An Asian Christian woman living in London blogging about the everyday issues of religion

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Bishops Accused of Not Being So Christian

John Bird, founder and editor of The Big Issue, writes in today's Times newspaper that the Bishops who voted against the Government's welfare reforms in the House of Lords yesterday 'are not so Christian after all'. The Bishops voted against the figure of £26,000 being the cap on benefits being paid out to famlies.
Mr Bird says that being Christian does not involve giving to people what you do not have i.e in a time of austerity there are no big bucks to pay out to families on welfare.

In the book, The Spirit Level, which spawned a global debate on inequality, it is stated that inequality corrodes trust and divides people. Inequality is a powerful social divider and imbeds a 'them and us' mentality in people. Public opinion over the welfare reform is very divided and is a powerful example of how those who have jobs are pointing accusatory fingers at those who don't.

However, the former dangerously forgets that 'them' is comprised of groups of people who have physical disabilities, physical illnesses, mental disabilities and, that one of 'us', could be 'them' at the drop of a hat. Disabilities and illnesses can, unfortunately, be acquired through time and passage of age. It is not just a birth defect.

If and when that happens I want to know that the Church stood up for 'us' and tried to inject some compassion into the arguments. It saddens me that the welfare system has become a battle ground because helping the poor need not be about creating a class of permanent poor.


  1. of 'us', could be 'them' at the drop of a hat."

    Yes, yes, and thrice yes....

  2. I was one of them for a few years whilst unemployed, I was bringing up two kids, could not afford heating and therefore had no running hot water,and was living in substandard housing. Food was scarce,and I cycled miles to get it. I was a "professional" but couldn't get a job as I was "too old" according to the Jobcentre/employers (over55).
    I am "lucky" to be married ,in a centrally heated home with plenty of lifes necessities this year. I shall never forget those years, nor do I want to, I learned so much and my heart goes out to those who are struggling now.

  3. Stuart, thanks for your support.

    Tootallburd - I am really grateful to you for sharing your experience. It is a situation that anyone can find themselves in through no fault of their own.