort of economy we need for the way we want to live.

That’s true, isn’t it?

I am convinced that most people in Britain want the same things from the economy: a system in the service of human flourishing and the common good, where all are valued and all have a stake, regardless of their perceived economic worth and ability. That is the heritage of our culture, the outcome of our great historic values, and emerges for me from the teaching of Jesus Christ.

That’s true, isn’t it? And note that the name of Jesus is invoked in the third sentence: the fons et origo of the Archbishop’s morality and values is Christ, and he isn’t afraid to say so on the pages of the FT.

So why are we hearing so many questions about the economic settlement that older generations are soon to bestow upon the country? Questions like, “Why are so many people so poor when others are so rich?” and “Why are young people going to be poorer than their parents?”

Good question, isn’t it?

Our economic model is broken and we are failing those who will grow up into a world where the gap between the richest and poorest parts of the country is significant and destabilising. Half of all households have seen no meaningful improvement in their incomes for more than a decade.

That’s all true, isn’t it? We are heaping our gargantuan debt onto the shoulders of our children and grandchildren. Where’s the intergenerational justice in that? He says the gap between the richest and poorest is “significant and destabilising”; not that it’s greater than it’s ever been, as some are reporting. And that’s true, isn’t it?

Thirty years ago, when I worked in business, company chief executives were paid on average around 20 times the salary of the average worker — and people were worrying about the gap. CEO pay in the FTSE is now more than 150 times average salary.

That’s true, isn’t it?

Between 2010 and 2015 alone, while many workers were seeing their pay fall in real terms, the median pay for directors in FTSE 100 companies rose 47 per cent. The seemingly runaway nature of high pay among the richest and most powerful bears little relation to the experience of the majority of people.

That’s true, isn’t it?

The country must face up to the problems honestly, find the courage to confront them boldly, and act with vision and determination to seize the opportunities ahead.

That’s a wise exhortation, isn’t it?

The deeper question this raises is: whose economy is it? Some have argued that the results both of the EU referendum in 2016 and the general election of 2017 were in some way an expression of this question. The fundamental problem is simple: headline performance numbers do not reflect many people’s experience of the economy. Our economy is no longer working for everyone, if indeed it ever has.

That’s true, isn’t it?

And for some groups of people and some parts of the country, it doesn’t seem to be working at all. In communities where I have worked in Liverpool and the north-east of England, living standards have actually fallen. What we are seeing is a profound state of economic injustice.

That’s true, isn’t it?

So what are the building blocks that we need to put in place now if, by 2030, we want those young people to experience an economy that is wired for both success and justice?

You see, he doesn’t just bash politicians; he offers solutions.

First, we need an education and skills system that equips people for a tumultuous job market dominated by technology, and employers who are prepared to develop the skills of their employees.

That’s true, isn’t it?

Second, we need a fairer tax system where those who benefit most from the economy — whether through income, wealth or investment — pay their fair share. Third, a way of using growth to decarbonise the economy, significantly reducing its dependence on fossil fuels, and look after citizens in old age.

You can quibble over what he means by “pay their fair share”, but note that he’s not calling for specific or across-the-board tax rises, as many are reporting: he talks about fair taxation, which is a wholly Conservative objective, along with sound money. Decarbonisation is good and clean, but the cheapest alternative is nuclear. If you want to help the poor, we need more nuclear power plants, not more subsidised wind farms.

Fourth, new ways to improve pay in both the public and private sectors; and fifth, a programme that expands the housing stock at price levels that are genuinely affordable and builds genuine, sustainable community.

It’s good to “improve pay”, but reform starts in the temple, doesn’t it? If we are to focus on material wealth, how many members of the clergy struggle on their stipends? Yes, we need to build more houses so that Mrs Thatcher’s vision of a property-owning democracy might be fulfilled, but isn’t it important to balance this with environmental concerns? Or do we trample all over the greenbelt?

I believe that the country must renew its values so as to face up to the problems honestly, find the courage to confront them boldly, and act with vision and determination effectively to seize the opportunities that lie ahead.

That’s another wise exhortation, isn’t it?

We can shape our economy through the active choices we make as a society. The incremental effect of wise and good small decisions can transform us. The next generation deserves an economy where abundance and prosperity are joined with justice. We all have a part to play, and an interest in delivering it.

That’s a bit vapid but it’s all true, isn’t it? Yet don’t those “active choices we make as a society” include making the Tories the largest party in Parliament, and, of course, voting for Brexit? How else does society make choices if not at the ballot box?

So, yes, aspects of the UK economic model are broken, but it would be good if, just occasionally, a bishop would praise the economic achievements of Tories instead of clinging to a caricature of the 1980s. The Mail summarises the current positives:

Jobs are being created at an unprecedented rate. Three quarters of adults are in work, the highest level since 1971, and 338,000 people joined the workforce last year, leaving 768,000 vacancies.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies said the gap between rich and poor was smaller than a decade ago. Since 2007, incomes of the bottom 10 per cent had grown by nearly 8 per cent and average earnings by 4 per cent. The top 10 per cent’s income fell.

The World Bank says inequality in Britain is lower than that in France, Italy, Canada or Australia.

Official figures don’t back the claim that a large minority of people live in poverty. The Office for National Statistics says nearly 15 per cent of people were poor at some point between 2012 and 2015 – but fewer than 5 per cent were poor all that time, meaning those who divorce or lose a job can be thrown into poverty but rebound quickly.

The ONS says that in the financial year ending in 2016 the average household income was £26,300, up in a year by £600. Accounting for inflation, this is £1,000 more than in the year before the 2008 recession.

That’s not to say that anything the Archbishop has written is necessarily wrong; it is simply that we rarely hear him (or, indeed, any bishop) give thanks to God that Conservative policies have put more people into work than at any time since Harold Wilson was in No.10 and Michael Ramsay occupied the Chair of St Augustine. We don’t hear them praise the Tory progress of diminishing the gap between rich and poor. We never seem to read their FT and Guardian articles lauding Tory policies which are actively reducing inequality or strengthening the family to mitigate poverty. When do they ever wonder at the necessary creation of wealth? When do they ever acknowledge that God’s creative variety in the spectrum of people’s physical, psychological, intellectual and temperamental attributes has a bearing on their education, training, experiences and preferences, and that this might have a bearing on earning potential?

The perception becomes one of anti-Conservative bias (indeed, more than mere perception); of ‘Archbishop bashes Tories’ or ‘Church of England condemns Conservatives’. It’s almost as if Conservatism is antithetical to human flourishing, and Conservatives have nothing to offer the common good.

Yet under Theresa May, income inequality is at its lowest since 1986; the number of people living in absolute poverty is at a record low, and unemployment is at its lowest since 1975. No, this doesn’t amount to economic salvation, but it might just be worth acknowledging that the economy isn’t quite as ‘broken’ as it has been in former times and under previous governments. Competitive markets aren’t perfect, and capitalism isn’t flawless. It is certainly a fact that young people today aren’t likely to admire capitalism if they have no capital. How can they? Why should they?

Young people (18-24) are eschewing Conservatism (and, indeed, conservatism) in their droves: according to a recent YouGov poll, 45% would vote Labour tomorrow, but only 14% would vote Conservative; and 52% believe Jeremy Corbyn would make a better prime minister than Theresa May, who scores 22%. Only 4% believe the economy to be a “most important issue”; 9% security and defence; 10% immigration and asylum. 40% believe Labour would handle taxation better than the Conservatives (on 14%); and 42% believe Labour would tackle unemployment better than the Conservatives (on 13%). A colossal 64% of this age group believe it is wrong to leave the EU (20% support Brexit).

