Thursday, 27 February 2014

Anglicans are the most Conservative religious group in the country – so why is the church run by lefties?

Whenever I begin to suspect that I’m turning into a mad old right-wing “reds-under-the-bed” paranoiac doomed to end my days huddled on park benches muttering to myself about an imaginary socialist plot to destroy our way of life, someone writes or says something that reveals me to be a hard-headed, clear-eyed realist. Today it’s a trainee priest writing under the pseudonym “Harry Pinker” in the latest issue of The Spectator, here. The number of parallels with what I found at the BBC (here) is startling - and depressing:

Any overtly Tory priest-in-training would quickly learn the error of his ways. I have not, in two years here, heard anything other than left-wing bias in preaching, either from the staff or from visiting speakers. We are fed a constant diet of propaganda which assumes that all Tories are evil and that they exist solely for the benefit of the rich.
Earlier this month 27 Anglican bishops signed a letter to the left-wing newspaper the Daily Mirror, accusing Tory “cuts” of creating “hardship and hunger”. What was truly awful about their drivellings was the absence of any understanding that moves to uncouple recipients from the welfare teat might have a moral as well as an economic purpose: surely it's unarguable that supporting a system which encourages able-bodied people of sound mind to live a parasitic existence at the expense of those who can be bothered to work for a living is wicked, because it destroys the sense of purpose and corrodes the souls of those allowed to wallow in idleness. Needless to say, the arguments used by the bishops were of the babyish variety often parroted by gormless students, Question Time audiences and the dimmer members of Labour’s front bench.

“Harry Pinker” underlines this point:
In terms of welfare reform, the established position is to the left of Archbishop Welby’s. It is generally considered that any change to the system would be immoral; that the only Christian solution is to keep increasing spending. I have never heard a priest discuss the fact that people might become dependent on welfare. 
The truly weird thing about all this (except to those of us aware of the Left’s wildly successful strategy of taking control of just about every major traditional British institution) is that far more of those who describe themselves as Anglicans vote Conservative rather than Labour. Last month saw the publication of Voting and Values in Britain: Does religion count? by Ben Clements and Nick Spencer, a report by the religious think-tank, Theos. Its findings are fascinating. In the 2010 General Election, 45.5% of Anglicans voted Tory, while 25.5% voted Labour. Amongst Anglicans who actually attend church at least once a month, the figures are even more one-sided – 51.6% voted Tory, while a miserable 19.4% chose Labour. Even allowing for a large Liberal Democrat vote (25.8%), this means that more church-going Anglicans voted Conservative in 2010 than for both of the other two main parties combined. And it means that less than one in five Anglican voters opted for the party overhwlemingly supported by their own clergy!

So Anglican bishops and priests do not represent the political views of the majority of those who – like them – regularly attend church. Not only that, Anglican clergy (according to “Harry Pinker” – and their public utterances would seem to support him) actively despise the political values of the majority of their flock.

Mind you, I’m glad I never became a Roman Catholic – screamingly red, apparently.


  1. Dr Spacely Trellis27 February 2014 at 23:55

    What, in a very real sense, would Jesus have done and how can we be more like Him?

    Well, the poor will inherit the earth. Or is that the meek? I forget. It's a long time since I felt the need to return to the Scriptures. Whatever, I sense that our Lord would have been moved in a very real sense by the plight of our sister in Christ, White Dee, and her struggle to lead a good life. Jesus liked the poor and threw the money lenders out of the temple so I think we can see where his sympathies lie. We are simple servants of His will.

    So, let us rise up and march against the Poll Tax. Let it not be said that the Church is out of touch with popular feeling.

    1. The go-ahead Bishop of Bevindon has emailed me to say he agrees with you entirely, and that we are all to blame in a very real sense.

  2. I can only say that I stopped supporting my local village church's Harvest Festival when I was told that the money raised was being sent to 'Africa'.

    You hardly need to be an expert in international affairs to work out that 'Africa' will mean more Kalashnikovs or Mercedes for thugs and despots.

    I might add that the church in question has a sister church in a village nearby that is one of the poorest in the county. I suppose I am a benighted racist for daring to think that is where any money should have gone - if only because one could see how it was being spent.

    1. Couldn't agree more. It's a relief that our church is currently spending our money on either very local, immediate causes or, if the money's going abroad, on the alleviation of extremely specific, identifiable suffering, so there seems little chance of the dosh ending up in the pockets of limb-hacking monsters.

      What astonishes me about Roman Catholic and Anglican bishops (and cardinals) is that, despite living in a country ravaged by moral and spiritual poverty, they seem to have adopted a purely materialistic approach - i.e. firehose yet more cash at the poor and it'll all be hunky-dory. I'm also confused as to why they're so keen for the state to handle charitable giving on our behalf - why don't the churches want to do it directly?

  3. I think you've put your finger on the point in earlier posts. It's not about policies that will work, so much as those that will make their advocates feel better about themselves. The debate about the 50% top rate of tax is the perfect example. Any reputable study shows that raising tax rates on top earners from 45% to 50% leads to a loss of revenue but it is Labour policy because it makes their constituency feel that they are doing the right thing like real socialists should, by 'squeezing the rich until the pips squeak'.

    It's the same with the liberal clergy, particularly en bloc. Most of them are pretty rational people individually - our old, deeply wet vicar was - but as a group seem to think that Christianity demands a well-meant and comforting redistribution of wealth by the state to prop up those who aren't as well off as the rest. Logic, economics and rationality don't come into it. It's more a feeling that it's what Jesus would have wanted because he was a kind chap and a bit of a lefty too.

  4. Indeed to all points. Malign compassion is the order of the day - rather than recognising the fundamental Christian truth that we are all flawed creatures in need of spiritual help and comfort, most of the clergy seem to have decided that the less-well-off are all martyrs oppressed by The Rich, who are, of course, innately wicked (unless they’re champagne socialists): they seem to have forgotten the part of the Christian message about renouncing sin - i.e. like all socialists, they seem happy for the state to finance the deserving and the undeserving poor alike, thus ensuring that hundreds of thousands of Britons will continue to live chaotic, squalid, immoral lives because they’re always protected from the consequences of their behavioural choices.