Welby To Your Credit3
Church of England

Welby's moral vision moves another step forward

 

Throughout this week, BBC Radio 4’s afternoon flagship news and current affairs programme PM has been running a series of features on the existing state of the jobs market in the UK. Three pieces of information have stood out for me so far. Firstly, we have a massive shortage of engineers in this country; secondly, we don’t have enough quality apprentices to meet the demand; and thirdly, careers advice in schools is generally rubbish.

These three points are interconnected and can be traced back to one key theme – our education system still doesn’t give our children and young people the necessary skills and direction to meet many of the needs that our employers are crying out for. When the powers that be decided to neglect apprenticeships and vocational training in favour of encouraging all and sundry to go to university, they made a glaring error. Schools seeking to twist the exam league tables to their advantage have further compounded the problem by pushing their students to take the ‘softer’ subjects and avoid those more challenging ones like physics and modern languages that actually open up a wealth of future opportunities.

Exams become the focus and young people are encouraged to pursue their dreams, but with little by way of guidance to assess the validity or scrutinise the likelihood of those dreams being fulfilled, and often without any realisation at all of a bigger picture. The result? We get swathes of students wanting to become criminologists or photographers, where job prospects are limited, but a dearth aspiring to some of the more regular professions, such that we are seeing the closure of university science departments.

What makes the situation worse is that ‘life skills’ such as independent thinking and creativity have been pushed out of the school curriculum. How to cope in an adult world where you haven’t got others constantly around to give you the answer or organise your life for you is rarely on the agenda. Having spent part of my life working for a bank on a university campus, I’ve dealt with hundreds, if not thousands of undergraduates who may be academically clever, but had little idea of how to manage a bank account and their finances effectively. It’s not entirely their fault; many of them will have had next to no useful advice on budgeting, interest, charges or making sure they avoid running out of money.

Our education system is certainly not broken, but in spite of endless government initiatives, it couldn’t honestly be described as fixed either. Anyone with a modicum of common sense will understand that being able to look after your money well is of far more value throughout life than being able to describe coastal erosion or analyse Jane Austen.

It’s time for a revolution in thinking, and this week the Church of England has announced one of its own for its schools.

Faith schools may be having a bumpy ride at the moment with more than a few taking pot-shots at them, but despite the mud flying, Church of England schools are by and large proving to have a Teflon coating. Nigel Genders, the CofE’s Chief Education Officer, was unsurprisingly positive but also correct when he wrote on Wednesday that:

The public has great confidence in what Church of England schools provide. Parents know what they want for their children and they recognize, in the rounded, broad education that our schools provide, something special and attractive.

Justin Welby is full of confidence, too. Speaking last week, he stated: “We are the solution, not the problem. That needs saying really quite regularly.”

So yesterday part of that solution was revealed. A network of savings clubs in primary schools, which could give pupils as young as four years old practical experience of money management, is being proposed as part of a drive to raise the level of children’s financial awareness.

These savings clubs administered by credit unions in the schools will encourage children to save small, regular amounts of money. They will also be given opportunities to take part in the running of the savings clubs, as junior cashiers or bank managers, with practical learning reinforced by classroom teaching materials.

Parents and school staff would be allowed to join the credit union as part of the “whole-community” approach of the programme, with parents given the chance to set up dedicated accounts to save for school or family-related expenses such as uniforms and school trips.

A report by the The Children’s Society, has been simultaneously launched, arguing that children need financial education from an early age as they face increasingly complex financial futures.  It finds that many financial habits are formed by the age of seven.

Once again, as was the case when Justin Welby made a momentous assault on payday lenders, the tactic is not to stand around moaning about the failings of the system, but to get stuck in practically and offer a better alternative.

200 years ago there were no alternatives in education. The state was nowhere to be seen and it was largely down to churches to provide the bulk of the national education system we see today. Now, in an area where governments and educationalists have let successive generations down, the church is leading the way.

But wait, there’s more…

Along with the schools announcement and The Children’s Society report, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Task Group on Responsible Credit and Savings has also launched #ToYourCredit, which describes itself as Justin Welby’s initiative to create a fairer financial system focused on serving the whole community, where everyone has access to responsible credit and savings and other essential financial services. This initiative, with its accompanying website, will hold all of the Church of England’s community financial initiatives and resources under one umbrella. With ++Justin personally appointing former CEO of the Financial Services Authority Sir Hector Sants to the Chair of the Task Force, we should be in no doubt that they mean real and culture-changing business.

But why, if the Church has the job of being the bride of Christ and preaching the good news of the Gospel of Jesus, is ++Justin so obsessed with finance and money? We know he was in big business before he became a vicar, but shouldn’t he be focused on dealing with crumbling church attendances and various other ongoing difficulties that the CofE finds itself in? Is this just an unbiblical and distracting pet project?

The thing is, it’s impossible to read the Bible for too long without finding mention of either money or debt. Money can be used as an instrument of power, which, when put to good use, can achieve great things. More often than not, though, money ends up holding power over us; we become slaves to the desire for more or trapped under the burden of debt. It takes hold and rules over us, rather than the other way round. The love of money, as the Apostle Paul says, is a root of all kinds of evil. But poverty can be the source of all forms of evil, too. That’s why Christians are repeatedly called to love and serve the poor. Without practical ways of relieving the financial suffering of others in need, how can they be offered the promise of eternal life with compassion and sincerity?

When Jesus announced the commencement of his ministry, he read these words from Isaiah:

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind. To set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of Jubilee.

This is definitely about spiritual freedom, but also an earthly one too – the Year of Jubilee was an Old Testament tradition of wiping clean the debts and returning borrowed property. This is about redemption and restoration, both spiritually and physically: God cares about every aspect of our lives.

If churches around the country are willing to do so much for those financially in need through food-banks and debt advice and support, then surely it makes sense, wherever possible, to educate people so that they are able to understand how to avoid getting into monetary difficulties in the first place. This is as much of a Godly gift as a bag of food might be to satisfy a hunger that can quickly return.

Not only does this apply to individuals, but to the nation, too. If we had been more averse to spending beyond our means, and our politicians were willing to respond to that, our national debt would not have been allowed to get out of hand during the years of prosperity. Through better financial stewardship we would be paying out less in interest on our debts, which would mean less hardship, especially for those on the lowest incomes, and more benefits and security for all of us.

