It’s not un-Christian to control migration
Justin Welby's objection to the Illegal Migration Bill is an incomplete picture
Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, spoke in the House of Lords this afternoon during the second reading of the Government’s Illegal Migration Bill, a policy he referred to as “morally unacceptable”. He said that Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman’s plan “risks great damage to the UK’s interests and reputation at home and abroad”, citing Matthew 25, in which Jesus encourages us to welcome the stranger. Last year, the Archbishop said in an Easter Sunday sermon that the policy was “against the judgement of God”.
I am not a theologian, but as an MP who is also a Christian and a supporter of the plans I am uncomfortable with the Archbishop’s language. The implied conclusion is that a completely open border policy would be the most moral policy for the Government, but I disagree. The truth is that Liberals, both inside and outside the Church, often misapply the definition of Christian compassion.
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Compassion means being sympathetic to the suffering of another person and having a desire to relieve it. This does not involve giving everyone what they want all the time, and it doesn’t mean you can — or even should — attempt to relieve the suffering of every individual, with no regard to the impact on others in your care.
For example, a good parent will punish a child who hits their sibling. The child suffers as a result of the punishment, and the parent feels their pain. But the parent doesn’t cancel the punishment — even though it is within their power — because the long-term best interests of the child are best served by learning the consequences of violence.
My interpretation of the kind of compassion that compels us to step in immediately to relieve suffering is that it is reserved for the genuinely helpless: for those without agency. Think of baby Moses, who would have been killed if his mother and sister hadn’t stepped in to save him. But compassion does not mean we should always act directly to relieve the immediate suffering of adults who have agency, or when acting to relieve suffering would cause greater suffering in the long term.
There are sadly many people in the world who are suffering intolerably. If we are able to help directly those without agency who genuinely can’t help themselves — such as people at risk of torture or persecution — then we should. But the responsibility for helping everyone who is suffering in foreign countries cannot lie with the UK Government.
Migrants who have the money and mobility to travel across Europe and cross the Channel in small boats are not without agency. It’s certainly true that many people around the world would prefer to live in Britain, and that they live in much less comfortable economic and political circumstances than we do in the UK. It doesn’t mean, though, that we have a moral duty to allow uncontrolled migration into this country.
What’s more, prominent liberals paint an increasingly black-and-white picture of goodies and baddies, as if everyone who boards a small boat is a blameless victim, when we know that many of them go on to commit crimes and join criminal gangs in the UK. These critics of Government policy also ignore the indirect suffering — loss of security, economic competition, pressure on services — that British people face as a result of illegal immigration.
Of course, compassion is an important virtue. But so is wisdom, and it is wisdom that is required to solve the illegal migration crisis. Wisdom says that the only way to stop the dangerous flow of small boats across the channel is to deter the international criminal smuggling gangs which are responsible.
Deterrence is achieved by clear boundaries that are consistently enforced. Only a clear and unambiguous message, such as “if you come here illegally you will not be allowed to stay”, will act as an effective deterrent. Anything else is an invitation for continued exploitation. The best way to show compassion to those being trafficked around the world is to effectively deter the people-smuggling gangs, whose exploitation and criminality is surely the greatest evil within the discussion around illegal migration.
That would be a truly moral victory.
Justin Welby says we should welcome the stranger. But how many? He doesn’t give any answer. Is his generosity limitless? If it is not and surely it must be, then we are simply disagreeing about a number not a principle. Is he aware of the housing crisis and the cost of renting? Is he aware of the lists for treatments on the NHS? Does he drive on our roads where it takes ages to get anywhere because of traffic volume? Answer the question Welby? How many?
Welby hates the West. He fools himself into thinking it is really love – but it is the false love of the abusive spouse who abuses because they justify it as being for the other’s good.
He is the priest sent to minister over the cannibals and instead becomes a cannibal himself.
But then maybe Welby is not the silly hippy, maybe he is reading Ezekiel 25 KJV:
”4 Behold, therefore I will deliver thee to the men of the east for a possession, and they shall set their palaces in thee, and make their dwellings in thee: they shall eat thy fruit, and they shall drink thy milk.