But here’s a thing…

Young people are also eschewing Christianity: according to the British Social Attitudes survey, 71% say they have no religion, and 3% call themselves CofE (yes, just three per cent).

Since the Church of England educates a million children and teenagers in more than 4,700 of its own schools, what is going wrong? What, indeed, might be broken?

Could it possibly be that 97% of the nation’s 18-24-year-olds can discern no eternal relevance for the Archbishop of Canterbury’s social gospel, simply because Jeremy Corbyn’s is far more credible? And whose fault might that be?

  • Anton

    Yes Justin, our economic model is broken. We need more free markets and less socialist intervention of the sort you bang on about. We need meaningful incentives to work, ie less benefits in money and kind. I hoped somebody who is supposed to understand that human nature is fallen might have grasped that fact. You say that “we need a fairer tax system where those who benefit most from the economy… pay their fair share” but those who benefit most are those who get paid an infinite hourly wage, ie unemployed on benefits. And we do NOT need to decarbonise. We need an end not to capitalism, but to crony capitalism fostered by QE. *That* is why the rich have got richer and the poor poorer. If you, Justin, prefer to talk about economics than about Christ – which does seem rather strange for an Archbishop – then at least get your facts right.

    • David

      Excellent – well said. All his favourite socialist ideas have created this gulf which he now decries – he really doesn’t understand does he !

    • ecclesiaman

      A forensic analysis of why the globe is in its parlous state is beyond most peoples apprehension, or should I say comprehension? The answer is spiritual in essence, “Righteousness exalts a nation…”.
      Add to that the NT’s acceptance that this world is in the hands of an evil entity,(“the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one”). Fortunately the wicked one is not in overall control but is making the most of his limited power and opportunity, which fallible humans abet.
      The Christian message of a new birth, Kingdom and life is the only real answer to this world’s vale of tears. Good men and women and Godly ones are sorely needed though.
      If the ABC had linked his comments to an exposition of what it means to be a Christian it would have served his office better. Otherwise he is just a political economist.
      Our Christian leaders need to publicly put their collective finger on the real issues that afflict society ( and all of us Christians) but then they would probably end up in the dock. It may be coming…..

    • James Bolivar DiGriz

      I have read, from reputable sources, that the richest few % have notionally got richer but that most of this gain is unrealisable.

      QE has propped up (boosted?) stock prices so those who own stock are notionally richer but don’t necessarily have any more money and if they all tried to cash in their gains at the same time prices would crash.

      • Sarky

        What about property?? On paper I’m minted!!

        • James Bolivar DiGriz

          Yes, ‘on paper’ is the key point. You could raise a lot of money by selling your house, but then have nowhere to live. Hence saying that you have, say, half a million pounds is simultaneously true and meaningless.

          There are a couple of key differences between property that you live in and investments such as stocks.

          1. More people own property than stocks, so any increase in the value of stocks is more concentrated to the richer end of society.
          2. Very large increases in property prices (albeit this is far from evenly spread over the country) pre-date the 2007/08 crash. Rises (at least notionally) of 100% over the preceding decade are not uncommon.

  • dannybhoy

    In the light of the following clip from Christian Concern it is obvious that the Church of England leadership no longer sees the Christian message as its principle concern but rather ‘The Common Good’.

    “During General Synod, Andrea Williams proposed an amendment inserting the words “as revealed in the Bible and the taught by the church” to a motion calling for politicians to “prioritise the common good of all people.”
    Andrea spoke on the need for the Bible to inform our understanding of the common good. She also proposed another amendment to the motion calling for the protection of life, the promotion of marriage and family and the maintaining of Christian freedoms.
    Both amendments were rejected by Synod, with the Archbishop of York John Sentamu replying: “If you’re going to serve the whole community please don’t limit our language…The Word became flesh and sadly we are now making it Word, Word and Word again. Resist the amendments.”

    http://christianconcern.com/media/archbishop-of-york-rejects-the-authority-of-the-bible-and-the-teaching-of-the-church

    • David

      Being a longtime supporter of Christian Concern I was aware of that shameful episode. Thank you for bringing it to light in such a timely way.

    • Anton

      Sentamu, you snake!

      • dannybhoy

        Dunno about a snake but I am amazed he would say that. I always thought he was a deeply Christian man. It’s pretty shocking that the leadership of our established Church would be drifting so far away from the faith.

    • Linus

      Andrea Williams could propose an amendment inserting the words “the cloudless daytime sky is generally blue” into a synod measure and it would still be rejected. Not because it isn’t true. But rather because it came from Andrea Williams.

      The woman’s strident homophobia and uncompromising attitudes have made her a pariah figure in Anglican circles. Being utterly unknown to the general public, she might go relatively unnoticed as just another sharp, shrewish looking woman on the high street. But plonk her down in the middle of an Anglican meeting and people recoil from her and scatter as they do from a rat or a bad smell.

      This being the case, perhaps Christian Concern should consider appointing a new spokesperson and chief banger of drums. I doubt it though, considering Andrea Williams is Christian Concern. It’s her vehicle, much as the Nazi Party was Hitler’s vehicle. If she goes down, so will it.

  • Martin

    If Justin Welby put as much effort into proclaiming the gospel;
    pointing out that we are all sinners who are justifiably under the wrath of God,
    proclaiming God’s offer of Salvation;
    as he does in proclaiming his remedy for the nations financial woes, the CofE might see people saved.

  • David

    I would say just three things.
    Firstly that Archbishop Welby really should concentrate more on rebuilding the C of E by preaching the basic gospel of faith in Jesus Christ, and less on issuing “social justice” homilies. If most of the population were committed Christians then lectures on economics would be more palatable, but when so few attend his churches, he is simply irritating people and making himself look silly.
    Secondly I would say that it is really no surprise that the gulf between rich and poor is growing. This is the intended result of globalism, the radically open borders model designed to drive down worker’s wages and enrich bankers, the beneficiaries of large scale global corporate bodies, the top politicians of the establishment political parties, plus the obedient mainstream media, all who do their bidding, selling those dangerous ideas to the ever gullible public. Only a small elite benefit from such arrangements. The fact that Welby himself has spoken out to support globalism, of which the EU is one significant part, illustrates how deeply confused and inconsistent he truly is.
    Thirdly I would say that there is only route open to enrich the nation as a whole including the presently dispossessed and struggling. The crony capitalism beloved of the EU should be disfavoured. Instead the vigorous genuine grass roots capitalism of the small and medium sized firms needs strong encouragement. Selective deregulation and reductions in the tax burden will encourage all this. Such firms are the ones that are, given encouragement, are able to expand and take on more employees.
    This economic resurgence, as Margaret Thatcher knew, needs to be accompanied by a change of social climate, and a strong return to a morality that encourages family formation through marriages and the taking of responsibility for responsible, stable, nurturing child rearing. Both loving, responsible fatherhood and motherhood needs encouraging. We desperately need a new proclamation of the joys and advantages of strong family units. And of course young married couples will need easier access to sensibly sized homes with gardens ….. yes it is a long list, but I never hear our esteemed bishops and archbishops addressing any of these moral or practical matters….all we hear about from the top is the accommodation of sexual minorities and their needs – it is well past the time for The Church to re-focus on the needs of the vast majority and the reconstruction of the model for strong, loving, caring married families with a vision of marriage, sex and family rooted in the timeless beauty of Christian morality.