Justin Welby has a big vision to change the financial landscape and climate in this country. It means a return to greater morality in banking and the financial sector, but also raising generations that are able to knowledgeably take control of the money they have, where saving and borrowing are able to all in a fair and just way, and those who wish to take advantage and exploit the vulnerable and insecure are never allowed to go near them.

This is all comes down to placing God’s values at the heart of our society in order that we can all benefit. For centuries it was the Church that was the driving force behind social change and improving the lives of the poorest, before the state took on the job. It looks as though the wheel has almost turned full circle. Once again it is our churches and their schools that are beginning to provide hope for both our spiritual and physical needs. This is the Church of Jesus Christ as it should be.

  • sarky

    Im sorry but I think schools have enough to do without having to teach kids about personal finance aswell. I firmly believe this is down to parents. My kids have been taught the value of money from an early age. If they want something, they have to earn it. If they dont have enough, they have to save it. I now have two at secondary school and they have been given their own bank accounts which they are responsible for. If they spend all their money, tough!!
    Schools should be there for a childs academic education only. Whats the point of being good with money if you dont have the qualifications to earn it?

    • Martin

      Sarky

      What is the point of having qualifications to earn money if you don’t know how to handle it.

      Sadly tho’ as is said above, the qualifications children are gaining are not worth much. Perhaps one thing that should be mentioned is that businesses were once prepared to spend time and money training those who worked for them. Now you must be the expert to get the job.

    • Busy Mum

      On this we can agree Sarky. Sick and fed up with schools working towards the lowest common denominator i.e. treating all children as though their parents are irresponsible.

      There is so much overlap now, with no clear divide between what are parents’ responsibilities and what are schools’. If school are going to spend so much time doing what I ought to be doing, I will have to keep my children at home so that I can spend time with them doing what school is supposed to do.

    • Coniston

      I seem to recall that some 50 years ago, in some (primary) schools at least, children bought weekly saving stamps.

      • CliveM

        Good idea!

  • CliveM

    My son attends a Church of England Primary School. At the last but one Ofsted report it was criticised for encouraging to much self starting by the children. What this amounted to was expecting the children to get their work trays in the morning themselves rather then needing to be told to do it!! I have come to the conclusion that Ofsted are pillocks.

    With regards teaching the children good financial management, yes ideally this should be the parents responsibility. However it is clear (from the level of personal debt) to many parents don’t have the understanding themselves to pass onto their children.

    This seems to me to be an excellent idea.

    • Busy Mum

      I get the feeling OFSTED are required by the govt to find fault with C of E schools.

      The amount of money the children ‘save’ at school will just become another talking and comparison point…’Ooh, she put in £2, I only put in 50p, that’s not fair’ and then we’ll have Nicky Morgan issuing edicts that all children must save exactly the same amount at school to tackle this new version of bullying and in order for this to be possible, feckless parents will have to have increased benefit payouts to give to their children to take to school………….alternatively, the money will go direct to schools…..£2million for homophobic bullying, what’s another £2million to the taxpayer in order to ensure the notion of financial equality from age 4? .

      I will send in extra maths/geog/history etc for my children to do while the state continues its conquest of the others..

      • CliveM

        I agree regards OFSTED, although whether it is official policy or an individuals bigotry I don’t know.

        This is a CofE initiative, so the Schools will still have to do the core curriculum. Indeed I don’t see what Sarky is worrying about, because unless he is a total hypocrite and sends his kids to a faith school, this won’t affect him.

        • Busy Mum

          Very true – but I know an awful lot of hypocrites at our C of E school. Funny how they are desperate for the fruits of Christianity but keep hacking away at the root.

          • CliveM

            Yes, it’s called being unable to join the dots!

        • sarky

          Dont worry, wouldnt let them near a faith school!!!!

          • Busy Mum

            It’s only thanks to people of faith that there are any schools for your children to go to in the first place.

          • sarky

            Got a feeling schools would have happened anyway, with or without the input of the religious.

          • Busy Mum

            Your ‘feeling’, however genuine, does not count for much against centuries of facts.

  • It’s a chicken and egg situation. Are we becoming spiritually poor because we lack sufficient resources – or is our wealth causing us to look away from God?

    “It’s very important to express that the hunger we are suffering today is not having God in our life, in our society,”
    ( Cardinal Robert Sarah)

    If children are being taught to manage and place money where it belongs, at the service of people rather than ruling their lives, then all credit (no pun intended) to the Church of England schools. However, let’s hope that charitable giving will also form a part of their early education and they don’t become too fixated on the health of their bank balances.

    “There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty — it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.”
    (Mother Teresa)

    • sarky

      Giving to charity is another we have encouraged. When the kids were old enough to understand we got them to choose a charity which we contributed to on their behalf. Hopefully, when they are financially independent, they will keep this up themselves.

      • You’re not such a bad heathen after all then, Sarky. And here Jack was thinking you had horns and a tail.

        • sarky

          Remember Jack, heathens have hearts too!!!

          • So do horned, tailed animals …. !!!!!!

          • sarky

            Fair point 🙂

        • Inspector General

          No, he’s a heathen alright…

          • Who are we to judge?

          • Inspector General

            Certainly not you. But the Inspector can. It is in his remit.

          • “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.…”

            Aren’t many of us “baptised pagans” in this post-Christian age?

          • Inspector General

            One is quite happy to be judged when the time comes.

          • The Inspector toddles off to bed after a few whiskeys and a pork sandwich.

            Jesus “So, Inspector, tell me how many homosexuals struggling with the Cross of same sex attraction are you bringing to to me?

            Inspector “(Ahem) ……… Is that a trick question? You don’t want those types here.

            Jesus “Did you see Suffering Face in any of these men or women?

            Inspector “Well … there was Danjo …. once upon a time …. and then there was …. (Erm) …. You cannot be serious.”

            Inspector wakes up in a cold sweat and puts this all down to a lack of proper refrigeration of his cold meats.

          • DanJ0

            Actually, to be fair, you have done far, far more to turn me away from Christianity than the Inspector.

          • Jack suspects your wilful atheism plays a more significant role, Danjo.

