Thinking Anglicans

Brexit: Why the Church should not stay silent

This week, the Church Times has a major feature on Brexit, with articles from a range of experts, spread over ten pages.

The following (related) items have been published on the website in advance:

The whole set is now published. The Church Times has a leader: Second thoughts on Brexit.

And Dave Walker has this Brexit cartoon.

Ten further articles are currently linked from this page.

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Sam Norton
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I wonder if there will be anything substantial (and theological) from someone in favour…

Victoriana
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Victoriana

I think that ship sailed with climate change. I wonder how that’s working out…?

Sam Norton
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Sorry, don’t understand that reference to climate change.

Nicholas Sparks
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Nicholas Sparks

I would suggest one Canon Dr Giles Fraser, Priest-in-Charge, St Mary, Newington: https://twitter.com/giles_fraser

Simon R
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Simon R

In response to Sam Norton – and for anyone else – this may be of interest

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/brexit/2018/09/20/how-anglicans-tipped-the-brexit-vote/

Of course, the bishops have been pathetically silent because they fear the financial impact of all these Brexit-supporting Anglicans walking away with their cheque books. Bonhoeffer might have had something trenchant to say about that.

Sam Norton
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Yes I read that, and it confirms me in my concerns expressed here: http://elizaphanian.com/?p=6075 I haven’t yet read all of the articles in the Church Times, but what I am really hoping for is a properly theological understanding of the nation, expressed by a Bishop, and how a Church explicitly of England understands its role within such a nation. Nations are real things, and the identification with that real thing is an essential part of being human – this doesn’t preclude a full awareness of the fallen nature of nations, or of the idolatry that nationalists can succumb to. I… Read more »

Savi Hensman
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Savi Hensman

I think it is important to note that many reasonably prosperous people voted for Brexit and a lot of low-income people (e.g. in Liverpool, the neighbourhoods in London among England’s poorest etc.) against. Another LSE blog from last year may be relevant – http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/brexit-and-the-squeezed-middle/.

David Emmott
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David Emmott

How can there be a particularly English perspective on the EU when we are a member of the EU as the United Kingdom and not as three and a bit individual nations? The Scottish independence referendum was opposed on the grounds that ‘we are better together’; why does this suddenly not apply in the case of Europe? Anyway nations are artificial constructs and not ‘real things’: real things are people and culture and traditions which can’t always be confined within political boundaries.

Philip Hobday
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Philip Hobday

1. Have they really been so silent? I haven’t done a systematic study but a number of bishops (including both Archbishops in England) expressed publicly their support for ‘Remain’, and one bishop for ‘Leave’. 2. Is that really the only reason they have been silent? Again, I haven’t done a study, but I have read or heard several saying publicly they don’t think it is the role of a church leader to use a public platform they are given simply because of their office to express a personal opinion on a political topic where Christians may legtimately have different views.… Read more »

David Rowett
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David Rowett

Not a surprising statistic, but I suspect it needs careful interpretation. Some simple observations – ‘Anglican’ in this context probably means ‘Mainly English’ (who were more pro-Brexit generally than Scotland), ‘Of riper years’ (and again that accords with the Brexit-favouring voting profile nationally) and skewed towards places like market towns (which were more likely to be Brexit-inclined than metropolitan areas). There’s probably even a bit of ‘white highlands’ stuff thrown in. (The more relaxed attitude towards sexual issues may well be because these days most families have at least one close relative who has caused them to re-examine their assumptions.)… Read more »

Bernard Silverman
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Bernard Silverman

David…the authors do discuss this point in their paper. The demographic variables you mention of course reduce the differences somewhat but not to the point where those who self-identify as Anglicans have voting behaviour which is “virtually indistinguishable.” This is all assuming that it’s meaningful to try to disentangle the various variables, another point discussed by the authors—and of course that’s behind the point in your third paragraph…

T Pott
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T Pott

If Bishop Baines had been alive at the time of the Exodus he would perhaps be warning people about the difficulties of procuring cucumbers and watermelons in a desert environment, (Numbers 11;5). At least the Church can spend the next 40 years telling us how much straighter our cucumbers would have been, if only it hadn’t been for Brexit. Jeremiah has his place, but where, amongst the bishops, are Moses and Joshua when we need them?