  • A Berean

    A bit of a long rant here, Your Grace.

    What I fail to understand is how anyone can and should be surprised that the Church of England’s attendance numbers are in decline since it’s far more concerned with being culturally relevant than preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There may be some that do so but they are in the decided minority if there are any that actually do so.

    Of what relevance is the Church of England, or any other church for that matter, when it keeps banging on about material concerns rather than the spiritual? Why stay with the CoE when social movements or ideologies like conservatism and liberalism and others of a more severe nature are better positioned, and are supposedly better able, to address those material concerns or shortcomings directly than the CoE? Since they are able to then one has to ask themselves of what worth is the CoE?

  • carl jacobs

    What is broken is the whole Social Democratic model. It requires a level of economic surplus that is not sustainable in a competitive environment. The problem is that the mediating alternatives – marriage, family, church – have been pulverized over the last two generations. So you are facing the slow disintegration of Social Democracy with no obvious alternative.

    Dangerous times.

  • John

    Even if we had a perfect economic model, (impossible in a fallen world), full employment, low inflation, rising standards of living, a fair tax system (universally agreed), equal pay, fair pay, dignified provision for those who are unable to work, just and compassionate distribution of wealth etc., etc., etc., we would STILL be a nation desperately and utterly in need of the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. Is it our job to advocate for a kind of socioeconomic utopia, as if anyone cares what we think about such things, or should we just preach the gospel?

  • Dreadnaught

    A very indepth piece of writing with essential details that sadly, will never make the front page or lead news story.
    If the RC Church and Islam can survive here without being part of the Constitution then it must surely make sense for the CoE to tend its own sheep and leave secular matters to the secular machine. You can’t heap all the blame for the shrinking CoE on just one man; its been going down hill since WW1 when a capricious ‘god’ spared some but not others and there is the photographic evidence to back it up. Same again in 1939; people on the whole, just don’t accept the myth any more. No amount of medals or memorials will make religion any more believable.
    That Corbyn is now the one who seemingly walks upon the water, should come as no surprise; he already has the beard if not the robe and promises all manner of freebies: but has he been seen to actually walk the walk or deliver anything? No; nor will he, but the Left has captured the conduits of learning and imagination of today’s voters since Thatcher scrapped free school milk then tested The Poll Tax on a disposable Scotland.
    The CP has allowed the left to hijack academia and the popular media without for one moment seeing any reason to change its image from the Terry and June and private Moats for Ducks version of ‘reality’ against the hard reality being experienced by the of the rest of the nation as a whole.
    It’s a piss poor image that has no relevance to many, when what is needed in this age of mass media sound-bites, like it or not – is a personality with gravitas and mass appeal. It is in need of a total makeover and rebranding not just a new fuzzy tree logo and yet another new Old Etonian. It’s image has to substantially and genuinely change and should start with a new name, a heaped portion of umble-pie and a rebuilding from within, for a sustainable and free UK, fit for the challenges of the rest of this century.
    If Macron or Trump can come from nowhere in a couple of years to be the Presidents of France and the US, one a Toy Boy and the other a Cartoon Character, the Conservative Party can do something more credible. It must.

  • ‘Could it possibly be that 97% of the nation’s 18-24-year-olds can discern no eternal relevance for the Archbishop of Canterbury’s social gospel,’

    This is the nub of the issue. I have a hard time imagining the apostle Jesus or the Paul preaching to the masses about economics. Certainly they may denounce material and social injustice as the OT prophets did and even give specific examples of it but their purpose was not to lay out a better fiscal policy. They would from the beginning integrate all they had to say about injustice into rebellion against God and the judgement this would bring about. Their social focus was to reveal a spiritual problem. Economic injustice revealed An evil heart of unbelief. And for them the solution lay not merely in more just policies but in repentance towards God and an embracing by faith of his forgiving grace. Jesus points to faith in him as the primary answer to any human injustice. It is from this focus that any change in behaviour will flow. I see little of this theological orientation in what is cited here of the archbishops speech.

    Of course, when the Jesus, the OT prophets who pointed forward to him and the NT apostles who pointed back to him speak they are generally speaking to Israel. Israel was a Theocracy. Israel professed to be God’s people. Confusion arises because the C of E treats the UK as if it were a theocracy. It isn’t and it never was. All sorts of mistakes arise from this fundamental mistake. The present equivalent of OT Israel is the professing NT church. It is professing Christians that claim to live in covenant relationship with God. It is British church congregations who ought to be challenged about materialism, greed, compassion etc.

    In fact, there are two important texts that those who preach a social gospel would do well to ponder. One expresses the words of Jesus and the other the words of Paul.

    Luke 12

    13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
    14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

    When we read on Jesus tells the parable of the rich fool. The social issues reveal spiritual redundancy and have not merely temporal but eternal consequences. It is ever the eternal issues that are the chief concern.

    And Paul virtually echoes Jesus words when he writes in 1 Corinthians 5

    12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside.

  • “if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content” – 1 Timothy 6:8. Which is to say, that since this life is just a tiny short journey in the light of eternity, a rational person will be happy and thankful with the most basic of rations along the way, because it’s the destination that really matters, not the journey.

    Do Church of England leaders ever say this? I get my information filtered by the media, which isn’t the primary source, and often is unreliable. From the media, one gets the idea that they talk about complicated questions about the mechanics of the economy a lot, and this piece of basic Christian teaching, basically never. Is that the case? Though, if it’s not the case, I would expect them to be trying to make the mother of all fusses about the media’s misrepresentation of their message.

  • Sybaseguru

    Clearing out some papers I found a mortgage letter dated June 1983. Interest rate was going up to 11.25% and tax rate was 30%. Perhaps those saving for a mortgage would like to contemplate the effect of those figures on their predicament before voting for Jeremy.

    • James60498 .

      1983 wasn’t just the last millennium.

      For many of them it was 1,000 years ago.

      Whilst I agree they should contemplate it, a considerable number won’t and even more wouldn’t understand what you mean.

  • Sarky

    Since the Church of England educates a million children and teenagers in more than 4,700 of its own schools, what is going wrong? What, indeed, might be broken?

    This is simple. Technology is a more influential educator than any school.
    Kids will pay more attention to a youtuber than any teacher/bishop/archbishop.
    The church makes claims and with a simple google search these can be easily dismissed.
    The difference now, from when i was a kid, is that kids don’t just believe unquestioningly what adults tell them.
    This is not a bad thing, but christianity has become collateral damage. Can you turn it around? I doubt it, we’re to far down the road now.

    • len

      Kids have been brainwashed and are unable to think for themselves.

      • Sarky

        Its actually the opposite. I find they question everything.

  • len

    I am not surprised that a large percentage of the UK population claim to have no religion.Not surprised at all.
    Many who claimed in the past to be ‘christian’ were probably, mostly, cultural christians, a tick on the box on a form, and visited church only for christenings and funerals.
    Christianity makes no sense to the man on the street because it goes against everything this world stands for. Christianity(as Jesus ,Paul and the disciples taught) is entirely from another world.

    Born again christians are a tiny minority amongst other worldly religions because Biblical Christianity will never fit in with this corrupt world system , it should not and cannot.

    Islam is growing fast because it uses methods of this present corrupt world system and gels with those who want a religion which is powerful and will crush all opposition, a religion of violence and intimidation.

    Christianity is a religion of the spirit,but modern atheistic man knows nothing of the spirit and leans heavily on ‘science’.But without an awakened spirit man cannot know God.

