Thinking Anglicans

Bishops and welfare reforms

Updated Thursday morning

Since I published Bishops slam David Cameron’s welfare reforms last Thursday a number of more or less related articles have appeared.

Andrew Brown The Guardian Christians less generous than their clergy and everyone else
[see update below]

John Bingham The Telegraph Church of England bishops do not speak for own flock on welfare, study suggests

Tim Wyatt Church Times War of words between bishops and Government

Two retired archbishops have their say.
Rowan Williams Daily Mirror Food bank users are not scroungers and this isn’t a hiccup – it’s a serious crisis
George Carey Daily Mail Bishops are naive over cuts, warns former Archbishop of Canterbury Carey

John McDermott Financial Times A different banking crisis

Jessica Elgot Huffington Post UK Welfare Cuts: Have Christian Leaders Become The New Voice Of The Left?

The future of welfare: a Theos collection

Linda Woodhead Westminster Faith Debates
Churchgoers favour reduction in the welfare budget
What British People Really Believe

Jonathan Clatworthy Modern Church The bishops: the real opposition?

It’s been announced Bishop to Lead Parliamentary Inquiry into Foodbanks and Food Poverty.


Following representations from Theos The Guardian has amended the article by Andrew Brown linked above, changed the headline to Christians more hostile to benefit claimants than their clergy and added this note at the end:

This article, including the headlines, was amended on 26 February 2014 to clarify that research which suggested that large numbers of Christians believed spending on social security should be reduced was not done by the Christian thinktank Theos.

Gillan Scott comments on his Politics & Religion in the UK blog Are Christians really more hostile to benefit claimants than their bishops?

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Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
10 years ago

Lord Carey is speaking modern conservative nonsense when he suggests that the current economic crisis among the poor is a failure of community charity. Even if every member of society tithed, the private charities could never deliver the necessary sustaining assistance to all those in need. They don’t have the machinery (in the sense of personnel and equipment) to do it, without a massive investment in overhead.

Carey’s comments smack of Scrooge–“Are there no workhouses?”

10 years ago

A very good article from the FT, and interesting too for the quality and nature of the responses. FT readers seem rather more charitable than the majority of Anglicans surveyed recently!

Father David
Father David
10 years ago

What a contrast between the articles by the two retired ABCs. At today’s PMQs in answering a question by Alan Beath about the Bishops criticism of Government Policies towards the Poor, the Prime Minister took solace and comfort from the words of Lord Carey. Such a contrast to the days when Maggie spat blood and feathers at Archbishop Runcie’s Falklands sermon and when she passed over John Habgood in favour of the naive George Carey for the top job and what a disaster that proved to be for the Established Church! Not content at making Rowan’s life a misery when… Read more »

Iain Baxter
Iain Baxter
10 years ago

Good old George Carey – UKIP at prayer!

gerry reilly
gerry reilly
10 years ago

How sad the Bishop (he is no longer an Archbishop) Carey has forgotten his East End roots, and even sadder that he has forgotten the Sermon on the Mount and God’s preferential option for the poor. He has spent too much time cosying up to the rich and powerful,and has lost touch with the lives of ordinary people. Unfortunately, he is joined by too many Anglicans, who are trying once again to turn the C of E into the Tory party at prayer.

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
10 years ago

Pat O’Neill, your comment is unfortunately true on both sides of The Pond. I routinely read comments online from self-proclaimed conservative Christians over here on what a shame it was that government intervened during the Great Deprresion, how private charities are more worthy than government assistance, how private enterprise is the solution to our ills, and other such blather. In response, I use a quote from Dickens, from the same source as your “Are there no workhouses?” quote. It’s from Marley’s ghost: “Business? Mankind was my business. Charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The deals of my… Read more »

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