          • The Inspector General

            You damnable smartarse. This man has absolutely no problem at a personal level with gay people or even trans. He objects to the current gay uprising by militants which is society altering.

          • Inspector, you see nothing morally amiss with homosexuality is the point Jack is making. What’s your basis for objecting to equal treatment for homosexuals in society and accepting such relationships as normal? If God has no place in the bedroom, as you repeatedly state, then isn’t it just prejudice that stops us from approving of same sex relationships and advising our children of all the options and choices in front of them? Surely to object is just a manifestation of Talibanism?

          • The Inspector General

            It’s a disability. Perhaps you’d like the Inspector to throw people out of wheelchairs while he’s at it. Why don’t you just back down from tormenting them. Your Islamic-like zeal is astonishing…

          • A disability? Could you elaborate?

          • The Inspector General

            Wiki has an excellent article on disability. You won’t find one better. Interestingly, homosexuality isn’t mentioned, but as you can edit the article yourself, off you go. Do let the Inspector know when you’re done, and he will review…

  • Owl

    The real problem with schools is the notion that all children are equal. Anyone who has had anything to do with children will tell you that children are NOT equal.

    They come in all shapes and sizes with very different abilities and talents.

    In the old days we had these things called grammar schools which catered to the more intellectually advanced among them and secondary schools which catered to the less intellectually advanced. Both groups got a good grounding in what was needed to support life after school according to their abilities.

    With the introduction of comprehensive schools and “equality laws”, the search started for the lowest common denominator so no little Jack or Jill could be left behind.

    The dumbing down started.

    We now have to deal with the consequences.

    To support this ridiculous situation, government and schools had to remove the authority of parents as far as possible.

    The disaster is that the incompetent generation which suffered under this regime is now the incompetent parents generation. So more government/school intervention to offset this!

    This stupid cycle needs to be broken.

    The first step would possibly be to remove all of our ignorant government and social worker bureaucracy from schools altogether. Get rid of Ofsted and support schools for the advanced, faith schools or otherwise, as much as possible. Then create schools for the less advanced where the children can be taught skills which they will need in the real world.
    Parents have to take responsibility for their children back from the self styled experts (groan!) and return to common sense.

    • Busy Mum

      Absolutely – but so many parents have willingly surrendered that responsibility in pursuit of a dual-income household. Will the love of money prevent them taking it back?

      • sarky

        Rubbish!! We have a dual income household and still take full responsibility for our children. Dont tar everyone with your small minded brush!!!

        • Busy Mum

          Did I say every dual-income household has surrendered their responsibility? No!

          • sarky

            No, but your inference was that families where both parents work, have surrendered responsibility for their children and that families with a stay at home parent are somehow superior.

          • alternative_perspective

            How do you define superior?

          • sarky

            For superior read ‘better parents’.

          • Owl

            Er.. no that is not what b-Mum said or inferred.
            I know many couples where both work just a matter of survival.
            B-Mum was just making a general comment about family priorities and responsibilities.

          • Busy Mum

            Thankyou – I also know many couples where both work and do not need to, thus closing job opportunities to those who may be more in need. The only real winner in the whole women-back-to work argument is the taxman. It’s nothing to do with empowering women, rather about empowering the state. That is why parents need to resist every little carrot such as after-school child-care, school breakfast clubs, even Nick Clegg’s offer to put the children up for the night in school…even if these ‘offers of help’ appear to make their lives a little bit easier….the carrots will soon turn into sticks for those few of us who haven’t succumbed. .

          • carl jacobs

            sarky

            They are superior. It’s a fact.

            Who is raising your kids when you aren’t there? Because you are aren’t raising them when you aren’t there. Children don’t raise themselves. I see a lot of families who follow this pattern.

            1. Kids up early and off to daycare.
            2. Kids spend all day in the company of other kids and a few disinterested adults.
            3. Kids home late. Mom and Dad are tired.
            4. Kids in bed by 7:30.
            5. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

            It is infinitely better for a child to have a parent at home. Especially in the ages 0-5. But adults are used to sacrificing the interests of their children. It’s not always possible to do that in this economy. But the people I know could do it if they would accept a smaller lifestyle.

            But they won’t. Dad wants the money and security. Mom wants to actualize herself. So the kid goes to daycare.

            “Thanks, Mom and Dad. I’ll remember that strategy when you guys are old. ”

          • sarky

            Sorry Carl but dont recognise that scenario (although I admit it exists). I suppose we are lucky in that we have taken jobs that always allows one of us to be home, so no childcare!!!!
            Every couple I know has both parents working, not for material things, but for a roof over their head and food on the table.
            Just think its unfair to judge people on their parenting, just because they are in a situation they have no control over.

          • Phil R

            They need to vote for a different Government.

          • sarky

            Yes, but nothing changes does it? The new government just spends the next four years blaming the last and we just get stuck paying for the mess they make.

          • Phil R

            No we find the new government has lied in its manifesto and can do nothing about it or 5 years.

          • James60498 .

            sarky. There are lots of people who I would not dream of criticising for both going to work. In fact I would not dream of criticising any individual as I do not know their circumstances.
            All governments for the last few years have implemented policies that have meant that for many, one income is not sufficient for even a half decent standard of living.
            But in addition to the continuing attacks on the family this government has added more.
            In theory I had no problem with taking Child Benefit from families where one parent has an income of over £50k. They are not the most needy and at this time of financial difficulty, it is not unreasonable that some savings be made.
            But then they allow both parents to earn £49k each with no loss of benefit. Those that leave their children with childminders gain.
            And now the government is, or has, giving childcare support to families where both parents earn less than £120k. Yes that’s £120k each. So single earner families on whatever salary are funding this travesty.
            The Government is doing what it can to get everyone working and all children being “looked after” and taught by state employed or approved teachers of liberalism.
            This is not about Minimum Wage parents having to go out to work to feed their children. Or indeed some more highly paid families. This is about the governments attack on the traditional family.

          • sarky

            I kind of agree. Until government gives incentives for traditional families and stops the shambles of making it more lucrative to have a non traditional set up, nothing will change. Child benefit/childcare support has the right intentions I think, but has been implemented appallingly. If combined incomes were the test, I think we would have a much fairer system.

