Justin Welby asked to intervene in beef-laced banknote production

Apparently, the polymer used to manufacture some British banknotes is made with fat from cows. This has outraged Hindus worldwide since the “cow, the seat of many deities, is sacred”.

Such is the Hindu consternation at this flagrant act of bovine desecration, that Justin Welby, whose efforts at Dethroning Mammon even before he knew it was rife with ruminants have clearly made a deeper impression than his efforts to run the Anglican Communion, has been enlisted to expunge the cow, along with its many deities, from the banknote.

Insiders have confided that Welby’s next book will be entitled Debeefing Mammon.

From here:

Hindus worldwide are upset over Bank of England’s blunt decision to continue making £5 and £10 polymer banknotes and introducing polymer £20 note, which reportedly contained traces of tallow, despite the serious concerns raised by the Hindu community.

[…..]

Zed urged BOE Court of Directors Chair Anthony Habgood and Governor Mark Carney to reconsider the BOE decision and halt the production/circulation of £5, £10 and £20 polymer notes.
Rajan Zed also urged UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to intervene.
Products from tallow (rendered form of beef or mutton fat) were reportedly used in the manufacture of the polymer substrate for the £5 and £10 polymer banknotes.
Consumption of beef is highly conflicting to Hindu beliefs and it is certainly banned from entering Hindu religious centers. Cow, the seat of many deities, is sacred and has long been venerated in Hinduism.

Justin Welby denounces Donald Trump’s politics as fascist

Justin Welby is struggling with abuse scandals in his church, a Communion that is fracturing and a denomination which, according to Rev Dr Gavin Ashenden, is dying.

What is to be done? Launch a diversionary offensive, of course. Accusing someone of being a fascist throws anyone who is listening – admittedly, not many – into paroxysms of righteous indignation or outrage, depending on one’s political bias. The main thing is, it helps people forget about the things the Church of England’s commander-in-chief has left undone.

An added benefit is that, as George Orwell noted, “the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless” making its use consistent with most other pronouncements any self-respecting Anglican Archbishop might make.

From here:

Donald Trump is part of the same “fascist tradition of politics” as far-right European politicians such as Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders, the Archbishop of Canterbury suggested last night.

In his most outspoken comments since the American president’s ban on travellers from some Muslim-majority countries was announced, the Most Rev Justin Welby accused Mr Trump of being part of a group of leaders from a “nationalist, populist, or even fascist tradition of politics”.

Easy reflections from Auschwitz

Easy? Yes, these remarks from Justin Welby are easy because he is making them from a distance – a temporal distance of over 70 years. It is easier to blame our forebears for their sins than to acknowledge our own sin of failing to denounce a horror that is in front of our noses – just because it is a cultural norm.

Between 1940 and 1945 up to 1.5 million people were murdered in Auschwitz – an incomprehensible atrocity. In 2016, 40 million babies were murdered in the womb; around 125,000 per day, an atrocity so far outside the safe space of liberal pseudo-thought that it is beyond the ability of churchmen like Welby to even acknowledge, let alone denounce. Perhaps, one day, just as the residents of Dachau were made to view the horrors on their doorstep, crypto-liberals like Welby will be compelled to acknowledge the holocaust that is too close for comfort.

In the meantime, we will have to put up with some easy reflections:

This was my third visit to Auschwitz / Birkenau, and each time has been even more appalling. In early January the cold is penetrating, between nine and 14 degrees below centigrade. We were fully equipped with snow boots, layers of clothing, hats, gloves, scarves. . . yet it worked through layer after layer until we were cold to the core. The prisoners wore the equivalent of pyjamas and clogs. We were out in that cold for five hours in the day. They would be out for 12 hours. We were fed. They were starved.

There are so many statistics about Auschwitz / Birkenau, but it defies description. Eighty-five per cent of prisoners died. Many in just days of arriving. Then there was the industrialised killing of the gas chambers. The vulnerable, the disabled, marginalised minorities, and above all the Jews: children, adults and the elderly, taken from a train to their deaths in as little as 30 minutes. Accounts were kept, profits were sought. No one can deny the reality of what happened. There is simply far, far, far too much evidence.

Justin Welby wants to wipe out AIDS by 2030

Read and watch here.

There is nothing particularly surprising about this since the Anglican church seems to have an obsessive interest in making broad declarations about things over which it has no control or influence. When Anglican leaders are not parading their impotence by Making Poverty History or demanding justice on behalf of the climate, they are, with no medical knowledge whatsoever and a diminished confidence in the efficacy of prayer to heal, trumpeting that AIDS is to be banished by 2030. But why AIDS?

As you can see from the following chart, heart disease kills five time the number of people as AIDS. Even diarrhoea kills as many people as AIDS. Why isn’t the Archbishop of Canterbury telling us what a great privilege it is to be invited to give a message on the fight against diarrhoea?

disease

The reason, I suspect, is that, in a similar vein to Romans 1:18-32, as the church’s interest in eternity has waned, so its interest in sex – homosexual sex in particular – has increased, attracting a disproportionate number of homosexual clergy.