5 And I will make Rabbah a stable for camels, and the Ammonites a couching place for flocks: and ye shall know that I am the Lord.
7 Behold, therefore I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and will deliver thee for a spoil to the heathen; and I will cut thee off from the people, and I will cause thee to perish out of the countries: I will destroy thee; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord.”
”17 And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them.”
Possibly we misunderstand all the Politicos, and Welby……
Welby is trying to be fashionable. The church today is so pitifully weak that they are all asking the same question, “How can we appeal to young people?” So you have old men pretending to have young ideas – their idea of ‘young’ of course.
Jesus was just trying to fashionable, too. Awful little hippy- any decent Christian should ignore His silly snowflake pontifications.
Nice try. The Jesus of the Bible was anything but a popularity seeker.
Well said. Welby’s position is a tissue of sentimental misapprehensions. In the first place, “welcome the stranger” to what, exactly? To you bank balance, your bedroom, your wife? And if “to your home”, then should this decision not be taken collectively, by all who share that home? And does “welcoming the stranger” really involve going that far? Is every recipient of one’s largesse to be regarded as a member of the family?
Mrs Thatcher flipped disingenuous citations of The Good Samaritan by saying that he couldn’t have been good without money. We can point out that he didn’t give his neighbour the keys to his house. He just helped him – “end of”, as people say now.
I am tempted to conclude here, but a further thought occurs to me – that Welby’s obviously ignorant cant serves all too easily as the sickly front to a sinister agenda – not one of “helping others” but of destroying ourselves. What an odious little worm the fellow is!
You make a very useful point, Simon, but Christianity is a little more complicated than you say it is. Consider St. Francis and Mother Teresa and other religious virtuosi. What they’ve advocated is a legitimate but extreme form of Christian (self-sacrificial) love. The Church has always honored it as a way of imitating Christ, to be sure, and made room for it in many monastic orders. But it has remained an ideal for ascetic individuals or groups of them, not a universal standard for society as a whole.
The early Christians learned to make this distinction as the result of “cognitive dissonance,” when they realized that the Kingdom of God (Second Coming) would be delayed in the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, the community would have to endure within the economic and political realities of earthly kingdoms. Christians took care of each other and fostered compassion, to be sure, but seldom resorted en masse to martyrdom after the period of Roman persecutions.
This practical approach is not good enough, evidently, for Archbishop Welby. Unlike the early Christians (and their descendants until the day before yesterday), he wants to create a terrestrial utopia. The fact that no state can exist at all without borders, by definition, is irrelevant from a utopian (ideological) perspective. It seems to me that the current problem is not merely secularity, which is rampant in liberal churches, but woke secularity.
Interesting, but I believe this is a notably Catholic perspective. For Protestants the imitation of Christ has always been essentially impossible. We are incorrigibly sinful and merely “imputed righteous” by the substitute sacrifice of the Redeemer. Thereafter, legality and even morality are secondary considerations and must – therefore – be described according to worldly and practical coordinates. Hence the usefulness of the Samaritan as a description of limited and hence practicable “goodness”. On a broader and less particularly Christian note, any “goodness” predicated upon extreme asceticism and hence upon an unavoidable (if secret) sense of superiority is not goodness but patronage – and Pride, the ultimate sin for Christians. As such, its fruit is “cold charity”. Now as to Teresa or Francis, I offer no particular comment beyond a suspicion of their “sanctity”, for it seems to me shot through with precisely that self-centred pursuit of “spiritual” superiority which – fully expressed – carries hints of narcissism. You may recall Byron’s brilliant suggestion of this point when he describes religious effort as an anxious “squeeze into paradise”. And it is – as you say – precisely this uncontrolled, primitive-religious psychology which lurks in the mental plague of our day. As a protestant Archbishop in a state church long accustomed to distancing itself from asceticism, Welby should be in the forefront of resisting it. His failure to do so is less – I suspect – an expression of latent Catholicity than a mere giving way to forces which he can’t understand and which he probably fears.
Ask the Rt. Rev. Archbishop if he’s willing to convert Canterbury Cathedral and his digs into immigrant housing.
As in the USA, I’m sure that the lefty Smart Set in the UK want illegal immigrants anywhere other than their neighborhoods.