          • Phil R

            Sarky. There must be a mistake. Did you actually write that?

          • sarky

            Ha ha see what it looks like!!!!! Was thinking more of single parents where the bulk of benefits go. By traditional I meant two adults (gay or straight) bringing up children in partnership. (Que the inspectors vitriol)

          • Phil R

            So traditional parents means two parents?

            They can be gay or straight as long as there are two.

            Not three mind,or more, or one, just two.

            Traditional you see.

            Are open or closed relationships traditional or doesn’t it matter?

            I was reading about Caesar and his account of meeting the chariot tribes of the southwest of Britain during his brief visit with the legions.

            He described how the men and women lived together in “family” groups of around 30 adults with the men sharing the wives. Remarkably it seemed to function, presumably because your life expectancy as a man was not high charging around the countryside on chariots at 30mph throwing spears at each other.

            Since he does not mention groups of 30 male “gay charioteers?” living and sleeping together and bringing up kids after paying women to have them for them. We assume that they did not exist or Caesar, no doubt would have mentioned this unusual phenomenon.

            So homosexual gay parents are traditional in what respect?

          • sarky

            That they can provide a loving caring environment in which a child can flourish!!!!!!

          • Inspector General

            So, when a hapless child overhears the screams of one its parents in the course of anus sex, it will flourish ?

          • sarky

            No different than if it heard a scream from hetro sex I should imagine!!!!

          • Inspector General

            Sarky, dear boy, you thoughts on yourself being brought up by two homosexual men ? (Imagine your blood running cold on bath night)

          • sarky

            I would rather be brought up in a loving home by two homosexual men, than in an abusive one with straight people.

          • Phil R

            The evidence is not clear yet on boys being brought up by homosexual men. However, well documented issues occur when girls are brought up in gay households. They do less well on every measure.

          • sarky

            And in abusive straight households??

          • Phil R

            The stats are comparing the “ideals” in both cases.

          • sarky

            So you are saying you would rather see a child in an abusive household than a gay household if that was the only choice?

          • Phil R

            Abusive household is a very wide term. Girls who have been brought up in a gay household have a called it abusive, even though no “abuse” as Social Services would define it has taken place.

            Their issue is that they do not feel safe when so many men are in the house in open relationships and even when they are not open they did not feel valued and loved for being a girl.

            Not surprising really they are brought up by two men who do not like women.

          • sarky

            So gay men dont like women???? I think you’ll find they do, they are just not attracted to them.

            Phil, do you actually know any gay people?? Or do you just get your info from right wing christian b####cks.

          • Phil R

            What the girls describe is not being affirmed in their femininity by their gay “parents”

            Again not surprising.

          • sarky

            So what about dads?? Are they not able affirm their daughters femininity??

          • Phil R

            Yes it seems because they are not gay

          • sarky

            I give up!!!

          • Phil R

            I am not surprised.

            Once you start to remove the notion of marriage being exclusive to one man and one woman. Logically you open it up to all variations and cannot restrict “marriage” to just two people.

            It makes no sense to limit it in this way, but the homosexual community cling on to this notion because it undermines the argument they made to extend it to gay “couples” in the first place.

          • DanJ0

            His info in the past has been from the so-called Family Research Council, a right-wing / conservative religious organisation which borders on being a hate group.

          • sarky

            Cheers DanJO, can hardly say its a shock!!

          • Phil R

            As I said to DanJo above.

            Lets give the source of this inconvenient data a label so we can ignore it

          • Phil R

            Testimonies from real women. You should check them out.

            BTW

            ” borders on being a hate group” which means that if their influence grows any more due to the weight of evidence in their favour they will be labled as one in an attempt to shut down the argument.

            Also, I suppose left wing data is not b____ks at all. Is presented without an agenda and is totally impartial in its conclusions.

            Because only right wing Christian Organisations are publishing the plight of these girls you can ignore them with a clear conscience.

            Sorry, did I say conscience?

          • DanJ0

            Nobody with any sort of science or academic background is going to take them seriously. They’re just propaganda peddlers pushing stuff to assorted bigots who are more interested in the issues than the facts. There’s manifest evil at work there.

          • Phil R

            So you say

            The stories I have read are from real women.

            The stats are not collected by them just published by them because nobody else is interested in publicising what is politically incorrect.

            Even you if you are honest are more interested in closing down debate than accepting there is a problem. Once the problem is accepted your happy worldview that you try to sustain at any cost starts to disintegrate and you know it.

          • DanJ0

            I cannot close down debate on a blog site like this, or underneath newspaper articles. At best, I can draw the attention of readers to organisations like the FRC and invite them to look into what they actually do. In particular, I can draw attention to the data and the references in the hope that readers take them at more than face value, perhaps even going to the referenced primary literature to see whether it actually says what is claimed by the FRC.

          • Phil R

            You try to bully people all the time on this blog to try to close down debate, so goodness knows what you are like in real life.

            Even Carl said it recently (and he should know) phrases like on your bike and idiot and you are a fool are not intended to win arguments they intend to imply that the opponent is not worthy of discussion.

            BTW I am happy for you to draw the reader’s attention to groups like the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family

            http://www.focusonthefamily.com/

            and let them draw their own conclusions.

          • DanJ0

            Here’s the primary term for readers to Google: “New Family Structures Study”. Please look into the circumstances of the publication, consider the value or otherwise of any criticisms made, and look into the breadth of research in this area.

            Here’s the ‘brief’ from the FRC:

            http://www.frc.org/issuebrief/new-study-on-homosexual-parents-tops-all-previous-research

            Is that me closing down the debate? It’s quite the opposite, really. It’s opening it up.

          • Phil R

            Shrewd move.

            Do you play chess also?

          • DanJ0

            I think you need to meet normal gay people in everyday life rather than rely on caricatures propagated and promoted by conservative religious organisations because they feel Christians have lost their control of society and they need an easy scapegoat on which to pile the blame for Christianity’s diminished role in society. There’s an implicit juxtaposition of same-sex marriage allegedly based on short-termism, promiscuity, radical social deconstruction, children as mere accessories, and anything else of ill repute one can imagine, with some sort of apple pie version, complete with white picket fences, a cheerful wife in frilly apron happily cooking dinner for her office-based husband, and 2.4 children skipping around with rosy cheeks. The reality of so-called traditional marriage in the UK is rather different.

