Whilst I can see the need for someone to be the conscience of a nation, I really do not think that at the moment the church is in a position to do such a thing. Too many scandals, too much support for unworthy causes and too much pandering to other religions does not help.
Four churches have joined forces to accuse the government of welfare payment cuts they say are unjust and target society’s most vulnerable.
The Easter criticism has come from the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist and United Reformed Churches, and the Church of Scotland.
They also want to see a change to “a false picture” of the poor as “lazy”.
The government said society suffered when people were paid more to be unemployed than to work.
A series of changes to benefits are being made in April – including capping rises on working-age benefits at 1% – which will affect hundreds of thousands of households across the UK.
Looks like a case of other people’s money syndrome being played out on the BBC, though one can’t help but wonder if it would have been a major headline if as i were the Labour Party facing such criticism. What is particularly galling is that those calling upon the government to give to those who do not contribute are multi billion pound organisations themselves.
The Church of England for instance holds investments in industrial estates, leisure parks, shopping centres, parking facilities in the city of London and European property. As an established religious organisation, the Various churches are also exempt paying VAT on the costs of maintaining their property, and therefore not contributing to the tax revenue required to run the country, yet they expect us to pay more.
The other three are not so wealthy yet they are clearly in breach of several biblical (New Testament) commands…
Matthew 19:21… Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.
Matthew 6.1… Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of people in order to be noticed by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So whenever you give to the poor, do not blow a trumpet before you, like the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they will be praised by people. Truly I tell you, they have their full reward! But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be done in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Matthew 6.5… And when you pray, you should not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and your Father which sees you in secret shall reward you openly.
Mark 6.7… And he called to him the twelve, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics.
In other words people in glass houses should not throw bricks. If you’re going to criticise someone for not spending money on the poor, it’s best not to do it from the position of a multi-billion pound organisation.
This is hypocrisy in the extreme, the church would do well to look at the teachings of its founder and not be gathering the fruits of Mammon to spend upon maintaining itself nor using the donations of its followers to keep 44 Bishops on a salary of circa £40,000 to £80,000 a year, who all live rent free in one of the Church’s lavish, historic, houses/palaces/castles.
Note, this isn’t an attack on Christians or Christianity, but upon the organisations that have grown up to support themselves by their means. Until or unless Christians go back to basics and shed the bishops and the wealth accumulated then such criticism of the government for not helping the poor simply looks like posturing…