    • Sarky

      Funny. A couple of years ago when I made the point about cultural christians I was shouted down.

      • Anton

        Not by me, or quite a few other regulars.

      • James60498 .

        I am surprised at that.

      • len

        Youv’e got to be right at least once Sarky.Law of averages 🙂

    • David

      Don’t fall for the propaganda. Christianity is growing rapidly on most continents but not in the west. Islam is shrinking, losing adherents – especially the young, bette educated and thoughtful, due to its violence and obvious contradictions.

      • betteroffoutofit

        David and Len — also, I wonder what proportion of the supposedly ‘religious’ sector is of the alien Mozzie persuasion. One also questions where the samples were taken . . . etc.

        I’m very distrustful of surveys and the people who write their questions (having tutored a good many sociology students in my time).
        .

      • len

        I was referring to the UK and the C of E

        • David

          Fair enough.
          But also note, many atheists are very selective about how they understand science, choosing to ignore the clues contained in Science regarding the existence of a Creator.

  • Dominic Stockford

    The UK economy is pretty rubbish but it isn’t broken yet. The Church of England is both rubbish AND broken.

    • bluedog

      To be fair, the CoE is under sustained attack by secularists, many of whom are within its ranks. Happy Jack posted recently on the Anti-Church, a post which struck a chord. There is indeed a concerted attempt to re-order our values along essentially Marxist lines and as a state church, the CoE inevitably reflects the current mores of the state.

      • Dominic Stockford

        I would disagree. There is nothing inevitable about it. Unless you admit that the de facto state church of Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland (to name but four) also reflect the current mores of the state your argument falls in tatters.

        • bluedog

          Do Spanish cardinals sit in the Cortes? Is the King of Spain the Supreme Governor of the Church of Spain? Do Irish cardinals sit in the Dail? Is the President of Ireland the Supreme Governor of the Church of Ireland? Do these questions help you see that you’re missing the point?

          • Dominic Stockford

            Do you understand teh difference between ‘de facto’ and ‘de jure’? seems not. Seems you are happy enough to put the boot into the British system, but love the way Rome rules the roost elsewhere.

          • bluedog

            One learns something new every day. Pray tell us more about the Church of Britain.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Answer my question first, as it was asked first, and then I’ll answer yours.

          • bluedog

            I do understand teh difference between ‘de facto’ and ‘de jure’. But I really don’t see how the position of the Roman Church in the Kingdom of Spain or the Republic of Ireland is in anyway comparable to the position of the Church of England in the United Kingdom. In neither Spain nor Ireland is there any constitutional role for the Roman Church that I’m aware of. That being the case, I don’t understand your aggressive response to my post.

          • Dominic Stockford

            You will not answer my question; neither will I therefore answer yours

          • bluedog

            But matey, I’ve just answered it at length. Take another look at my reply. Note too the following:

            1) D Stockford: ‘The Church of England is both rubbish AND broken.’
            2) bluedog: ‘To be fair, the CoE is under sustained attack by secularists, many of whom are within its ranks.’
            3) D Stockford: ‘Seems you are happy enough to put the boot into the British system,’

            Now, look at 1) and tell me who’s putting the boot into the British system.

  • Inspector General

    How one wishes that this site becomes Welby free at times. Before Welby resigns, that is.

    Just sick of the man. What he is about and what he spouts. For example, he is a total social and economic history ignoramus. 1929 is when the economy was broken. He should read up on it. Everywhere was affected, and the industrial areas of the country devastated. For God’s sake, they marched from Jarrow to London! People went cold and hungry out of it. Men would risk their necks on railway lines looking for small bits of coal to put in the pockets of their shabby clothes.

    So today, why is Welby apparently Lenin’s representative in this land. Not Christ’s…

    Is there anyone in the higher ranks of the CoE for whom Christ’s words “my kingdom is not of this world” actually means anything!!!

    • dannybhoy

      If the Church regards physical well being and personal happiness before our spiritual state before God, then this is where you end up. The thing is that it is easier with a minimum of criticism involved and no hate mail..

  • Welby should get himself a position with a finance company in London where he would be more suited.

    • Inspector General

      Maybe the oil industry will take him back, Marie. They say he was a success there…

  • And whose fault might that be?

    Everyone who has played a part in undermining Britain’s Christian identity. Post-war Labour and Conservative governments and the policy they have stuck to through thick and thin, Islamization; the entire Establishment, from the sovereign down, for acquiescing in the policy; the media for their role in stigmatizing opposition to Third World immigration as racist and for their ridiculing of Christianity.

    • dannybhoy

      There’s a lot of truth there Johnny, but the results of ideas and policies can take a long time coming to fruition and then a long time to correct. In this regard we are no different to the Israelites of the Old Testament. Human nature is what it is. Far easier to get fired up about a football team than a social issue.

      • @ dannybhoy—a long time to correct

        It need not take all that long. The resurgence of the church in Russia shows what can be achieved under a sympathetic government. Brother Nathanael’s video, The Church In Putin’s Eyes, has footage of Putin addressing the Orthodox hierarchy: ‘We want to continue our multifaceted and positive partnership with the Russian Orthodox Church and will do everything we can to help the Church as it rebuilds itself.’ As usual with Brother Nathanael, some of his remarks would be deemed anti-Semitic were not he himself of Jewish extraction.

  • magnolia

    I don’t think we should be too hard on young people. They have critical thinking exams which encourage non-critical swallowing. When I helped invigilate a few years back it was all about MMGW. They had to appreciate the arguments used to support what was presented not as theory but as religious dogma. No marks were available for those who might have the nerve to question the dogma.

    Meanwhile real Christian dogma has been presented as highly dubious. How many can assess the likelihood of the Resurrection? How many know basic hymns? How many could even name 3 disciples? They have no real education in Christian faith, though many could tell you what the 5 pillars of Islam are. Many have been forcibly dislocated from their own culture. It is nothing short of disgraceul.

    • Sarky

      Surely the responsibility should be on the church not schools?

      Its the abject failure of the church to get their message out there, not the failure of schools to teach it.

      One of the first steps to sorting out a problem is realising you have one.

      • magnolia

        You are oversimplifying. WIthout a basic working knowledge of Christianity, which most no longer have, much English (and Scottish, Welsh and Irish) literature, together with history become near incomprehensible rght up to the middle of the 20th Century. Yes you can opinionate, and people do, or you can parrot fashion learn someone else’s opinion, or you can dumb down, (like one young guy I met who said he was studying English at University and that he was studying Roald Dahl!), but none of this is substantial.

        It makes no sense to write Christianity out of English and history, though some are all too contented at that thought….

        • Sarky

          Teaching it in the context of history is fine. However, that should not be used to try and get bums on seats. That’s the churches job.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Actually it is God’s job, we just pass out the invitations.

          • Sarky

            You don’t though do you.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            What do you think this is?

          • Sarky

            I don’t know what it is.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            It’s an invitation, turn to the God you know exists and ask Him for mercy.

          • Sarky

            Think I’ll return to sender!!

        • Inspector General

          A teacher friend once told me she asked the class to write down who they thought was the cleverest man who ever lived. The answer is considered to be Isaac Newton, but she wasn’t expecting anyone to put him. Among the answers she did get was David Beckham ..

        • betteroffoutofit

          “It makes no sense to write Christianity out of English and history. . .” . Indeed!

          I’d say it is impossible to write it out of the language, which developed at the hands of Christians. It’s just that, as you suggest, the ignorant can’t read the connotations and (often) denotations.