          • Phil R

            Heterosexual marriage does indeed have many variations and few would identify with the caricature you present.

            The one common component is one male and one female.

            Despite you wanting it otherwise, it is this God Ordained combination where kids thrive best.

            Yes I know of a few homosexuals, none of them are Christians and I am friends with only two of them. One in a relationship (Civil Partnership) and one not. Both male, both nice guys.

          • DanJ0

            Unfortunately for you, marriage is a social institution rather than a religious one so people like me rightly marry now if we like. It doesn’t change your marriage one jot of course, which is the benefit for everyone of living in a liberal democracy rather than a religiously-inspired one. As an a-theist, I think your god is a man-made fiction so labelling marriage “God ordained” is a waste of time if you hope to influence people who don’t share your religious beliefs. Ironically, I prefer children to be raised by their biological mother and father in a loving, supportive, financially-secure environment. That may surprise you given your penchant for gross caricatures and convenient stereotypes, and I have said it before here in the past too. That said, I am comfortable for same-sex couples to raise children given that many families are not of the type I’ve just described. Raising children in a same-sex marriage may be far better than raising them in a broken marriage, or one lacking in love or care, or in an abusive environment, or one where a parent is alcoholic, etc. To someone who is not a religious ideologue, anyway.

          • sarky

            Spot on!!

          • Phil R

            We have been over this ground before. I think the jury is still out and the data is still being collected on outcomes. BTW, it is no good comparing the “best” gay marriages with the worst heterosexual marriages to make your point regarding children’s outcomes.

            What I would be interested in, is your take then on the question Sarky dodged and dodged.

            If is just “a social institution”, why not a “marriage” of 3 or 30?

          • DanJ0

            I’m happy enough with a satisfactory environment for children; it is afterall what most children get now and have always got. I don’t hanker after perfection or idealised situations, that’s the benefit of being rooted in the real world. Regarding your question, I think sarky’s immediate answer was fine myself. However, I’m happy to expand on it a bit. It’s not as though any of this is in any way new.

            Marriage is clearly a social institution even if one were to accept your claim that it is a religious one too. But as you have no means of demonstrating the truth of your religious beliefs, I can simply dismiss them for the purposes of argument. Marriage can be monogamous or polygamous, and child-rearing can take place communally as well as within marriage. There are societies now and in the past which have these different forms.

            However, I think we are inclined to pair-bonding by human nature which is why relationships tend towards the form with which we’re most familiar. I’m happy enough myself with marriage as we see it today, and same-sex marriage is merely an extension of that, built on the same basis: companionship, love, mutual emotional and financial support, home-building, child-rearing, etc. Moreover, it’s a basic social building block of the sort of society we have in the UK, with its public and private spaces.

            All of this is of course just a rerun of the points in debates here when same-sex marriage was proposed. The answer to your question was pretty obvious really. However, it’s clear you find yourself uncomfortable with that answer no matter how often it is given because of your religious beliefs. But as you said to me on another thread: tough. Luckily, same-sex marriage doesn’t make a jot of difference to your own marriage so you’d be better just to get on with your life and let others get on with theirs.

          • Phil R

            Can I gather from you answer that you have no fundamental objection to extending marriage to larger groups of 3 or more?

          • DanJ0

            Proof? Phil, there are a billion or more people who identify as Muslim in the world. Why should I reject their god hypothesis and favour yours other than just because I prefer the values of Christianity? That’s a rhetorical question.

          • Phil R

            Not answered the question again!

          • The Inspector General

            It’s not too late for you to be attended to by two homosexual men in a loving home. The Inspector will see what he can do for you…

          • Phil R

            But why two surely three would be better or even 30 in the hypothetical Gay Charioteers scenario above.

            Since we have no evidence either way, surely 30 or so gay parents are better than just 2 !

          • sarky

            dont be a prat!!!

          • Phil R

            So when logic fails insults start

            So instead of insults tell me logically in this new gay worldview that we are all forced to subscribe, why 2 dads are better than 30

          • sarky

            Because I think you would have trouble getting 30 dad’s in a 3 bed semi!!!!!

          • Phil R

            30 incomes Starky one house. Not an argument

          • sarky

            Phil, I was being ‘sarky’. This is really stupid. You are presenting a ‘non’ argument that has no bearing on anything.

          • Phil R

            No is has every bearing on it.

            The logic for agreeing to a gay couple is the same as for a gay triple. In fact if you take finance as important for the welfare of the child (Every indicator seems to think it is very important) then the 30 gay family should win every time.

            If we are allowing 2 to marry why not 3 or 30?

          • sarky

            Like I said, stupid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Phil R

            So if it is, tell me why it is stupid

          • Inspector General

            Not sure you quite grasp the term ‘traditional’

          • Inspector General

            You’ve just declared war on homosexuals, and their ‘right’ for a non traditional setup. To wit, their ‘right’ to adopt a child and to subject it to queer love demonstrated in it’s presence. A form of child abuse that for some reason, is ignored by the authorities…

          • Phil R

            The current tax system makes any other option than two parents working for average income families a complete non starter

            That is presumably the Govt’s intention

          • Anna055

            This is so sad – but what’s sad too is that many caring parents on lower incomes are also forced to live like this when they don’t want to.

          • Busy Mum

            That’s why the government hates us – we refuse to be dragged down to the lowest common denominator. Not superior people you understand, but superior in that we love our independence and liberty and are willing to make material sacrifices for it. That is the one British value Cameron and co will not be including in their redefinition of what it means to be British.

          • IanCad

            Most surely they are.
            Mum should stay at home if at all possible.
            Anything else is a betrayal to family and home and thus to God.

          • sarky

            You do know its 2014???

