“beguiled by money” and “morally corrupt”

Interestingly the BBC report on the response from MPs to the Church of England Bishops’ criticisms of the UK government over family breakdown, debt and poverty brings to light the role of the Second Church Estates Commissioner, and Labour MP for Middlesborough, Sir Stuart Bell, who called the bishops’ claims “nonsense” – “The Church of England should be a unifying force, since all sectors of the community will be affected by the economic downturn and must come through this together. The imbalanced bishops’ criticisms do not help to achieve this.” According to Sir Stuart Bell’s own website, his appointed role “entails representing the Church of England in the House of Commons”. Which is fine, obviously.. [So much for a secular society – Ed]. Not that the current government’s ethics haven’t been called into question before..

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  • DC

    It takes one to activate and it seems the whole lot go off.

    The only problem activating now is that they are a decade too late and well past the useful mid range. A bit like the lacklustre tory analysis, for those of us without bunkers we all know what has hit the fan thanks.

    Also to what degree will the church leaders examine their own frugality and moral propaganda as having failed not least on their parishioners / public but roles too as government influencers.

    If you are methodist with those shares in belfast give up hope of any government backed retrieval. Judge not that ye not be judged!

  • A slow news day?

  • I’ve run into the occasional bishop over the last half-century or so. They seem to fall into two categories: the quiet, effective pastor and the barking-mad, verbose, would-be politician.

    Each of the four Bishops cited here has a track record. I’m surprised nobody has pursued that line. Perhaps it’s because the serious journos are de-toxing somewhere away from their desks.

    Let me help them with a few clues.

    Stephen Lowe, the junior, is a suffragan in the diocese of Manchester, but one of just two suffragans in the House of Lords. He clearly is staking a more-conservative claim to the territory once decently and honourably occupied by David Sheppard. Lowe’s Faithful City is a pale imitation and clear homage to Sheppard’s Faith in the City. Early this year, Lowe was robustly defending Rowan Williams over the Sharia law kerfuffle. It went something like this:

    I’m fed up with politicians who shoot their mouths off about someone as intelligent as Rowan, without even thinking about what he said. This reaction just stirs up bad feeling between communities and plays into the hands of racists.

    Lowe is strong on the racist thing: on a previous outing he was arguing for the deletion from the hymnal, on grounds of heresy and racism, of I vow to thee, my country. My view is the music alone justifies its continued inclusion: I leave the theology to others.

    Now to bigger fish and some stronger meat.

    Nigel McCulloch, Bishop of Manchester, is a product of the independent sector of education (Liverpool College and Selwyn, Cambridge; Cuddesdon). His main contributions to western civilisation include a voiced objection to the Playstation game, Resistance, Fall of Man (not for its quite appalling and mindless violence, but because — allegedly — it digitalises the interior of Manchester Cathedral).

    He is the first Bishop to ordain his spouse. To be fair, he is the pick of this bunch and does not fall under section 2 of the Mental Health Act.

    Michael Scott-Joynt, Bishop of Winchester, is a real ecclesiastic grandee: Prelate of the Order of the Garter, no less. One persistent topic of bitchery among Anglicans is the surprise of Williams being preferred over Scott-Joynt for Canterbury (rumour has it that Scott-Joynt is also of this view). His choicest offering could be his Christmas, 2001, address, reflecting on 9/11, Afghanistan, Palestine and more:

    Would we be in this situation, if western – north American and European – electorates, all with deep Christian pedigrees, had not encouraged, supported or at least allowed our governments, over so many decades, to develop our standard of living at the expense of millions in the southern hemisphere? And if we had not sold their rulers armaments on such favorable terms, and with so little forethought? Cruelly evil though they were, I find that I have to understand the events of September 11 as a judgment upon us…

    Despite his confusion over planetary geography [southern hemisphere?], he seems intent on reopening hostilities with the American colonies over women bishops. He is a High Anglican (Cuddesdon, again) and an outspoken critic of gay-rights.

    Finally, at the other end of the Anglican spectrum is the Rt Rev Graham Dow, Bishop of Carlisle. He should be celebrated above all other follies for his hot-line to the Almighty as the Summer 2007 floods still washed around the knees of his flock:

    … laws that have undermined marriage, including the introduction of pro-gay legislation, have provoked God to act by sending the storms that have left thousands of people homeless…

    “This is a strong and definite judgment because the world has been arrogant in going its own way,” he said. “We are reaping the consequences of our moral degradation, as well as the environmental damage that we have caused.”

    “We are in serious moral trouble because every type of lifestyle is now regarded as legitimate,” he said.

    “In the Bible, institutional power is referred to as ‘the beast’, which sets itself up to control people and their morals. Our government has been playing the role of God in saying that people are free to act as they want,” he said, adding that the introduction of recent pro-gay laws highlighted its determination to undermine marriage.

    Now, we can’t allow any nonsense about people … free to act as they want, can we?

  • Jimmy Sands

    Thanks for that Malcolm. As a long standing party member I was interested to know who it was describing me as “morally corrupt” (arguably correct, but I suspect more a lucky guess in my case than real insight). I had just put it down to the notion that men in dresses called Nigel were not the party’s natural constituency but that last quote was really quite alarming. I blame the time of the year. For a couple of days people actually turn up for the carols and the mulled wine and they start to blieve the public is interested in listening to this drivel. What on earth is the point of them?

  • Eyal

    The guy who was elected on a promise to get rid of tobacco advertising then received £1 million from Bernie Ecclestone and changed his mind and only got rid of it when the EU banned it?

    That was Tony B-liar but do not forget that a certain Gordon Brown was Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time.

    (Test Word : Left. I wonder does Gordon and his chums know what it means?)