It is the usual virtue signalling puke that we hear from the entitled group of our society. Just google ‘interview a reporter gave to pro migration marchers…’ and you will laugh – none of the protestors would take in a refugee! Oh, no room. Oh I am only renting. Oh oh oh.
No great fan of Welby, but…
He was referring to dumping the Boat crossers in Rwanda, not an open border approach. Furthermore the Author provides no stats on criminality these arrivals go on to commit. In fact one suspects they are as, if not more so, likely to be the victims of crime, and today we’ve seen the Court sentencing for the murder of young asylum seeker. Slurring everyone deserves contempt and certainly not a Christian value. She knows, like Braverman, what’s she’s doing by failing to distinguish.
Now my issues with the Policy aren’t based so much on a moral position, more it simply won’t work. Rwanda at best will take a dribble and the traffickers will ‘out-market’ our Govt with ease. Chances are we’ll end up closing the Rwanda model down after some tragedy and after alot of wasted money has disappeared there and diminished us in the process.
Proper processing capacity for rapid assessment. Proper humane holding accommodation. Return deals with more than Albania (and remember they are refusing to release any details on the work they’ve been doing on these, probably because it’s v little). ID cards to make us less attractive. Proper re-integration into European counter trafficking intelligence and policing. Assistance to partners struggling with this problem in the Med if we want help with the Channel. And a fundamental change in language. Utter embarrassment right now to our great country. Even the King thinks so. And when the ex Chief of General Staff also comes out today to publicly condemn elements of this policy it’s informative the Author goes for the soggy Anglican not him.
How do you know that a policy “won’t work” before it has been tried ?
I find it astonishing to hear the “do nothing” crowd with their endless bleating that any proposed measure is “immoral and won’t work”. If it’s immoral, it doesn’t matter if it works or not. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t matter if it’s immoral. But no, they have to try and insist it’s both … so ignorant are they of the contradiction in their own “thinking”.
But they aren’t thinking, are they ? They’re emoting. Indulging in massaging feelings, rather than actually doing something constructive about problems.
I think your last para could as easily be about the folks who think demonising red meat statements about asylum seekers going to solve anything.
Rwanda won’t work. Wait and see. It’s a distraction from tackling the problem effectively and competently. It’s about trying to create a dividing line, not solving the problem.
Back to the Archbishop – I guess if we are going to have Bishops in the Lords it’s hardly a surprise they take a moral stance on issues. That’s their day job. I’d change the 2nd chamber completely but different debate
What I find strange about the response by the MP for Penistone, even ignoring her first example of the need for smacking a child who has smacked his/her sibling, is when she gives the example of Moses…‘ Think of baby Moses, who would have been killed if his mother and sister hadn’t stepped in to save him.’ My recollection of this was that he was saved from the water and welcomed and looked after by his rescuers, as one of their own.
Their seems to be an irony to then use this example to say that none of the others in need, who predominantly arrive in a similar manner by water, do not need compassion, help and care.
So funny that most of the Anglican growth is in African countries where LBGT is illegal!!!
She didn’t say smack she said punish. Important distinction.
Deterrence is achieved by clear boundaries that are consistently enforced.
Or: Good fences make good neighbours
This is a total misuse of religious belief. The West have opened our arms up to people from all corners of the world. We have been kind and accepting of the beliefs and customs with few acceptions from contemptible people. In return we have had frequent insults and told that everything is too white.
Ever so slowly the kindness is being eroded. Fools like Welby show that the elites hate us plebs.
Justin Welby understands nothing: not geopolitics, not economics, not even the gospel. He is a pious, misguided goody-two-shoes who needs to retire and preach his pabulum on a beach somewhere in the South China Sea. His influence on what is left of the message of Christ in the Church of England is merely accelerating its plunge into irrelevance.
Who is this t**t “Jesus” and His lefty bollocks about ‘turning the other cheek’ and ‘blessed be the poor’ and all that crap? Goody- f****g -two-shoes.
We all know that being a good Christian means sneering at everything Christ actually said, and substituting your own bilious conservative ideology instead.
Bravo Miriam Cates! As an Anglican and a (sometime) Conservative voter, I agree wholeheartedly.
