An open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury
The Anglican Church has published a letter to its followers arguing for political involvement.
It claims that the Church wishes to work for a more inclusive, fairer society and would like Christians to think about social and economic matters and vote in the imminent General Election.
This is entirely acceptable. The Anglican Church has every right to put out such statements in a free democratic society. It was however interesting to hear from the Bishop of Leicester that the political pronouncements of the Church should not be taken as the word of God.
It may be that the Anglican Church wishes to convince the political parties that it has political power… so both opposition and government should listen to what the bishops say and to be careful about entertaining policies which the Anglican Church dislikes.
If the Anglican Church really cares about the funding of the NHS. If it really wants a unified society then there are two simple things which the Anglican Church can do to advance those causes.
It can stop demanding that the NHS pays for religious care in hospitals. It could set up charitable trusts to fund the work of hospital chaplains and thereby relieve the NHS of that financial burden. This amounts to £1.3 million per year in Wales and nearly twenty times that figure in England.
It can stop using public money to create religious apartheid in schools. The creation of hundreds of sectarian, state funded schools will entrench sectarian division in the UK for decades to come. Organised religion follows this policy for a very simple reason. It is easier to indoctrinate children in its implausible religious world-views than it is to convert adults.
If the Anglican Church fails to deal with these issues then its pontificating about creating a better society will be seen by many as hypocritical.
18th February 2015