          • Anna055

            I agree – but sadly it really isn’t possible for many young Mums nowadays with house prices being so many times more than people’s incomes. When we bought our house, you couldn’t usually borrow more than 3 1/2 x the larger income + 1 x smaller income. Scrapping this rule just tempted the ambitious, and now house prices (and rents) have been pushed so high it’s really hard to manage on only one normal income, let alone a low one……Love of money is the root of many kinds of evil and all that….. and instead of helping Mums to stay at home, the government pays to send children to nurseries….many of which don’t, I believe (though I’ve only got anecdotal evidence), tend to produce particularly easy children…..but I’m afraid this is now getting away from discussing the article……

          • The Inspector General

            We now have a million or so EU migrants renting in the UK. Fortunately, the law of supply and demand has meant that the UK has built a few hundred thousand new homes just to house them. That means no one pays more than they did before the migrants arrived :->
            Vote UKIP

          • Graham Goldsmith

            I agree that the high cost of Rent, energy bills and other utilities along with cost of food etc take up most of the income of the working poor. Our local food banks, soup kitchens and credit unions have seen a steady rise over the last 3-4 years and various mechanisms have been used to remove people on job seekers allowance. The idea to penalise the ”lazy” has also affected those in genuine need. The work people have had to take is part time with few protections (zero hour contracts) and low paid. Talking to a chap on £3.50 an hour during the week and he is not likely to complain is he, his alternative is no job. For many child care is not even an option. Its nothing to do with migrants but everything to do with free market capitalism. Its cheaper for employers to have unprotected employees. Its good that Justin Welby wants to address this issue.

      • F.A.B – 1689

        We’re dual income just to get the child though a decent school – do i wish it wasn’t so…yes. Arguably though, there is a sense of taking responsibility in doing this.

        • Busy Mum

          It’s a very narrow line – I could go out to work and pay for private school – or I stay at home and consolidate and add to the education the state provides. With the new Independent School Standards being enforced, there soon won’t be much difference anyway.

          You raise an important issue. Society tends to divide mums into ‘stay-at-home’ and ‘working’. These terms are absolutely misleading and the women who bleat about inequality between male and female earnings are deliberately drawing a blind over the much greater inequality between women.

          ‘Stay-at home’ mum could mean one of three things:

          1. Send child to breakfast club, watch TV, shopping (presumably to spend tax payers’ money), have fleetng thought about whether or not child is actually eating free school meal, open packet of something from supermarket when child returns home after tax-payer funded after-school activities. Father of child or other male may or may not be on the scene.

          2. Make sure child eats proper breakfast as prefer not to rely on Kellogg’s charitable bowl, pack decent lunch for child as household earnings are insufficient for school dinners, prepare evening meal from scratch using real ingredients bought with earned money. If time, help out in the community, hearing child of number 1 read at school etc Make sure hard-working husband has reasonably clean and tidy house to return to having spent all day financing this plus number 1 above.

          3.Wave hubby off to the airport/city etc. Make sure child eats breakfast or give it money to buy hot choc and croissant at school. Give it more money for school canteen lunch. Welcome cleaners into house, give instructions and depart for the gym/spa, followed by shopping, followed by lunch out, followed by more shopping, no need to rush home as au pair/nanny will sort child out until whenever – anyone can open a packet of something for its tea. Drift into a lovely clean home, get ready for meal out with husband and work colleagues who have spent all day making money out of money earned in number 2 above. Spend evening congratulating oneself that one is a much better mother than number 1 and is far superior to number 2 – who wants to be tied to the kitchen sink after all? – do not give cleaners another thought (see number 4). Child can spend evening with friends/technology/etc etc once nanny/au pair has supervised homework and tidied kitchen from vast effort of opening the Waitrose packets. Of course, child may be in boarding school.

          Likewise, ‘working mums’ –
          4. Similar to number 2 above but goes out to work whilst child is at school – paid work may include cleaning for numbers 3 and 5. Having spent part of the day tied to the kitchen sinks of others, she comes home and gets hitched to her own. Income may allow for cleaner/ ready meals/school lunches etc in which case 4 is preferred over 2 as a ‘lifestyle’ choice and as the preferred option of government, is encouraged whenever possible.

          5. Similar to stay-at-home number 3, but feels superior because, not only does one not want to go anywhere near the kitchen sink, one doesn’t want to be tied to one’s husband either.

    • Phil R

      “This stupid cycle needs to be broken.The first step would
      possibly be to remove all of our ignorant government and social worker
      bureaucracy from schools altogether. Get rid of Ofsted and support
      schools for the advanced, faith schools or otherwise, as much as possible”

      Well said

  • Shadrach Fire

    What goes round, comes round. Savings clubs were in schools decades ago.
    Just what is Justin doing. As Arch Bishop he should be captaining his ship I would have thought. Let the initiatives come from his minions, (he clearly is fascinated with finance), Justin should be sorting out his Bishops, Priests and Deacons. The CofE lacks credibility when his house is out of order,

    • dannybhoy

      Absolutely. Although one can acknowledge the value of these initiatives, what he really should be doing is calling the Cof E to prayer and repentance..
      This is what God promises…
      “11Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord and the king’s house. All that Solomon had planned to do in the house of the Lord and in his own house he successfully accomplished.
      12Then the Lord
      appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your
      prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice.
      13When
      I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust
      to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people,
      14if
      my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and
      seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from
      heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land

      2 Chronicles 7:11-14
      No man can serve two masters, and Justin as Archbishop has every right -and obligation to call the people he leads and shepherds into real prayerful repentance on behalf of our nation.

  • dannybhoy

    “the Year of Jubilee was an Old Testament tradition of wiping clean the debts and returning borrowed property. ”

    Slight correction. The year of Jubilee was a command, not a tradition.

    Leviticus 25:10
    And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan.
    18 “Therefore you shall do my statutes and keep my rules and perform them, and then you will dwell in the land securely.

    I think we sometimes lose sight of the fact that Israel was called to be a holy nation -a theocracy.
    Deuteronomy 7..
    “6“For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. 7It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”

    Not to detract from your post but simply to point out that whereas Israel was called to be separate, our nation whilst strongly influenced by Christianity, has other influences; sometimes indifferent, sometimes antipathetic to its existence and influence.
    The Church of England serves two masters anyway, and whilst ArchBishop Welby’s innovations four CofE schools are welcome, the Church is up against a liberal democratic, post Christian, humanistic multi faith society represented by an increasingly irreligious Establishment.
    Plus a Welfare State which whilst being pruned back, continues to believe that”the state” should look after all citizens regardless of their level of industriousness..