Well, my original comment didn’t come out of moderation, so i”ll try again…
Miriam Cates deserves great credit for her article, it really is an excellent defence of her government’s position. If she can survive the next election, she’ll be one to watch.
Welby is exposed as both an intellectual and moral lightweight. No wonder the CofE is in such dire straights.
Yes, I’ve watched her on Jo Coburn’s BBC lunchtime politics show and been very impressed by her position. One to watch, deffo!
But boat traffic is just small part of mass immigration.
Both causing problems she described.
Is she on record opposing government immigration policy?
I regard Welby’s expression of his view as immoral in as far as he implicitly undermines Christianity by seeking to claim that Jesus and consequently any Christian is bound to hold the same view as Welby. He is merely a moral bully in seeking to ally his particular view with that of the God he purports to serve. The relatively rich migrant who wishes to push himself ahead of the queue to settle in England is scarcely in the same position as the man helped by the Good Samaritan and it is dishonest to suggest otherwise.
What is the point of an Archbishop if they decide to offer no moral guidance/interpretation on issues to their flock?
We can disagree about his interpretation, but to suggest he should offer none at all seems a bit silly.
There should be a distinction between offering moral guidance on matters where Christian doctrine offers a clear universal message and stepping into technical political issues where a large section of his flock suffer from the direct impact of unregulated immigration through wage suppression and the impact on public services when there is in fact no clear Christian doctrinal response.
Welby is merely expressing the narrow political prejudices of the comfortably off elite section of society that he is a member of that are not personally adversely impacted by unregulated immigration. There is nothing unchristian or immoral in politicians seeking to preserve the living conditions and standards of the less well off in society and it is divisive rather than Christian to suggest otherwise. Whether the proposed Ruanda scheme will in fact achieve its aims is a technical rather than moral question.
Hear hear! I gather the CofE has assets of £8bn and land totalling 200,000 acres. If he had sincere Christian concerns I’m sure such wealth could be put to use to aid these poor ‘asylum seekers’.
I do enjoy the spectacle of ‘conservatives’ decrying the right of religious leaders to comment in moral issues of the day.
Hilarious. Just what SHOULD they be doing? Just organising cake sales for church roof repairs?
Well said that man!
That is because you don’t get conservatives. The head of any organisation should foster that organisation not express his own private prejudices. Would the monarchy exist today if the Queen had commented with her views on the moral issues of the day. Of course not. She was very circumspect about her private views and prejudices and that was what made having a monarch as head of state superior to having a divisive political retread as our President.
The more the Archbishop of a state religion expresses his own partial and prejudicial views on the moral issues of the day beyond the clear and unifying doctrines of that religion the more he will put off his religion those of a different view and that is the case whether his prejudices are leftist or rightist. I would certainly not be in favour of an Archbishop who urged politicians to refuse entry to non-Christians for example and could think of less extreme examples I would not favour.
He said that Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman’s plan “risks great damage to the UK’s interests and reputation at home and abroad”…
I don’t think so. My impression is that many Austrians and Germans at least wish their own governments would attempt to do something like this.
There’s going to be a massive bust-up in Germany soon over this issue and they’ll finally have to admit they alone cannot save the world.
However, there is still an unwillingness to accept that regulating migration will require some tough, controversial measures. The attitude of the federal government is still “wasch mir den Pelz, aber mach mich nicht nass” (wash my fur but don’t get me wet – meaning you want to achieve something but don’t want the inevitable consequences of getting there).
Absolutely. The current “asylum and refugee system” is broken beyond repair and needs redesigning. Someone has to make the first move.
I consider the thing that most damages your reputation is to do nothing. We are dealing with organised crime people smuggling and yet demanding that their human rights be respected, whilst not respecting the rights of our own citizens. It’s ludicrous and unsustainable.
At the end of the day, if foreign countries are badly run and corrupt basket cases, that is not our responsibility. People and governments have to take some responsibility for their own actions, however much the sqeamish might not like the TV pictures. But emotion is no basis for solving practical problems.
What drives me crazy is the argument that we are somehow being humane…while failing to acknowledge the lack of humanity shown by countries of origin in refusing to take their own citizens back.