          As to history: to leave Christianity out of the Western story is to lie by omission.
          But those who are so busy re-writing history do even worse than that in portraying themselves as the “victors” – don’t they?

        • Linus

          I agree that Pixtianity can’t be written out of English history, just as Nazism can’t be written out of German history.

          • bluedog

            Christianity was written out of French history with effect from July 1789. The spiritual vacuum is being filled by Islam. Enjoy!

          • ardenjm

            And of course, when the EU was going to have a written constitution over a decade ago, the French Freemasons insisted that ANY reference to the 1500 years of Christian history of Europe be written out of that document. It initially mentioned Europe’s Greek, Roman, Christian and Enlightenment historical influences. The Freemasons summoned Jacques Chirac and instructed him to threaten to veto the whole document unless the reference to Christian roots was struck out.

            It was struck out.
            A victory for Freethinkers.
            Like Linus.

          • Anton

            Why did Chirac agree?

          • Linus

            Because he was under Lizard control and anyway, what difference will it make when Nibiru strikes?

            If you’re mad enough to believe in Freemason plots, surely you also believe in other conspiracy theories?

          • ardenjm

            Because he was scared of the Freemasons.
            They’re a powerful bunch!
            When, after him, Nicolas Sarkozy became President he made the traditional trip to Rome as all French monarchs and then Presidents have done to become an honorary canon of the Basilica of St John Lateran – an old venerable custom that is mostly protocol. The new president made a speech, however, wherein he spoke of re-configuring the French tradition of laïcité – or secularism – put in place aggressively and legally by a Freemasonic dominated French Senate in 1904-1905. In his speech Sarkozy said very mild stuff (to British ears): that whilst government was secular, society was made up of religious believers and non-religious and that there was a role in society for the Churches to build up the common good of society etc. and that the aggressive anti-clerical hostility of the French state needed to be replaced by something more co-operative.
            For his pains the President of the French Republic was summoned (and he went) the day after his return from Rome to explain himself to the HQ of French Freemasonry and to re-iterate his adhesion to the Masonic project of anti-clerical hostility to the Catholic Church. He made his trip 24 hours after his return from Rome.
            The new President knew who his real masters were.

            Whilst it is openly hostile in France, in the UK it is more hidden – but no less pervasive. The rank stench of concealed masonic influence pervades the Anglican Church, the judiciary, the police, the City and politics. (And it is present in secret fashion in the Vatican and dioceses around the world, too.) It is an insidious boys’ club and, like all things from Satan, hates being brought into the light of clear and transparent scrutiny. Has Cranmer ever written on it? His pro-life views make me think he can’t be a Mason – but his stuffed-shirt pompous anti-Catholic bigotry makes me think he surely must be.
            Perhaps he’d care to clarify…

          • CliveM

            Ok I’m not big into conspiracy theories. But equally I know nothing of French politics. Do you have reputable evidence for this?

          • ardenjm

            Yes:
            http://www.lexpress.fr/actualite/societe/les-francs-macons-et-le-pouvoir_473340.html
            Tho’ I got the date wrong: it wasn’t the day after that he went to the Grand Orient Lodge. They set up the meeting in the immediate aftermath and then Sarkozy went along to “explain himself”.

          • CliveM

            Must be honest and say my nearly 40 year old, ordinary grade French isn’t up to this! Anything in English?

          • ardenjm

            Google translate it. That’s to say put this in your regular search box
            http://www.lexpress.fr/actualite/societe/les-francs-macons-et-le-pouvoir_473340.html
            press search and when the exact article comes up Google will offer you the option next to it: “tranlsate this page”. Click on THAT rather than the page in French and you’ll get a reasonable enough translation that will give you the gist.
            Hope that helps.

          • Linus

            Wrong. Christianity was written out of the French constitution in 1798. It was written back into our laws in 1801 when Bonaparte established the régime concordataire, and then back out again in 1905 when the National Assembly definitively separated church and state.

            As “spirituality” is a private affair in which the state has no role to play, each citizen decides what “spiritual” beliefs he or she will hold. That’s called “freedom of religion”, not a “spiritual vacuum”.

            Pixtian visions of a rising tide of Pixlam are laughably melodramatic. They’re demonstrably false too. The number of Pixlims in France has remained steady over the past 20 years or so. There’s no noticeable growth. Delusions of growth are promoted by hysterical Pixtian predictions of a population explosion in the Pixlim community, because of course they breed like rabbits, these Pixlims, and they have an evil plan to breed Pixtianity out of existence, didn’t you know? Well, that’s the Pixtian story, at least. The fact that it bears no relation to reality is neither here nor there.

            Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised at Pixtian panic. The number of Pixtians has fallen dramatically over the past 20 years, so as your religion collapses, from your panicked point of view it must look like Pixlam is racing ahead. But perspective can be misleading. Pixlam is just about hanging on, that’s all. Granted it’s doing much better than your catastrophic showing, but success is a relative thing, you know. Pixlam is treading water while you go down the plughole. No wonder you’re jealous.

          • bluedog

            Happy to stand corrected on the French constitution. There have been so many, and so many heads of state too, in the last two hundred years it is evidently a specialised study trying to keep track of the various permutations and convulsions.

            ‘…and they have an evil plan to breed Pixtianity out of existence, didn’t you know?’. If you were better informed you would know that this is the Muslim position, and there is no greater exponent than Erdogan of Turkey. Twenty per cent of French teenagers are Muslim, and 10% of your population is Muslim. Now if the percentage of youth is double the percentage in total, what sort of trend does that imply?

          • Linus

            Between 5 and 7% of our population is Pixlim according to the consensus of opinion on the subject. No official statistics are kept because the government has no interest in religion. It’s a private matter.

            You’ve clearly been reading the right-wing press though. It regularly offers a figure of 10%, rounding up, you understand, to the nearest 5%…

            As for your figure of 20% of teenagers being Pixlim, I seem to recall the article that claimed this was exposed as having calculated this “statistic” by surveying a group of high schools in an areas of the Parisian and Marseillais suburbs known for their high concentration of Arab immigrants. Extrapolation to a national level is not just misleading, but downright dishonest.

            But then you don’t care about the truth, do you? All that matters is finding data that supports your Pixlamophobic beliefs. Who cares how false it is if it supports your argument? It marks you out as a real Pixtian though. So your imaginary Sky Pixie will be happy with you, won’t he?

          • bluedog

            Crackers, but not unexpected. So perfectly secular is the French government that it dismisses religion as a sociological factor and has no understanding of the composition of its own population.

          • magnolia

            No one has yet picked him up on this pixie thing. Anyone who extols- and maybe emulates- effete Charles Trenet singing “la douce France” with all his camp, highly mannered and very elfin gestures and pixie footwork (on youtube) is in absolutely no position whatever to talk about pixies.

            Glasshouse stone-throwing par excellence.

          • bluedog

            Exactly. Like all good bullies, Linus devises a belittling name for the target of his scorn. He would of course deny that this is the case, and he probably doesn’t even realise this is why he does what he does. He would claim it’s just a joke, if challenged. But it’s a joke that leads to self entrapment. He can’t stop; to do so makes the whole effort look foolish. At some point he will have to struggle with contrived names for Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Bhuddism, Shintoism and anything else you care to think of. Nursery school stuff.

      • Chefofsinners

        Which you can say with confidence, because you don’t have a problem.

        • Sarky

          But i have had one.

    • betteroffoutofit

      When I was at grammar school, morning assembly included hymns, prayers, and Bible readings. Although I was agnostic at the time, I loved the literary and musical beauty of it all — and through them learnt the basic tenets of Christianity.