    We have seen the state take away the authority and responsibility of parents for their children, we have seen the consequences for poor personal decision making cushioned by the Welfare State and the erosion of the heavy and light industries which once supplied so much employment for our people.
    I’m not sure that these initiatives will be well received by the Department of Education..

    • Rasher Bacon

      Interesting post, Jubilee was an Old Testament command, and I think there’s no record that it was ever obeyed. Another type that man couldn’t bring – all had to wait for the antitype as brought in Gillan’s passage.

      • dannybhoy

        Israel was the world’s first theocracy set up by our great Creator God.
        If you read through the commandments God gave through Moses. you will also see that He set up cities of refuge
        (http://www.gotquestions.org/cities-of-refuge.html)
        to which those who had committed unintentional murder for example could flee..
        As to whether or not they actually implemented a year of Jubilee is not clear from Scripture as far as I know. However it does illustrate the fact that personal ownership and industry as well as communal obligation as in a form of socialism were covered by God’s theocratic governance..

  • C Law

    sarky, Busy Mum, dannybhoy – in fact all of the contributors so far – and His Grace,
    You all make good points, which are not mutually exclusive.
    The 1870 Education Act basically set up State education ( and was initiated by commited Christians in, and outside, Parliament). The 1944 Education Act (similarly sponsored by Christians) expanded the provision of State education and also set up the three-tier system of Grammar, Technical and Secondary Modern schools which were intended to cater for the academically-minded, the engineering-minded (in loose terms) and the remainder respectively. This Act also raised the school leaving age to 15. The philosophical reasoning behind the system was basically agreed by the majority of educationalists and the general public and, I think, most of us here, in that it was intended to provide the appropriate education for all children according to their inclinations and abilities. The problems arose, as usual, in the implementation. The provision of the three types of schools varied greatly in different parts of the country and, no matter their agreement with the philosphy behind it with regard to children in general, the majority of parents considered their own children to be intellectually gifted and wanted them to attend Grammar schools. Technical schools relatively quickly fell by the wayside – despite some of them being excellent centres of learning. The system then fell into a two-tier one in which Grammar schools were regarded as the ones to aim for and Secondary Modern to be avoided even though there were very good Sec-Mods and poor Grammars. An example of the inequalities of this system is that in the mid-1960’s the provision of Grammar schools in Liverpool was such that 35% of children attended them whereas in the bordering Lancashire only 10% were able to do so.
    It was as a result of this failure of implementation that the idea of Comprehensive Schools gained ground. Again, the philosophical foundation of the Comprehensive schools, to provide the right type of education for each child was ageeable to the majority of us but, unfortunately, the concept was caught up in the political battle between the Labour and Conservative Parties and also between various factions of the educational world, who wanted to try too many different things at the same time, often to the detriment of each other, so the impementation was again problematic.
    The faith – or to be technical, the voluntary-aided – and the public (ie: private, for the non-British readers) schools were the big gainers from this political and educational football as they could offer a level of stability in a flucuating world.
    This is a brief, simplified, summary of a very complicated situation, not meant to be comprehensive (pun not intended), which I hope we can agree on, so please do not use it as a basis to start more arguments – we could go on forever that way.
    A major point which has been raised is that of parental responsibility. Most of us here would agree that the raising of children is the responsiblitiy of the parents and, in my experience, so do the majority of the teachers. However, it has become very much the case that a significant proportion of parents have opted out of this responsibility and the school has now become the major socialising agent in a child’s life. To a certain extent this was inevitable anyway as the children spend at least as much of their waking hours in school as they do in the presence of their parents.
    The point I wish to stress is that finger-pointing is non-productive. The system does not work as well as it should, but was set up by Parliametarians acting from the best of motives and, for the most part, implemented in most schools by teachers who were, and are, dedicated to doing the best for the children in their care despite the deleterious effects of the outside influences on their schools, which only seem to get worse rather than better. It is much better to debate how to improve the schools in Britain (and other places in the world, for the same types of problems recur in general if not in detail) rather than complain about how the system is not working as well as we would wish. Politicians, educationalists, administrators (not forgetting the bean-counters), teachers and parents all need to work together to produce excellent schools – the trick is in how to get them all to do that!

    • Phil R

      Isn’t it funny then that I can start any almost any school I like tomorrow.

      But the ONE state school I am forbidden to start by LAW is a Grammar School.

      • C Law

        I think that shows how emotive the term “Grammar School” has become and also that education is still too much of a political football where competing ideologies and the political party requirements are still considered to be more important than the welfare and education of our children

        • sarky

          All kids deserve an equal chance. Who is anyone to say that kid A is worth more than KidB?? I truly believe that with the right influence all kids are capable of achieving. Writing off kids is what has caused alot of our problems. Even the most disruptive child can be turned if the right person steps in at the right time. Grammer schools are not the answer, proper funding and specialist teachers are.

          • Inspector General

            Bullshit, sir !
            Children are like they are because of their parents. You can’t make a purse out of a sows ear…

          • sarky

            Sod it, let’s just give up then shall we?? No child from a bad home ever made it good did they??

          • Inspector General

            The odds are against it, and it’s going to be really tough to escape from the wounds inflicted in an unpleasant home.

          • sarky

            And thats why they need help, is it not?

          • The Inspector General

            You need to separate social services from education.

          • sarky

            Yes, but education has always being a way out for many.

          • dannybhoy

            Depends on what one means by “making it good.”
            Intelligence is a gift.
            Talent too is a gift.
            Honesty, being willing to work, to treat others with kindness and respect; these are evidences of character development and are usually imparted by parents. I am one of five children from an unhappy home wherein Mother and Father argued and fought (literally). The Police would be called, furniture smashed, violence witnessed.
            Not one of us turned out as abusers or perverts or in trouble with the law, and education was at the very least a steadying and positive influence. We learnt discipline and respect and experienced kindness.
            Not one of us are or were high flyers, or made it good; but we made a living and contributed to our various communities.
            I still think that the system I grew up under was far better than the present one, and the opportunities were there for further education.

          • You can, Inspector. It just wouldn’t be a silk one, ’tis all.

          • Phil R

            You are right of course Kid B that misbehaves is worth more than kid A
            that does not and this is shown in the unequal amounts of money spent on
            each of them.