He means amongst people like him who already despise this country so what is the point in pandering to them
What is the Archbishop’s reply to the basic facts surrounding illegal immigration? Back in 2015 a little over one million people poured over the European borders and many made their way to Germany, largely in response to Mutti’s invitation. It turned Europe in general and Germany in particular, upside down, and became a one time event. What can be said against the fact that there are 32 million births exceeding deaths just in Sub-Saharan Africa alone, in EACH and EVERY year. A huge percentage of these people would be on a boat or rubber dinghy in heartbeat if they had an opportunity to do so, and so would I if I were in their position. So what would the good Archbishop do about those facts from his virtue signaling vantage point?
What, of course, he meant was that the UK’s reputation would be damaged among the right-thinking people in elite positions like him. He wasn’t thinking about what the “deplorables” might think.
This is what Archbishop Welby said in his Easter 2022 sermon: “…there are such serious ethical questions about sending asylum seekers overseas. The details are for politics and politicians. The principle must stand the judgement of God and it cannot. It cannot carry the weight of resurrection justice, of life conquering death. It cannot carry the weight of the resurrection that was first to the least valued, for it privileges the rich and strong. And it cannot carry the weight of our national responsibility as a country formed by Christian values, because sub-contracting out our responsibilities, even to a country that seeks to do well like Rwanda, is the opposite of the nature of God who himself took responsibility for our failures”. To me, this language seems windy, unable to carry the specious assertions therein. The people of the UK cannot have an open ended responsibility to accept all asylum seekers, and not to send any overseas. The UK government must have due regard for the potential number of such asylum seekers, for whether they are genuinely fleeing persecution or being opportunistic, for whether or not the UK has a historic/political link or moral debt to these people, and for the impact of their admission on the people of the UK. Failure to do so is a shirking of responsibility.
From ‘The Wire’, Way down in the hole, Tom Waits:
”When you walk through the garden
You gotta watch your back
Well I beg your pardon
Walk the straight and narrow track
If you walk with jesus
He’s gonna save your soul
You gotta keep the devil
Way down in the hole
He’s got the fire and the fury
At his command
Well you don’t have to worry
If you hold on to jesus hand
We’ll all be safe from satan
When the thunder rolls
Just gotta help me keep the devil
Way down in the hole
All the angels sing about jesus’ mighty sword
And they’ll shield you with their wings
And keep you close to the lord
Don’t pay heed to temptation
For his hands are so cold
You gotta help me keep the devil
Way down in the hole
Agreed – bloviating windbaggery indeed. But he probably gets little push back from his shrinking target audience. Also, although Catholic doctrine does allow the Pope sometimes to express the judgement of God (when speaking ex cathedra), I thought Anglicans didn’t really go in for that.
Don’t kid yourself. I suspect that if we were to do a poll of my congregation then you would see something far more akin to the Unherd view to the Welby view as the majority.
We in the CofE have some problems with naive liberalism, I don’t question that, but we aren’t that far down the road. In fact it’s a rather more interesting question about why Welby is not facing pushback and who exactly is his target audience with this stuff.
Not a fan of the actual teachings of Christ, then? Pretty irrelevant, in your view?`. It’s all about “target audiences” and “polls of congregations”?
Minor correction. They are not all real asylum seekers. This needs repeating. You cannot afford to concede the language on issues like this. The woke always cheat with their terminology and language.
Agree not all will be. A good number one suspects economic migrants. But we need to distinguish, not demonise, and then process humanely and effectively with speed.
I generally agree.
But please recognise that processing with speed means the error rate will almost certainly be higher. There will always be errors in the judgements here (on both sides). The fact that many of these migrants destroy their papers or lie or withhold information absolutely doesn’t help this.
Regardless of the speed, I think we need to grow up and recognise that the processing cannot be perfect here, define an acceptable accuracy rate for decisions, scrap most of the appeals processes and get on with it. Perfection simply isn’t achievable here and is used as an excuse for doing nothing.
Going back to my idea of some sort of annual quota and a points system. I’d be tempted to award extra points for people who turn up with their papers, don’t lie/cheat of withhold information and make the job easy. Those are probably the people we want.
