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The House of Bishops of the Church of England have told Christians they have a duty to vote in the general election and condemned the demonising of benefits claimants and the targeting of the least well off for cuts.

In a 52 page letter to the people and parishes of the Church of England published today, the Bishops say

“Unless we exercise the democratic rights that our ancestors struggled for, we will share responsibility for the failures of the political classes. It is the duty of every Christian adult to vote, even though it may have to be a vote for something less than a vision that inspires us.”

In a clear attack on the language used by politicians and the media about benefits claimants, they add that:

“It is particularly counter-productive to denigrate those who are in need, because this undermines the wider social instinct to support one another in the community. For instance, when those who rely on social security payments are all described in terms that imply they are undeserving, dependent, and ought to be self-sufficient, it deters others from offering the informal, neighbourly support which could ease some of the burden of welfare on the state.”

The Bishops also point out that austerity has not been experienced equally by all:

“It has been widely observed that the greatest burdens of austerity have not been born by those with the broadest shoulders – that is, those who enjoy a wide buffer zone before they fall into real need. Those whose margin of material security was always narrow have not been adequately protected from the impact of recession.”

You can download the full letter, ‘Who is my neighbour’ from this link.


+1 #6 capainFAIRY 2015-02-24 15:24
At last a C of E Bishop with the balls to put it in writing. Where are the rest of them, CofE, Catholic etc. Cameron should give up his faith because he doesn't practice what we read in the bible. Forgot he has his own bible. IDS is a Roman Catholic? I am speechless.
+4 #5 Paul Richards 2015-02-19 21:30
Hi all,
Good on all of the (CofE) Bishops for condemning this Government's policies. I, as a Roman Catholic, totally abhore all of what has been done by him (IDS) - he, as a 'devout R.C.' should be ashamed of what he has done - vilifying the poor and disabled (in favour of the rich and the 'bankers'). Totally shame on him.
He is not truly a Christian - he is a Christian in a wolf's clothing and, hopefully before too long he will answer for it.
+4 #4 tintack 2015-02-18 17:37
It's not hard to see why Cameron's fuming - the Tories are used to having it all their own way, especially as their supporters and paymasters dominate the press. They hate it when anyone expresses any dissent, and, to make matters worse, he can't attack or dismiss the bishops as he would a political opponent. The line in the letter which says that the brunt of austerity "has not been borne by those with the broadest shoulders" is particularly damning, as is their condemnation of the demonisation of claimants. They use diplomatic language of course, but they're clearly accusing the Tories of screwing the poor - and they're right to do so. Let the Tories squirm.
+3 #3 Bill 2015-02-18 15:34
Today, Wednesday, we heard on the radio that Mr Cameron is ''fuming'' at the Church getting involved in Politics.

Good on the Church we say, and lets hope they continue to speak up for the vulnerable in our Society because if they dont, God help us all!

Mr & Mrs Bill
+2 #2 b s 2015-02-18 10:58
A list of people who have died through these so called compassionate
conservatives.. http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2014/10/21/uk-welfare-reform-deaths-updated-list-october-21st-2014/
+5 #1 tintack 2015-02-18 00:23
Apparently some Tory MPs have criticised this letter. As with Paul Maynard, the Tory MP who became "distressed" at the robust questioning of Esther McVey over the death of a claimant, it seems they're happy to incite a mob-with-pitchf orks mentality against the poor, but get very hot under the collar when anyone dares to say or do anything that might actually let the public know what's really going on.

I wonder how Tories who claim to be Christians (such as one D. Cameron) rationalise all this. I'd guess that in the Tory version of the Bible, Jesus was a thrusting entrepreneur running a small carpentry business, the miracle of the loaves and fishes was an example of the Big Society in action, and the money lenders were actually vital wealth creators who had to be paid vast sums of cash in case they threatened to up sticks and join another temple.

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