Pete Broadbent
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Pete Broadbent

1. Brexit ain’t the promised land. It’s the land of the libertarian Right, the neo-liberals and their capitalist friends who’d like to fleece our NHS, make trade with the unethical and the climate change denial merchants, and ally our country to Trumpism. 2. This isn’t the Exodus. It’s the time of the Prophets, who want to speak and act against those who hate migrants, asylum seekers and the poor, and to recall our country to a proper internationalism based on our affinity to our European neighbours. It’s the time to call out the liars who sold us Brexit with spurious… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

Well said

David Emmott
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David Emmott

This needs saying again and again, +Pete. Trouble is it wasn’t said loud enough or often enough before the vote, or even in the last two years. The debate has been nearly always on the ground chosen by the Brexiters, ‘take back control’ and such like nonsense.

Neil Jeffers
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Neil Jeffers

Thanks Pete, that really advances the debate. So my choice is to say I voted Leave because I’m stupid and easily misled, or because I hate the poor, migrants etc and I’m a lying nationalist. I don’t think I’ll go for either actually.

Pete Broadbent
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Pete Broadbent

It doesn’t really interest me why you voted the way you did. We have moved on. It’s the *consequences* of what Leave is going to produce that are so devastating for our country, for the Common Good and for the poor. We are about to hand our economic and social structures over to a bunch of libertarian ideologues who will seek, behind the scenes, inter alia, to privatise and asset strip our NHS, to allow all kinds of controls and safeguards on our imports to be abolished in the name of their idol “free trade”, and to demonise foreigners and… Read more »

Neil Jeffers
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Neil Jeffers

But we really haven’t moved on. All the same arguments are still raging and the movement for a second referendum is growing. Don’t worry about the libertarians (I am one and I know that it’s a position with very limited appeal in British politics): history shows that whenever libertarians get into govt they quickly change their mind – power is very alluring. There are very few libertarians in the senior echelons of the Conservatives, that’s why Daniel Hannan is still stuck in the European Parliament. Boris may talk the talk but his time in London shows how much he loves… Read more »

Laurie Roberts
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Laurie Roberts

Well said, Pete. It is great to read what you have written . It really needs to go out loud , cleaer and constantly.

Thank you.

Mark Brunson
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Mark Brunson

It seems to me that the position is quite the reverse – those coming in from the EU and asking for a wider responsibility for a larger society are the families of Israel and Joseph, while Britain has – quite effectively – taken the position of Egypt and Pharaoh; “We are civilization! We are religion! We are complete without you! Now that you make us afraid of you, we destroy you!”

Mark Brunson
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Mark Brunson

What a bizarre analogy. In no way could it be considered workable. Far less could Brexit be defended as somehow “Christian.” Perhaps, it’s being suggested that English people should slaughter all other races, at God’s behest, to establish their promised land? Or is it that, somehow, Boris Johnson is God’s prophet? Certainly, there’s no evidence of Mosaic Law, which enjoined treatment of foreigners seeking residence as friends and neighbors. I also recall that Israel was quite delighted, at one point, to be part of an international community, when the Persian Empire freed and backed them. It’s amazing what lengths fear… Read more »

Mark Brunson
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Mark Brunson

All humans, from a Christian perspective, are one people. How sad that so few alleged Christians seem to see it that way. This is why Christianity is failing.

T Pott
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T Pott

Mr Brunson asks: “Will you be kicking out those of Norman and Saxon descent, as well?” This is like asking “Are you beating your sister-in-law, as well as your wife?” There is no “as well”. Nobody is being kicked out. Nobody who has come to the UK from the EU is being asked to leave. There are no plans to do any such thing. Where did this idea originate? There is a huge amount of fake moralising about Brexit. Some people believe in unrestricted immigration from anywhere in the world. It is an honourable ideal. It can be campaigned for… Read more »

David Emmott
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David Emmott

There is an arguable left-wing, and Christian, case for Brexit. In theory. But in practice the links and connexions built up over the last 40 years or so of our EU membership can’t be easily disentangled. British citizens who settled in other EU countries, and EU citizens in this, can’t suddenly be treated as foreigners. The networks of co-operation in police work, or scientific research, or cultural links, or student exchanges, can’t just be torn up. But without an agreement (or scrapping Brexit altogether) all of these are threatened. If the EU needs to change (and it does) it won’t… Read more »

MarkBrunson
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MarkBrunson

What a way to completely dismiss the whole question. Sad.