Going further, I would also suggest that anyone arriving illegally (small boat entry is illegal – you try it) who we decide to accept, we start a program to immediately integrate them into British society. They receive immediate English teaching and if fit and able get to work on useful community or construction projects (there are always potholes to be filled, and plenty of these are young, fit men). They don’t get to disappear into the black economy or ghetto communities.
And we absolutely need to find out more about who these people are. Starting with establishing their age.
Agree with most of this PB. I agree v much with the need for some form of ‘naturalisation’ process.
My worry is we aren’t focusing on all this sufficiently whilst we think magic bullet is Rwanda.
Does anyone here seriously think that the Rwanda plan is a magic bullet ? I don’t think so. I’d view it as one of a range of possible things we might do. We may well have to try a few things to find out which work best (and that should primarily be best for us – UK citizens and taxpayers should have the final say). Some may work, some may not. There are no prizes in life for not trying (and here I have some respect for the migrants – at least they’re trying to do something).
I have not proposed a blanket naturalisation process here. I’m not into this moral hazard stuff.
I think it’s entirely reasonable to at least consider the matter from a “what’s in it for us” perspective (after all, that’s what the migrants and traffickers are doing). If there’s an opportunity to pick up some people who will fit in and contribute and who we can accomodate (there has to be some limit), we should consider it. I’m happy to consider people on their merits. And give people some opportunity to prove they have something to offer. But if they don’t, well they don’t belong here. Same as the far more painful and expensive legal immigration route.
I think we may find Braverman et al believe Rwanda a magic bullet to the stopping the boats promise and tied to how they re-elected. Like so many Tory promises last 13yrs it’ll unravel.
I think separately we largely agree that some form of naturalisation and stages towards full citizenship that have to be met might have value. of course be quite a debate about what the details might entail, but that’d probably be a healthy debate.
I wonder why government doesn’t consider using facilities which detered boat people in Australia?
These islands need income with number of crossing to Australia well down.
Maybe government tried to negotiate that but was turned down?
None of them are asylum seeker, otherwise they would surely have sought asylum in the first European country in which they landed
Why not send them all to Northern Ireland? Job done and a myriad of problems sorted?!
Actually I’ve a better plan. If we can expose them to likes of yourself and a few other dreadfuls here on UnHerd a bit more I reckon they’d change their mind about wanting to come to our great Country pretty quickly. What do you reckon?
If only it were true.
But just as you know they are not asylum seeker you know that that they are not heading to the UK because they love our parliamentary democracy, history and royal family. They are her re for the free stuff and until the faucet is turned off they will keep coming.
Ps I am sure you are not dreadful
Many head for where they have a language skill useful. Many head for where ID cards don’t exist so they can work more easily in the black market. Thus UK going to be more attractive.
Dublin Agreement meant they had to apply in first country in Europe they touched. We withdrew from that so removed our right to send them back to that first point of entry. Good bit of thinking that wasn’t it.
Has it ever occurred to our bird brained Archbishop of Canterbury that standing up for the rights of our own citizens and our own laws (illegal immigration is by definition illegal after all) might actually enhance our reputation in the world ?
If you don’t stand up for yourself and respect yourself, no one else is going to.
I’ve said it before – the C of E needs to be disestablished. In the words of the football terraces, the idiot Welby isn’t fit to wear the [England] shirt.
Err was old JC all about standing up for the rights of one group? Not a practising Christian but I think not.
Think it’s fine to disagree with Welby but careful we don’t forget what his role is supposed to represent
That is why Welby shouldn’t be in the House of Lords. Or pronouncing on matters beyong his remit as though he has authority (not a word most of us would ever associate with him).
If you are in the House of Lords and being paid £300 a day in public funds for turning up, it’s reasonable to expect that you should be standing up for the citizens of the UK and not campaigning for some utopia that’s never going to happen.
If he wants to be a social justice warrior, he should resign as head of the C of E.
The truth is the man is confused about what his role actually is and what his responsibilities are.
Precisely, what his role is SUPPOSED to represent. Unfortunately it very obviously does not.
Was JC not, in some part, a social justice warrior? Did he never comment on how people were treated and how we should relate to them?
