Thinking Anglicans

The Big Society

The Church of England General Synod will be debating the “Big Society” on Tuesday afternoon this week. As background material to this debate the Mission and Public Affairs Division has produced a report: GS1804 “The Big Society” and the Church of England. There is also a summary of this report: GS1804A. The debate will undoubtedly extend to the government’s cuts in public expenditure.

Jonathan Wynne-Jones writes in today’s Telegraph: Bishops warn David Cameron’s Big Society will be undermined by welfare cuts

Today’s Diary of a civil servant column in The Observer is Welcome to the ever-diminishing world of the ‘big society’.

The Common Wealth (Christians for Economic and Social Justice) network has been launched with Christians say cuts-based Big Society is ‘a Big Lie’. The network has issued a statement with this abstract.

In the face of sweeping public spending cuts and a UK government economic strategy which targets the poor to pay for a crisis produced by the wealthy, a group of Christians in public life (activists, ministers and theologians) have issued this statement calling for Christian unity with others in the movement to resist the cuts in public and welfare provision. It urges the churches to be wary about being co-opted into the Big Society initiative – which it calls ‘a big lie’ in economic terms. The document articulates a radical theological critique of government policies and the social and economic order they seek to maintain. It is rooted in an alternative vision based on strong Christian roots and wide solidarities, arguing for a Common Wealth that expresses the central dynamics of the Gospel message. The statement is also a call to form a network of discernment, resistance and creativity in the generation of fresh approaches to the shared life of people and planet.

Savi Hensman has written for Ekklesia about Cuts that divide and devalue

The Church in Wales has issued this press release: Count the human cost of the cuts – Bishop responds to Draft Budget.

And there is this from The Church of Scotland: Kirk challenges Chancellor to meet the poor.

Church Action On Poverty has published Churches challenge Government over poverty and welfare.

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MarkBrunsonCynthia GilliattFather Ron SmithCounterlightevensongjunkie Recent comment authors
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JCF
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JCF

“a UK government economic strategy which targets the poor to pay for a crisis produced by the wealthy”

If this is the “Big Society”, it must make LBJ (originator of the “Great Society” of social uplift) spinning in his grave. [NB to anyone who’s heard otherwise: President Johnson’s “Great Society” plans worked FANTASTICALLY, until they came undone by their funding siphoned off to pay for the disastrous Vietnam War]

Unfortunately, Cameron’s plan sounds like our new House majority’s (only I’m sure it will be even more cruel to the Have-Nots, to pay for ever-greater tax cuts for the wealthy).

evensongjunkie
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evensongjunkie

Imagine: A C of E fighting for the poor and not obsessing over female bishops and LGBT clerics…perhaps recovery is imminent.

Counterlight
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Counterlight

On this side of the Atlantic, where the Republicans will be effectively in charge again after January (always expect Democratic leaders to cave in every confrontation), our churches will welcome the money changers back into the Temple, not through the back door, but through the front with loud hosannas and trumpet blasts.

Easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for American church leaders to hear the groans and cries of the poor, including the recently poor.

Father Ron Smith
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But, is society going to be Big Enough to allow the LGBT people in it to flourish? Hopefully the Church might have something positive to say on that score too, when it talks of bringing justice to birth in society.

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

“Easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for American church leaders to hear the groans and cries of the poor, including the recently poor.”

That’s a rather broad brush. From global concerns for the poor [support for the MDGs] to reaching out to neighboring cuntries [Haiti] to attention to local needs [food pantries, job coaching, thermal shleter for the homeless, soup kitchens] US churches do a lot.

MarkBrunson
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“Imagine: A C of E fighting for the poor and not obsessing over female bishops and LGBT clerics…perhaps recovery is imminent.”

No.

It’s just P. R. A little marketing to make another old-boy network look edgy and appealing.