      Years later, various facts of life would remind me of those tenets and phrases*; I would react: “Oh, that’s what they were talking about! That’s what they meant!”
      _____________________
      *e.g. “The sins of the fathers” — one we might bear in mind as we bequeath this degenerate culture to our young.

      • Anton

        I was atheist at the time and I loved the hymns for the music (better than today’s!) but hated the prayers, especially in the mouth of a Headmaster I had no respect for. I reckon the whole thing significantly delayed my conversion.

        • betteroffoutofit

          Yes, individuals react differently at any given school, and that’s sad about your headmaster. Still, though, at least you became familiar with the content of Christian teaching, and you could interact with it later.

          Otherwise, though: must say I wonder how anyone dares to call modern noises “music”!

  • dannybhoy

    Lost causes on another thread please Sarks.

  • Jim Welsh

    The Captain of the Titanic teaching the Captain of the Lusitania how to sail.

  • carl jacobs

    Welby is using “broken” to mean “wealth isn’t being distributed as I would prefer.” Those two concepts are not identical.

    • Inspector General

      Well done, Carl!

      The Inspector was waiting to see which of Cranmer’s following spotted that first…

  • Don Benson

    Today’s preview of tomorrow’s fish and chip paper has actually inspired me to a positive suggestion. Clearly our Archbishop has run out of ideas to fill up all those spare hours which evidently hang heavy each week once he’s sorted out what needs to be done to save the Church of England. So I have a suggestion.

    How about taking one day a week to drive out along the highways and byways of England, seek out a vicarage and knock on the door and spend a day with the lucky incumbent who will of course be delighted to see him…or not. To avoid embarrassment, he could undertake to pick up the tab for a pub lunch or perhaps fish and chips at tea time. I can guarantee he’d a) Enjoy it no end, b) Find reasons for why the CofE is in its parlous state c)Pick up some very good advice on how things could be turned around.

    One Sunday morning each month, instead of doing that, he might like to dress down and quietly slip into the back of an unsuspecting parish church and take part in the worship there. a) b) and c) would once again be guaranteed.

    Word would soon get out about the unexpected visits. It might be worrying for some, but they’re exactly the ones who need to be worried. And, who knows, it might stimulate such a spirit of focus on doing God’s work with dedication and imagination that the church would grow once more.
    An added bonus would be that Justin would have the excuse that he is now far too busy on church affairs to be dragged into hobnobbing with the great and good and writing all those worthy reports that politicians will ignore anyway.

  • Inspector General

    Off topic, but essential! The most revered and marvellous Rees-Mogg is under attack. Having come to the attention of organised buggery….

    LGBT Conservatives have vetoed any chance of him becoming leader. So, that’s that dream over then. Leading LGBT nuisance Jack Monroe was a woman at one time, an Inspector suspects. Still maybe, perhaps.

    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/09/06/lgbt-conservatives-anti-gay-marriage-jacob-rees-mogg-should-not-be-prime-minister-in-any-circumstances/
    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/09/06/tory-mp-leadership-hopeful-says-he-is-against-marriage-equality-and-abortion-in-any-circumstance/

    • Royinsouthwest

      The attacks on Rees-Mogg will probably help him. To invert the popular saying, “with enemies like that who needs friends?”

      • Inspector General

        If we were to fashion out of gold the likeness of Rees-Mogg, then we could worship it. That is how important Rees-Mogg is, and God would approve.

        • bluedog

          His wife’s family are so rich they could probably afford the statue to which you refer.

          • Father David

            As Rees-Mogg (crazy name, crazy guy!) is so pally with the noxious Farage) why doesn’t he join that shower and put up as leader of Ukip as he has zero chance of leading the Tory tribe, let alone becoming Prime Minister? Yes, Jacob join Ukip and become not only wildly eccentric but also completely irrelevant!

          • bluedog

            Well, you’ve already told us that you support Labour and oppose Brexit, so your contempt for Rees-Mogg is broadly consistent with those positions. But what of his own specific positions? Do you also oppose SSM and abortion?

          • ardenjm

            And whilst you’re at it, Father David – would you be so kind to clarify for a Left-footer like myself: are you Father because you’re a Catholic or Orthodox priest or are you a “Father” because you’re an Anglican one, or (in much the same way) do you call yourself it because of a fiction in the way Adrian Hilton is an “Archbishop”?
            Thanks!

          • Linus

            Rees-Mogg is a 1950s sideshow. His religious extremism and toe-curling snobbery and elitism make him unelectable in any position requiring broad appeal. The fake accent doesn’t help. Nobody speaks like that in the real world. Even Mrs Mountbatten’s accent is significantly less plummy.

            Yes, he’s the darling of far right-wing echo chambers like this blog. But in the real world he’s seen as an eccentric throwback to a world that only ever existed in a few well-heeled parts of the shires half a century ago.

            If the Honourable Member for the 1950s is chosen as Tory leader it will only be to signal the collapse of the party as an electable and credible force in British politics.

          • Sarky

            Looks a bit too much like ‘wheres wally’ for my liking.

          • Linus

            How very dare you!?!

            Wally dresses like a character out of The Beano. Rees-Mogg is lifted from the far more refined pages of The Magnet.

            No doubt the man carries enough proletarian genes to justify your comparison. I mean, who are the Rees-Moggs and where do they come from? The father was a journalist and the mother an American. No wonder he developed such a parody of an upper class accent. There’s nowt as posh as a climber’s child when there’s money enough to pay for Oxbridge (or latterly, St. Andrews). Look at Ms Middleclass.

            He won’t want anyone to be reminded of that fact, so I’ve no doubt your comparison to Wally will fill him with heavily overmodulated outrage, or as he would pranighnce it, ightrage. Carefully hidden under his “hail fellow, well met” act, of course. But secretly he’ll be thinking “golly, what was the point of pater spending all those thighzinds of pighnds on one’s education if one’s tainted blood is so easy to spot?”

          • Anton

            I must say, I do wonder “Who is he really?” The 1950s is far too recent; I understand that in Westminster he is referred to as “The Honourable Member for the early 20th century.”

          • Linus

            Whatever he’s called, the stench of camphor that he gives off (figuratively if not literally, although several of his suits clearly are from the early 20th century, so I would not be surprised if an odour of naphtaline both precedes him and follows in his wake) sums up his politics perfectly.

            Rees-Mogg wants a fossilized and chemically preserved Britain pickled in Pinewood Studios “jolly hockey sticks” tropes and stereotypes. While I’ve no doubt that a small percentage of his countrymen share those desires, they haven’t a snowball’s chance of forming a majority.

          • bluedog

            Like a number of other posters you have chosen to criticise Rees-Mogg through a prism of superficiality. Granted, he does not fashionably affect Mockney or Estuary English and is never seen without a well-cut suit. But he has a brain and the ability to articulate his thoughts logically and with conviction. It is these qualities that are winning hm a constituency. Frankly, Mogg shoots into an open goal given the vacuity of most politicians. If Mogg is given a portfolio and successfully manages both his brief and his bureaucrats, his credibility will grow rapidly.

          • Linus

            There’s a reason they stopped giving hereditary lords ministerial portfolios. Being accused of elitism makes it impossible for a government to govern.

            Rees-Mogg has no hereditary title, but he affects the mannerisms of those who do. I doubt he’ll ever rise above junior ministerial level for that very reason. His appeal is limited to such a small constituency, he can’t ever hope to win power.

