Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Bashing the bishops

The higher echelons of our established church seem to be infested with noisy socialists (at best, tragically misguided; at worst, cynical, hypocritical, and deeply immoral).

So it was quite a relief to read that one former Archbishop recognises the lunacy, and immorality, of opposing the government's proposed benefits cap:
five bishops, led by the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, the Rt Rev John Packer, tabled an amendment to the Welfare Reform Bill, arguing that the cap discriminated against families with several children

But writing in the Daily Mail, Lord Carey - who was Archbishop of Canterbury between 1991 and 2002 - said the bishops "cannot lay claim to the moral high-ground".

"Considering that the system they are defending can mean some families are be able to claim a total £50,000 a year in welfare benefits, the bishops must have known that popular opinion was against them, including that of many hard-working, hard-pressed churchgoers," he wrote.

"The sheer scale of our public debt - which hit £1tn yesterday - is the greatest moral scandal facing Britain today. If we can't get the deficit under control and begin paying back this debt, we will be mortgaging the future of our children and grandchildren."

Lord Carey praised the efforts of Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith - whom he called a "committed Christian" - to overhaul a benefits system which, at its worst, "rewards fecklessness and irresponsibility".

He argued the cost of benefits was "increasingly stoking social division" among the "squeezed middle, who feel resentment at the 'handouts' given to the long-term unemployed".

And he said the welfare system, originally designed to tackle "want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness", had become an "industry of gargantuan proportions which is fuelling those very vices and impoverishing us all".


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