Justine Welby, the head of the state Anglican Church, has made an extraordinarily insulting criticism of citizens who do not have religious beliefs and the two-thirds of schools that have no religious affiliation..
In a speech in Parliament, to which he has never been elected, Welby claimed that “any personal sense of ultimate values” is undercut by a secular education. Welby accused schools that are not religiously affiliated of being unable to prevent pupils becoming open to political “extremism”.
The former banker claimed that only religious schools could help children develop moral values. He called for the opening of more religious schools, which would require the giving of more tax revenue to his church.
The head of the feudal church outside the residence of the Prime Minister
Steven Evans, chief executive of the National Secular Society commented that “Today’s debate in the Lords was an appalling and cynical abuse of religious privilege from Justin Welby and the established Church. The Archbishop of Canterbury’s self-serving debate was used to promote the Church’s own brand of faith schools at the expense of community schooling”.
He added that “The way in which the Church is increasingly using the state- funded schools it runs to intensively promote its faith also undermines young people’s religious and intellectual freedom”.
Mr Evans went on to say that “With the Church of England in seemingly terminal decline, it’s not hard to see why it puts schools at the very centre of its mission. The whole debate smacked of self-interest and is another reminder of why the time has come to remove the automatic privileged right of Church of England bishops to sit in the House of Lords.”
Welby’s claim to moral superiority for his church is undercut by his preference for feudal advantage over democratic principles, made clear by his taking of a seat in the legislature to which he has not been elected. Welby’s Church is allowed to appoint 26 legislators to sit in the British parliament. Less than 15% of the population is even a nominal member of his church.
Earlier in 2017 Welby apologised for the beating of school boys who had attended summer camps intended to persuade them of the merits of Christianity. Eight boys were lashed a total of 14,000 times. Two others were hit 8,000 times over three years. This was unreported for thirty years. Welby attended the camps and was a friend of John Smyth, the man who beat the boys.
In 2010 Welby’s moral church put £40m into a $5.4bn highly debt-leveraged deal to buy the Stuyvesant Town Peter Copper Village apartments on Manhattan’s East River. The plan was to increase rents to levels unaffordable by the long-term tenants in order to take the apartment upmarket and profitable.
The plan came unstuck when the New York supreme court ruled that rent increases on 3,000 “rent-stabilisied” apartments were illegal. Tenants were to get back $200m excess rents that had been increased by as much as 30 per cent. The tenants had complained that their electricity supply became unreliable, communal washing machines did not work properly and their rubbish was not picked up.
The bursting of the property bubble made things worse for the speculators. The market price of the complex has fallen to $1.8bn. When they found that the expected profits were not to be had the investors, including the Church of England, handed back the keys to their bankers and walked away, leaving the tenants to fend for themselves.