          • bluedog

            One can envisage Mogg, don’t laugh, as a very effective minister in the education portfolio. He’s brim full of ideas and has the tenacity to ensure that his prevail.

          • Linus

            Education?

            I’d love to see a morning’s lessons in the Rees-Mogg nursery.

            09:00: Hail Mary
            09:15: God save the heretic queen
            09:30: Elocution: High nigh brine kigh
            10:00: Hail Mary
            10:15: Rithmatic: High many tines should a fish fork fork if a fish fork could fork fish?
            10:45: Hail Mary
            11:00: Singing: Every sperm is sacred, every sperm is good…
            11:30: French: Allocations, gentilles allocations, allocations je vous supprimerai …
            12:00: Hail Mary
            12:15: Paternoster

            He could work that up into a national curriculum in no time.

          • bluedog

            Droll, but incomplete.

  • Demon Teddy Bear

    An interesting article by his grace.

  • not a machine

    mmm meanwhile over in EU land , dummy spat out ..I don’t know wether to think , ha ha ha that’s funny, ponder if part of game ,or offer a fierce rebuttle …bit odd me thinks for a negiotiation , mmm lack of creativity …. could be , but also could be plan not working , but seems to me that haven’t accepted we triggered article 50 .don’t know, see what else they want to do …
    As for Archbishop Welbys attempt of a picture of economics ,it seems to have been drained of politics which one might expect ,and he perhaps if choosing to be more selective on policy , finds post the financial crisis to point out how responsible the then government was in creating it , we are (in my view) paying for something done nearly a decade ago .I don’t know , he perhaps speaks what he sees and he is archbishop so he can .I doubt the economists and financial readers will garner much from it and given the recent news on young peoples having no faith , may be the day is coming when they comment the archbishop should get with emotional intelligence and facebook , and lobby for quality tested drugs and underpants day …..I have a quite a bit to say on labours alledged time of economic success ,however I think I will wait a while …

  • Anton

    Is England’s church limping or is the Church of England limping? The two are not identical.

  • Chefofsinners

    I think I understand the problem here.
    Justin Welby is a better economist than he is an archbishop.
    That’s true isn’t it?
    And he knows sod all about economics.

    • Anton

      Don’t worry, so do most economists.

  • bluedog

    Can’t see the problem with an archbishop who is clearly economically literate talking about the economy. Better by far to have this degree of competence than some total naif in the job. The problem lies in Welby’s apparent bias against free markets and democracy!

    Wealth inequalityIty is a huge topic in the light of the distortions caused to asset prices by quantitative easing, as well as continued low interest rates that mitigate against savers and encourage risk taking, together with a secular shift in the economy from value added industries to services. The latter trend has been clearly identified for several generations yet continues to disadvantage old manufacturing areas. His Grace bewails the injustice of intergenerational debt transfer, but this would appear to be a misplaced concern. After all, the debt is secured against assets which will also be transferred, subject to the depredations of inheritance tax. Indeed, it should be obvious by now that capital taxes are nothing more than taxes on government induced inflation, and as such, a gross injustice that is borne by younger generations.

    • David

      “The problem lies in Welby’s apparent bias against free markets and democracy”
      Spot on !
      The man is an elitist Socialist – the “we know best, and apart from us, everyone WILL be equal” !

  • carl jacobs

    Given that the Church of England is already beyond saving, he might as well talk about economics as anything. What else does he have to do? Embalm the corpse?

    • Anton

      Some Archbishop of Canterbury someday is going to preside over the big split when the remaining faithful have had enough. He wants to make sure the music goes on long enough for it not to be on his watch.

    • len

      Let the dead bury the dead.

  • andrew

    Britain’s future = on the one side booze, atheism, leftism and free p&orn. On the other side – augmenting Islam and a generous leftist state. Let’s face it Christianity has no future in the Britain of tomorrow. We’re kidding ourselves if we believe in anything more promising than the total cultural, and demographic annihilation we’ve promised to our future descendents.

    • bluedog

      Proper little ray of sunshine, aren’t we.

      • andrew

        I emit nothing but solar rays and positive vibes.

    • Dreadnaught

      Christianity in this country has been marginalised through the shortcomings of it’s own priestly caste and disaffected Parishoners. The ABC and the rest of the frocked, could have kicked up a real stink over the concessions granted to the accommodation of Islam on these shores – it just didn’t have the resolve of its own convictions.

    • James60498 .

      Don’t forget the free drugs. Legal in more and more places and accepted more and more by the police here.

      I recently told a colleague to read Brave New World. Presumably that occurs after the “progressives” have defeated Islam too

  • len

    A broken society?.Of course it is, because everyone is’ doing what is right in their own eyes’ and everyone has their own idea of ‘what is right’.

    • Dreadnaught

      How is British society broken unless you are looking through the telescope the wrong way round and from a highly personal perspective?
      What do you mean by ‘broken’ anyway? We live longer, we have better health, we have freedom and access to knowledge more than ever before.
      When has there ever been a time in this country when large chunks of the population have been railing against one group or another. I’m thinking long history here; when if ever, have there been times when ‘society’ whatever than means, was offering better prospects for the great majority of people than today?

      • Mungling

        I tend to agree with you that in almost any measurable characteristic, modern western society is doing quite well. If the sky is falling, then is certainly isn’t measured in the statistics.

        With that being said, however, I think there is more to this than meets the eye. What’s striking about modern society is that people are so miserable and angry when they have it so good. Its not just us religious folk either; note how eager young people are for revolution (either through Corbyn, Sanders, etc.) People may be materially well off but, for whatever reason, that success isn’t translating in peace and happiness.

        So yes, I suppose, there is something broken. I don’t know whether its loss of faith the fragmentation of social relationships, overexposure to all the injustices of the world, or just a poisonous social environment. Whatever the case me be, I think there’s more to this picture than we’re currently able to quantify.

        • Dreadnaught

          i’m not miserable or angry; people around me do not appear to be so either. I suppose it depends from where you are drawing the experiences that creates for you that impression.
          Compared to genuine cases of human or natural injustice as seen elsewhere in the world we are in the first class carriages for life.
          Moaners and groaners can be found anywhere if that is what you are seeking but I think we see too much of them and their ’causes’ on TV and the rest of the media because that’s what feeds sensationalism and cheap journalism.

          • Mungling

            Well having spent the past half a decade in the rather artificial ecosystem that is the university campus, it’s entirely possible that I’m skewed. With that being said, there’s really no shortage of either misery or rage.

            However considering the wave of anti-establishment sentiment lately (see Corbyn, Sanders, Trump, Macron, etc.) there is at least some indication that people aren’t happy with the status quo. There’s also a notable increase in incidence rates of anxiety and depression (both of which could, admittedly, be at least partially explained by greater awareness, willingness to seek help and better diagnostic tools) which is also a tad unsettling.

            As far as your comment about injustices elsewhere: noted. That isn’t really how human beings work though. So even if it’s better to be in the UK/US/Canada/etc. than anywhere else in the world, it isn’t necessarily a comparison that people are likely making.

          • Dreadnaught

            I hear what you say but I do believe that peoples gripes today would pale into insignificance if they only had experience of WW2, National Service, The Cold War, Only 1 TV Channel (B&W only). No regional radio stations, Pub closing hours, No internet, no foreign holidays – I could go on but the flashbacks are depressing me – I’m off to my doctors for counselling!

