Thinking Anglicans

Reflecting on the outcome of the EU Referendum

Updated again Monday afternoon

Following the initial flurry of statements from bishops, there have been several more reflective articles published by various people writing from a Christian perspective.

Anna Rowlands wrote The Fragility of Goodness: Brexit Viewed from the North East.

Nick Holtam wrote this on the Referendum Result.

Luke Bretherton wrote Brexit as Theodicy and Idolatry.

Angus Ritchie had Brexit: How can we reflect and respond?

Philip North has this in today’s Church Times: Northern foodbank Britain finds its voice

There is a lot more material in this week’s Church Times but it is behind the paywall. However, Andrew Lightbown discusses some of the points raised in his blog, entitled Bishop David Walker or Richard Lewis? Who is correct?

Michael Sadgrove has Brexit: An Open Letter to the Archbishops of the Church of England.

Earlier he had also written Brexit: how to go positively into exile and On Saying Farewell to the EU: the morning after.

Brian Castle wrote Brexit – Now is not the time for Reconciliation.

Updates

Martyn Percy has written a major essay which is summarised here: After Brexit – Can we find a broad and middle way? Senior cleric calls for new social-progressive political party and the full essay can be read by following that link.

Tanya Marlow has written Brexit, hate crime, fear: what’s the Christian response?

Bishops of the Lincoln diocese The EU Referendum: responding to the vote to leave

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Kate
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Kate

Andrew Lightbown – to quote the Krankies, Fan-dabi-dozi. Absolutely cracking piece.

Father David
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Father David

Desmond Tutu once famously said “When people say that the Bible and politics don’t mix, I ask them what Bible they are reading.” I think I rather agree with the former Dean of Wells for it seems to me that the “lead” given by our bishops and deans (with the honourable exception of Michael Sadgrove, Dean Emeritus of Durham)in that dreadfully divisive Referendum “debate” has been, to say the least, Laodicean. In this respect our religious and spiritual leaders response has been similar to the half-hearted and indifferent backing given to the REMAIN campaign by Mr. Corbyn on the left… Read more »

Nicholas Henderson
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Nicholas Henderson

It’s an unpopular idea at the moment but is certain to come – a second referendum, perhaps couched in terms of ‘is the new Brexit deal that the government has negotiated acceptable?’ The answer to this will almost certainly be a rejection and et voila a second referendum will have delivered a wish to remain in Europe.

In this plausible scenario, just as the Archbishops made their view clear before the referendum just past, so the Church will need to have an opinion again.

Discuss …

Susannah Clark
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Anna Rowlands’ analysis is superb. She calls us towards the true political objective: “the real object: the pursuit of the life of the common good.” And she makes the sharp point, that when local community fails, and people lose cohesion at the local level, how can we expect them to look out for others from outside? “When civic institutions are largely gone or viewed as irrelevant, where… do we form bonds of affection and a sense of shared life across different classes, ethnicities and faiths?” There is a sense in which community life has been hollowed out from inside, and… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

Susannah I was less impressed with Anna Rowlands’ analysis. She rails against an overly simplistic assessment of motivation for voting Leave and her analysis there I agree is very good. But after pointing out that Leave is grounded in a sense of Identity, she then fails to grasp that Remain is too. She talks of Remain voters losing tangible financial benefits but doesn’t recognise that Remain is about actively having a sense of European identity which had superseded, and for some replaced, national identity. Leave asked people to vote for a British identity but the result rips away the European… Read more »

Susannah Clark
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Kate, I wasn’t really worried about the ‘sides’ involved. I was saddened by what I think is her correct analysis about the loss / deterioration of community in England (and almost abandonment by the political classes). And I feel that her analysis is correct, in suggesting that the Church has an opportunity to try to right that wrong. If God the Holy Trinity – the God of eternal community and relationship – doesn’t show us what is really important I life and society, then it’s probably because we don’t listen or open ourselves enough to God. The building of community… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

We are in a period of social change as abrupt as the industrial revolution. Historians will look back and identify that many minorities were treated badly. With that I agree. But community is changing rather than being lost. Community of interest is replacing spatial proximity. That will transform Christian fellowship but is massively disruptive for the Church which is so focused on the number of bums on seats IE upon physical presence. Methodist Pastor Tim Ross wanted to offer a Twitter Eucharist. The Methodist Church blocked it. But I think the Church must get past a sentimental view that community… Read more »

James Byron
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James Byron

In 2008, after a hate campaign, 52 percent of Californians voted to strip marriage rights from lesbian and gay couples: seven million outvoted six million. Did the defeated side roll over and accept the tyranny of the majority? Did they hell: Proposition 8 was struck down in federal court. The majority were overruled by the Constitution. Popular sovereignty’s meaningless without the rule of law, and an indispensable part of sovereignty is the right to change your mind and undo what’s been done. It’s not down to the government to decide to grant the people another say in light of broken… Read more »

Susannah Clark
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Thank you, James. You have just presented the case for a second Scottish independence referendum. Circumstances have changed since last year, and the Scottish people have the right to call a referendum (via their representatives in Holyrood) to establish whether Scotland has changed its mind. The sovereignty of the Scottish people is poorly defended and upheld, when Scotland elects only 1 Conservative MP out of 59 Scottish seats, yet gets landed with an austerity-driven Conservative government. And votes 62-38% to remain in the EU, and yet apparently will be taken out of the EU. That democratic deficit is quite stark,… Read more »

James Byron
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James Byron

“The difference between England and Scotland thus far being, that democracy came alive on the street in Scotland last year, and the people became politically engaged at grassroots level. However, I still sense that in England they look to their ‘betters’ (Westminster) to sort things out, rather than mobilise themselves. Time will tell whether the close referendum result changes that.” I suspect, Susannah, that the difference lies in different concepts of sovereignty: in Scotland, the people are sovereign; in England and Wales, the Westminster parliament claims sovereignty via the Crown (and the Crown, though it keeps it on the Q.T.… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

It is good to hear such a respected MP as Dominic Grieve (former Attorney General)speaking about the possibility of a second EU Referendum as so many who rashly voted LEAVE are now expressing the view that they wished they had voted REMAIN in the light of the mayhem that has resulted following a Brexit win. The Church of England offers the perfect model concerning a second vote. With regard to both the General Synod’s votes to introduce women into the priesthood and the episcopate – the first votes, in both cases, were NO while the second vote produced a YES… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Martin Percy’s excellent essay has much to commend it. Party politics aside, his recommendation for a new outlook in both Church and State in the U.K. seems highly commendable. There is no room in today’s world for isolationism. God’s world, though diverse, was created to be inclusive. No one nation can expect to ‘go it alone’ anymore. As with the Church, the Body of Christ, we all need to look to and nurture what unites us – rather than seek to dwell on our divisions.

Malcolm Dixon
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Malcolm Dixon

You asked us to discuss, Nicholas. I too favour a second referendum as a way to get us out of the mess we are now in. Like Susannah, I voted remain, but with a heavy heart. Idealistically, of course we should be part of a larger grouping but the group we were being asked to reaffirm is so deeply flawed, so far short of any ideal, that I was reluctant to encourage it by voting to remain. But I feared the consequences of leaving, and the turmoil and political vacuum now developing is far worse than I imagined. Normally of… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
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Some of the comments submitted have spilled over into a discussion of one or other of the party leadership contests. That’s off-topic for this thread, sorry.

Father David
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Father David

Apparently a thousand Barristers now are of the opinion that the Referendum result is not legally binding and merely advisory. They state that the campaign “was influenced by misrepresentation of fact and promises that could not be delivered”. Amen to that!