Although AIDS can be spread through heterosexual contact, the preferred way to contract it is still through homosexual activity. As this article points out, homosexual men are more severely affected by HIV than any other group in the United States.”

So for Anglican leaders, combating AIDS is a species of group self-interest.

Justin Welby and the Dead Parrot

There have been numerous articles – here is an example – written about Justin Welby’s attempt to inject an illusory aura of unity into something that has been decomposing since it expired in 2003: the Anglican Communion. Rowan Williams tried to do this too by channelling Hegel; he failed miserably – does anyone remember the Covenant? – and retreated to academia.

Justin Welby is inviting the Anglican primates to a “special gathering” in January 2016 to “look afresh at our ways of working as a Communion”.

The Anglican Church of Canada has its own parochial perspective on all this. In a 2012 visit to see Justin Welby, Fred Hiltz expressed his “ongoing concern about efforts by the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) to be recognized by the Church of England”. The last thing the rapidly dwindling Anglican Church of Canada needs is more competition from another Anglican Province in North America – one that is recognised by Canterbury. Hiltz’s worst fears may be coming to a nail-biting climax since ACNA’s Foley Beach has been invited to the January 2016 gathering; it looks likely that he will attend. The Anglican Journal sees this as “fuelling the controversy”, omitting the obvious fact that the controversy was ignited by Hiltz and Jefferts-Shori in the first place when they decided to promote same-sex blessings in spite of strenuous protests from the rest of the Communion:

Fuelling the controversy was an invitation extended by Welby to Archbishop Foley Beach, head bishop of the Anglican Church in North America, to be present for part of the meeting.

Welby points out:

We each live in a different context.

“The difference between our societies and cultures, as well as the speed of cultural change in much of the global north, tempts us to divide as Christians: when the command of scripture, the prayer of Jesus, the tradition of the church and our theological understanding urges unity. A 21st-century Anglican family must have space for deep disagreement, and even mutual criticism, so long as we are faithful to the revelation of Jesus Christ, together.

If that sounds like the old familiar Anglican Fudge it’s probably because it is. The ACoC and TEC are not “faithful to the revelation of Jesus Christ”. That has always been the problem, is still the problem and unless Jesus returns before January will almost certainly continue to be the problem.

Happily, the GAFCON primates, having already been fed Anglican Fudge to the point of gagging, see what is going on perfectly clearly and have issued something that is quite unfamiliar to Western Anglicans: a lucid statement. It contains this:

It is on this basis that the GAFCON Primates will prayerfully consider their response to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s letter. They recognize that the crisis in the Communion is not primarily a problem of relationships and cultural context, but of false teaching which continues without repentance or discipline.

For my part, I am somewhat indifferent to the outcome of the “special gathering”. My main interest is to be a part of an institution that is easily identifiable as a Christian Church, something that, while sober, I could not accuse the Anglican Church of Canada of.

I just wish I could be in the room when the GAFCON primates tell Fred Hiltz and Michael Curry that they must repent of their false teaching.

Justin Welby peddles “inclusive capitalism”

I was under the naïve impression that there was nothing left to which the overused to the point of meaninglessness adjective “inclusive” could be applied – but I was wrong.

From here:

The Archbishop of Canterbury today calls on business and market leaders to be less self-serving and to adopt a new model known as “inclusive capitalism”.

[…..]

“Rather than just seeking a return on investment, there has to be a generosity that reaches out.”

Any model of capitalism that relied solely on self-interest would lead to the collapse of society, he warns, writing in the Telegraph.

“Altruism, the imitation of the God who acts in love that does not seek return, is a crucial part of a stable and functional society.”

To what organisation should we look for inspiration in eschewing financial self-interest and seeking no return on investments? The Church of England, of course:

The Church Commissioners hold investments whose value was approaching £6.7 billion at the end of 2014.

[…..]

Their long term target is a return of at least RPI [inflation] plus 5% over the long term.

A paradigm of inclusive capitalism: it includes £6.7 billion and 5% return over inflation.

Archbishop of Canterbury hosts multi-faith Lambeth schmooze

It should be the beginning of a joke and, in a way, I suppose it is: a Muslim, Jew, Sikh, Hindu, Zoroastrian, Buddhist, Jainist and Christian all walk into Lambeth Palace; they look at the Christian and decide he doesn’t belong.

From here:

The Archbishop of Canterbury last night hosted a reception for inter-religious and community leaders at Lambeth Palace.

Speaking at the annual event, which brings together members different faith groups to foster relationships, Archbishop Justin Welby reflected on the theme of reconciliation, which is one of his ministry priorities.

The event was attended by a wide range of people from Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, Zoroastrian, Buddhist, Jain and Christian traditions.