  • len

    If the Cof E wants advice(somehow I doubt it?) then Jesus gives some excellent advice in His Letter to the C,hurches in the Book of Revelation.
    Unless that advice is followed(and pretty soon) then their Candlestick will be removed.
    I wonder if the Cof E would even notice if their candlestick were removed, or would they just cointinue as ‘the dead church’ performing empty rituals.

  • IanCad

    Quite why the AoC is banging on about the pay of executives in the private sector is beyond me. Stockholders have the right to invest in any company they so choose.
    Welby’s job is to further the religion of Christianity, not that of equality.

    • Royinsouthwest

      The wealthy have a lot of influence on society. Should we ignore all that the Bible says about wealth?

      • IanCad

        So they do – the media sees to that. So too the eye of the needle and the Olivet Discourse make clear the hazards and obligations of wealth.
        Welby can talk all he likes about inequality, but until he, as a man experienced in finance, addresses the obvious remedy for the straitened condition of the working classes, he should stop making empty but popular statements about inequality.

        • bluedog

          Welby does make a valid observation about the growing gulf between executive pay and the pay of the average worker. The tenure of a CEO is about five years and there is usually a severance bonus that rewards everything including failure. There comes a point when the difference is simply too large and offers excessive reward for zero risk. Shareholders have to get better at voting down outrageous levels of executive remuneration.

  • seansaighdeoir

    So disappointing to hear Welby call for higher taxes to combat this ‘broken economy’. I share some of his views but not his solution. The govt. tax take is already huge and so much is wasted or mis-spent with little or no accountability. It has delivered only larger problems.

    The reasons for this are myriad but before discussing the economic aspects what about the elephant in the room that is the void in public life for views outside the prevailing liberal narrative? The stranglehold on political correctness that is gripping the country. This is something the church should be attempting to challenge.

    The attempted filleting of Jacob Rees-Mogg by Piers Morgan on Good Morning yesterday and the subsequent histrionic response by the alot of the MSM to his sincerely held views is something that definitely needs challenging.

    This imho is where Welby should be first – defending Christian, conservative and libertarian views from the secularist onslaught by the MSM. Giving people something to rally against the current forces of PC liberal dogma.

    Preaching true tolerance (the irony) for people with orthodox Christian views and defending the word of God from the hate and bile of the secular left.

    There is a huge fight in this country to be had before any moral reason this country ever possessed disappears down the plughole forever and Welby chooses to call for more of what is causing the problem in the first place.

    Like so many of class he appears to have little or no clue.

    • Sarky

      It makes me laugh that the very people who are against offensive language are quick to throw the label nazi, racist and bigot at anybody who disagrees with them.
      Do they not realise that when you make everything offensive, nothing is?

      • Dreadnaught

        We have truly entered the Owellian world of Thought Crime and hurt feelings by perception. Beam me up Mr Scott.

        • Sarky

          Lets hope that the snowflakes will melt in the heat of truth.

      • IrishNeanderthal

        During the troubles in Northern Ireland, the BBC and in particular their pundits on “Any Questions” threw around the word “violence” indiscriminately, as if there were no difference between blowing someone up and saying “boo” to a goose.

        I was talking to someone in the North not so long ago, and he said “The BBC annoys both sides, so they must be doing something right.”

        I disagree. They send people here, there, and everywhere (including Ireland), and assume that because their reporter happens to be there, that somehow makes him reliable. However, G.K.Chesterton has admirably (in his gentle way) debunked The Man on the Spot.

        I HAVE always mistrusted the Man On the Spot; because I fancy he is the Man In the Spotlight.
        . . . . . .
        Thus we may be told any day that the brilliant investigator, Dr. Hugg, is a specialist on the Cannibal Islands, or what not; and people will sit at his feet as if he were not only an expert witness, but an impartial judge. But, after all, the real specialist on Cannibalism is the Cannibal. Nobody could be more swiftly and splendidly on the spot than he is, when there is any Cannibalism going forward. The objection to the Cannibal as a judge of Cannibalism is not that he is ignorant of Cannibalism, or remote from Cannibalism, or not on the spot as a specialist in Cannibalism. It is that he is just the least tiny little bit biased; and so is Dr. Hugg.

  • CliveM

    Well presumably he has an economic model to propose (as opposed to simply suggesting the occasional ad-hoc policy).

    So let’s see; Marxism?Socialism? Third wayism?

    All tried and failed. It’s good to know there is a fool proof alternative. Wish he’d tell us what it is.

    • carl jacobs

      He is quite happy with Social Democracy. He just wants it without:

      1. The inconvenience of moral hazard.
      2. The pressure of financial competition.

      He can’t have (1) because the evil in man is internal. You can’t fix it by manipulating externals. He can’t have (2) because Capital is too mobile. If you excessively burden Capital, it will flee to a less costly climate.

      So basically he wants people to stop being the way they are, and he wants the laws of economics to be different. Then everything can be fixed.

      • CliveM

        Yes probably correct. But in reality he’s recommending staying with the current broken model! With tweeks.

  • Mungling

    “Could it possibly be that 97% of the nation’s 18-24-year-olds can discern no eternal relevance for the Archbishop of Canterbury’s social gospel, simply because Jeremy Corbyn’s is far more credible?”

    I am firmly of the conviction that social justice has, for many people, become a replacement Christianity. It has its own form of sin (racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.) and repentance (ally-ship). it has its own holidays and festivals (pride parade, for example). It has its own sacred taboos, rituals, saints, etc. I could go on.

    I think what makes social justice a particularly appealing religion is that it demands very little. For “marginalized groups”, all that is required is to occasionally express one’s outrage at one’s perceived slight. For those falling outside this group, individuals simply have to say the appropriate things, be angry at the appropriate things, and you’re one of the team. People can have all the fun of feeling righteous, fighting for a cause, and belonging to something larger than themselves without really having to *do* anything. Which I suppose is quite convenient.

    So why is Corbyn more credible than the AoC? Frankly, there are two reasons. Firstly, because its a heck of a lock easier to be an SJW than an orthodox Christian. I mean, if your solution to all the world’s woes is tax the rich, and you (by virtue of age) are not rich, then I suppose that’s a fairly convenient solution.

    Secondly, Christianity has largely discredited itself in the eyes of young people. Ask any young person and they can probably rattle of a dozen past or present injustices perpetrated by (or in the name of) Christianity. It doesn’t help that people are usually exclusively focused on the darkness and can’t acknowledge (through will or ignorance) the light.

    One wonders why people aren’t equally as dismissive of communism and socialism given the 20th century, but I suppose when both academia and the media do their best to ignore or minimize the sins of both (and do their best to maximize the sins of Christianity), it becomes awfully easy to wonder if either system are so bad.

    • Royinsouthwest

      The rituals include reading the Guardian, virtue signalling, and using Twitter and Facebook for what George Orwell in 1984 called “Two Minutes Hate.”

  • BigMach

    When I read the scriptures and study how God deals with nations and why, it strikes me that too few foodbanks was never the issue. God’s judgement was visited on peoples and nations because of their sin.

    We have a church that seems more concerned about relative inequality than about abortion. Sexual immorality across the board is never discussed because the church leaders are afraid that Piers Morgan will ridicule them. Instead they retreat to their comfort zone which they know will find favour with the BBC. Talking about the relative poor is a nice safe subject for them.

    If my scriptures are correct we do not have an economic problem in our country; we do not have a welfare problem; we have a sin problem and if the C of E and others ignore the problem they will become increasingly irrelevant. Why would God send folk to a church to hear a sermon that Jeremy Corbyn could have given.

    Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people.