            You don’t do any favours to kid B by making up a syndrome, writing a report about the “problems” he has and then throwing money at it.

          • Owl

            Sarky,
            all children used to have the same chance. If they had the ability to benefit from it then they went to grammer school.
            If they were not able to benefit from a grammar school education then they had a secondary modern education which prepared them more suitably. Children are different, very different.
            Our modern comprehensives cater to all and none.
            One youngster may play for Manchester United and another one does not have the ability and cannot play for Manchester United. Both had the chance but only one had the ability. That’s real life and children need to be prepared for it not stuffed in cotton wool and protected from ever learning how to deal with life as it really is.

          • Busy Mum

            Capable of achieving…what?

            I know of a parent who has contacted the school and the LEA because her child is not ‘achieving’. Said parent thinks said child is entitled to the same amount of grey matter as some of the other children and is prepared to blame school and LEA for this unfair distribution of brains. Said parent is also victim of unequal brain distribution so is incapable of understanding the situation. All she does understand is the LEA mantra that her child is entitled to both opportunity and outcome. Can;t help but smile at the thought of LEA trying to sort this one out without resorting to the ‘thick’ word!

      • Busy Mum

        I agree…but who wants to start a school now that it must abide by the new Independent School Standards?
        Incidentally, the grammar school with which we have had to do was very good at implementing these ‘standards’. I suspect that the government, tied by public opinion to keeping the remaining grammar schools, has used them to promote its agenda instead. Similar set-up as the C of E – can’t get rid of the institutions, so infiltrate them instead.

  • Inspector General

    Of course the damn education set up is broken Gillan. It’s not fit for purpose. How can you not see that after spilling out your tale of woe.

    You’re not another ‘comprehensive’ devotee are you ? The idea that the brightest in the land go through the same school gates as some hopeless thick destined for a life of idleness and possibly crime ?

    If there’s one glaring Marxist setup which has hardly been touched, it’s the idea that our sad no hopers are the blasted standards benchmark who get the majority of resources thrown at them, while the gifted are left in one corner, with arms folded, waiting for a bit of attention themselves. And the result is as you say, a glaring shortfall in the professions, when there was none before comprehensives arrived !

    Scrap the system as it stands. It is beyond hope of reform. Return to the tried and tested, to wit, Grammar schools / Technical High / Secondary Modern. Selection to take place at 11, by which time the child’s abilities will be all too obvious. And NO APPEALS to be allowed by pushy parents who think their lazy child deserves better.

    • James60498 .

      I almost entirely agree. Well, in fact I do entirely agree.

      The only thing that I would challenge is the apparent suggestion that the criminals would all be at the secondary modern.

      There would be plenty at the grammar school too. Perhaps just the white collar sort.

      • Inspector General

        It might help if Secondary Modern types, where the majority of yesterdays scoundrels were educated, could have school trips to a prison where they could be banged up for six hours. Show them what the future holds for them

        Rather reminds the Inspector of a school trip to a mental hospital many years ago where we were encouraged to throw stones at the inmates. Of course, that kind of thing wouldn’t happen these days…

        • sarky

          Good job, otherwise you would be dodging stones!!

        • Jaypo

          Oi Inspector, I went to a Secondary Modern and I didn’t end up in prison. In fact I was the first person in my family to go to University.

          • Inspector General

            There’s always one who bucks the trend, what !

          • The Bilkonian

            I’d pit my old secondary modern and its excellent teachers, discipline and ethos over any of today’s Marxist infested, I-know-my-rights, Prizes-for-all, discipline-free, knowledge-lite, propagandised, “everrreeeee chuyyyyuuullldd is preshhhhhusss”, daytime holding penitentiary, that is the bog standard British Komprensiv Skooll.

      • Some of the worst criminals went to public schools like Fettes and Eton.

        • James60498 .

          And presumably you are not just thinking about recent Prime Ministers.

    • Phil R

      When I started work I helped out in my lunchtimes with the CU at Pates Girls Grammar School in Cheltenham

      Immaculate school where the girls were happy well behaved and the building was in a really lovely condition.

      It soon was forced to change and I am told is now Pitville Comprehensive School. This new school I understand now has a somewhat different character!

      • Inspector General

        Phil, the Inspector, who had his formative years in Cheltenham, holds fond memories of the Pates girls, and is stii in contqct

        • David

          Calm down, Inspector !

      • ydoethur

        Huh? Pates Grammar is still alive and well, and still providing a selective education. It is considered one of the most successful, if not the most successful, state school in Gloucestershire (certainly it achieves by far the highest results, although given its intake – the cream of the 11+ candidates – that isn’t hard). It merged with the boys’ school in 1986, but it’s certainly not the ancestor of Pittville, which isn’t even technically in Cheltenham.

        I’ve no idea who or what your source of information is, but they’re pretty far out – in fact, were you on a night out with them at the time?

        • Phil R

          Good, glad it is thriving.

          How about all of our children having the chance to go to a school as good a Pates?

    • Shadrach Fire

      Some kids develop a bit later so a revision at 13 was always a good idea.

    • carl jacobs

      Inspector

      Selection to take place at 11, by which time the child’s abilities will be all too obvious. And NO APPEALS to be allowed by pushy parent

      Hrmm. I bet that selection process occurred without any bias whatsoever. Certainly there would be no tendency to favor the children of one class over another. Perish the thought.

      carl

      • CliveM

        Doesn’t need to. The well off pay for tutors to ensure their offspring pass, the less well off get squeezed out. They can’t keep up financially.

  • len

    Welby should perhaps be looking down to see exactly what foundation he is standing on?.
    ‘Good works’ are done by many but the Gospel has few preaching it?.

  • Mike Stallard

    “This is all comes down to placing God’s values at the heart of our society in order that we can all benefit.”
    The huge difference is that we actually care about people and we are trying very hard to love and help them where they are and whether or not they are “good”.
    Outside the Church it is like being outside Tescos – cold and the wind blows in your face.

  • The Bilkonian

    It makes a change to have a sensible conservative Archbishop as with Justin Welby, as opposed to the woolly headed pseudo socialistic airy fairy Archbishop Worzel Gummidge Williams.