I can think of a number of reasons why Welby might do this, none of which have anything to do with the hope of converting anyone, least of all the visitors, to Christianity.

The first is to demonstrate the pride with which Western Anglicanism holds firm to the proposition that it doesn’t much matter what anyone believes, so long as we can all get along.

The second is to disabuse those who are under the mistaken impression that the Anglican trinitarian god has three persons named Diversity, Inclusion and Equality; no, the one true Anglican god is now named Reconciliation.

The third is related to the first and second. If Jesus had simply learned to get along with everyone, to reconcile with them, he wouldn’t have ended up on that embarrassing  cross, removing a major stumbling block in our getting along with Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Buddhists and Jainists.

Fourth, Justin Welby has finally realised that it is easier to find agreement between Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Buddhists and Jainists than between Anglicans.

I write in jest, of course. To be absolutely serious, Welby himself tells us what this was really all about: the need to create a space that is relational:  a convenient void into which one can jettison unwanted relations. What could be clearer than that?

Justin Welby: the secret of being an archbishop is to be reconciled to your own embarrassment

From here:

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said it is “embarrassing” that posts in the Church of England are being advertised for less than the living wage despite the Church’s declared commitment to the principle.

[….]

The living wage commitment was included in the controversial bishops’ pastoral letter, ‘Who is my Neighbour?’, released last week.
Speaking at a conference in Birmingham today for business and Church leaders, the Archbishop of Canterbury said that the revelation was “embarrassing”. However, the Press Association reported: “But in the light of transparency, which I welcome, I will say we are a complex institution and every parish church and cathedral is an independent charity, as is every diocese.

“We don’t have a centralised method of control.

“I’m not very keen on centralised control where, from far away, you tell people what to do.”

If only Welby took the same view when it comes to the government. The Pastoral Letter issued by Church of England Bishops expends a torrent of verbiage on telling everyone what to do – when it isn’t waxing lyrical on the virtues of centralised control.

As it happens, I reported on the Church’s stingy salaries in July 2014, so Welby has no excuse for being unaware of this: he just needs to read Anglican Samizdat.

Justin Welby wants businesses to pay more tax

He is upset that businesses are using foreign countries with more attractive tax laws as a haven for tax saving.

From here:

The Archbishop kept his strongest comments for the role taxes play in ensuring that companies contribute to the societies in which they operate.

“There has always been the principle that you pay the tax where you earn the money,” he told me.

“If you earn the money in a country, the revenue service of that country needs to get a fair share of what you have earned.”

Welby’s point about contributing to the society in which a business operates by paying tax in that country would be more convincing if the Church of England didn’t receive extravagant tax breaks. The church collects £1 billion a year in donations, spends £189 million in salaries, has an investment portfolio worth £5.5 billion and receives £84 million in Gift Aid tax rebates.

The church, of course, is a charity and does not operate for profit – although the £5.5 billion looks suspiciously like profit to me. In spite of its spiritual aspirations – none of which seem particularly in evidence these days – as an organisation, the CofE runs as a business.

It doesn’t help that in 2012 when the government threatened to impose VAT tax on church building renovations, the church pleaded to be exempt from that tax, too.

To be clear: I don’t think churches should have to pay tax. However, since churches are in that privileged position in our society, a church leader who whines about businesses minimising their taxes deserves all the ridicule we can muster: his organisation is a consummate tax dodger.

Justin Welby the socialist

From here:

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby opened the discussion, which was part of the Trinity’s Institute’s conference on Creating Common Good: A Practical Conference on Economic Inequality, Jan. 22 to 25. Examining scriptures from both the New and Old Testaments, he said, “There is an ambivalence, an acceptance of wealth as blessing and yet a hesitation, a doubt, a fear about its consequences.”

Of course, examples of people who have created great wealth and used it for the common good, such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, spring to mind and are reason to give thanks, he acknowledged. There is no biblical injunction against all personal wealth but, he said, there is an injunction against “the systematic and indefinite accumulation of grossly unequal [wealth in] societies.”  That, he said, “always leads to abuse, even if every wealthy person is generous, because the asymmetries of power means that wealth allocation becomes a matter of paternalism not a basic issue of justice.”

There has never been – nor, I contend will there ever be – a society in which there is not an allocation of grossly unequal wealth. The difference between capitalist inequality, an inequality from which, as a salaried archbishop Welby derives considerable benefit, and socialist inequality is that the poor in capitalist countries tend to be far better off than the poor in socialist countries.

As Winston Churchill observed, the only equality that socialism manages to spread is equal misery – apart from the ruling elite, of course, who appropriate grossly unequal wealth.

I can’t help wondering if Welby believes his own Gospel – the one where the poor are blessed and a camel going through the eye of a needle is easier than a rich person going to heaven. In Welby’s red Christianity, the rich young ruler would not be invited to sell everything he had and give the proceeds to the poor: his wealth would have already been confiscated by the state, depriving him of the choice. But that’s what socialism is all about: removing choice.