Julian Mann offers a view on money and the church
Socially Marxist political correctness now dominating the governance of the UK has anti-business tendencies, even if it does not set out to nationalize the means of production, distribution and exchange. Here are some reasons why Church of England bishops should be speaking up more boldly and prophetically for business in the House of Lords:
First, bishops should be supporting an economic order that gives the maximum liberty to Christians to proclaim and live out the saving Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Marxist countries disallowing private enterprise have provided testimony to the impact on Christianity when the State has a monopoly of employment. It is significant that it is government employees who are suffering most from the current politically correct harassment of Christians in the West.
Secondly, bishops should support the job creation that thriving businesses make possible. The unemployment that a successful commercial sector counter-acts should be a matter of major ethical concern for Christian leaders. The impact of unemployment is morally devastating. Men and women are made in the image of God to exercise dominion over creation (see Genesis 1.26). Businesses provide many of the jobs that allow the exercise of that dominion under God, for which humanity is created.
Thirdly, as teachers of the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith, bishops should uphold the biblical work ethic. The New Testament work ethic is well summarized in St Paul’s Second Letter to the Thessalonians: ‘For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: If anyone will not work, let him not eat’ (2 Thessalonians 3.10 – RSV).
While all Christians should be concerned to avoid the idolatry of wealth and should oppose exorbitant and undeserved bankers’ bonuses, private enterprise undeniably fosters a work ethic.
Fourthly, bishops should be supporting the work of Anglican Cathedrals. Businesses are generous to Cathedrals in supporting their pro-bono projects and contributing to the expense of maintaining their buildings. That was one of the difficulties Occupy protesters camping outside Cathedrals caused Deans and Chapters. How can the willing recipients of a business’s generosity avoid the charge of hypocrisy if they support anti-capitalism?
Fifthly, bishops should affirm churches that pay their way in parish share. Net-giving parish churches to Church of England dioceses are often well-supported by people working hard in the commercial sector. In such local parish churches, high earners can be exhorted ‘to do good, to be rich in good deeds, liberal and generous, thus laying up for themselves a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life which is life indeed’ (1 Timothy 6.18–19).
Finally, it would be a refreshing, though unlikely, eventuality to hear a Church of England bishop come out in favour of a further lowering of the tax rate for high earners on the ground that such a move would encourage job-creating inward investment into the UK. ND