Was Jesus a social justice warrior or was he a posing punk putting out an oppositional and contrarian viewpoint every time he was presented with a social certainty. As for Jesus being kind to everyone,he had very excoriating things to say about and to The Pharisees,who were not,as we used to be taught in school,THE BAD GUYS. They were the Greta Thunbergs of their day trying to save the planet by extremely good behaviour. But maybe you’ve never actually read the Bible. And you,the Vicar too!
Jesus was pretty specific about who qualified for his care and compassion and he several times made it clear that certain people did not come within his remit but he allowed them if they showed initiative and came up with a witty and quick retort in answer.
And his parable about the Good Samaritan – did he walk past the person lying on the road because he’d judged them not within his remit?
TBH I’m not a Christian scholar by any means but the bit I do know seems heck of a long way from how some refer to asylum seekers.
They are not asylum seekers.
Stop using dishonest description of their status.
They are illegal migrants.
They are criminals.
If there’s one thing none of the ranters on this site care about, it’s anything to do with what Christ actually taught.
The comments here are invariably a wierd mix of fake claims of “Christianity” with a total contempt for anything Christ actually said- and a disgust with any religious leader who might have the temerity to remind their pretend “flock” of it.
Why not just have the honestly to say it- Jesus was just bloody pinko scum.
You seem to be very keen on mass immigration.
Can you tell us why uk and Europe in general should accept any Muslim immigration at all?
There are many rich Muslim countries who could either accept them or pay for resettlement among 2 billion Muslims elsewhere.
It should be straightforward and unobjectionable, were Welby just a preacher. When he urges his flock to open their arms to the stranger he is simply preaching the Gospel. It is for his congregation to take note and decide to what extent, if at all, they follow his entreaty. The real problem is that he sits as of right in the House of Lords, which holds a degree of legislative power. It is always to the detriment of both civil society and the faith itself (any faith) when its representatives hold political power. Look at Spain, where the churches are now virtually empty because people remember only too well when archbishops condoned widespread extra-judicial murder. I was in pre-revolutionary Iran and am sure that the days of the Ayatollahs are numbered. The Persians are an ancient and civilised people and won’t put up with this for much longer, and the mosques will be much more sparsely attended then than they were under the Shah. It is way past time for the Anglican church to render unto Caesar and disconnect itself from matters of state.
Agree. But fascinatingly it’s the Tories who defend the House of Lords, and the presence of 22 Bishops within, the most and just delighted in the historical tradition behind the Archbishop’s crowning of our King. Quite a challenge and somewhat uncomfortable this therefore for those of ‘conservative’ values.
I’m really not sure that is the case. There is actually now a centre-left majority in the House of Lords and its arguable that its greatest supporters are in Labour and the Lib Dems (the Lib Dems now being the party most over-represented in the Lords – and they claim to be “democrats” – they really should change their name). There are plenty of Conservatives who’d want to see the House of Lords scrapped.
Starmer committed to reform, Tories haven’t. I’m sure some would welcome some reform but not currently a Tory Policy
Starmer’s “commitments” mean absolutely nothing. The man’s all over the place. One day, one policy. A month later the opposite.
So the Conservatives ARE commited to reform?
No, obviously. So what’s your point?
Including this one
You present very one sided view of the Spanish history.
Many thousands of priests and nuns were killed and raped by forces of the left.
Franco victory stopped Spain turning into Stalinist dictatorship.
We know from history that would mean even more deaths and misery.
Like most other commenters here, I am no fan of Welby, neither of his political views nor his theological ones. To my mind, though, no one has raised some of the most obvious “Christian” responses to his comments…
(a) Welby seems to think compassion for others is the essence of Christianity. This is ludicrous. Christianity is not a moral code at all, but even if it were, ‘compassion’ would hardly provide a useful guide to resolving ethical dilemmas. ‘Compassion’ should be a key part of a Christian’s attitude towards others, but was Jesus ‘compassionate’ to the moneylenders in the Temple? The Pharisees? There are other competing values – like justice. (Should you be compassionate to the criminal or his victim?)
(b) And that leads to the second point: can Welby not see how ‘compassion’ to the immigrant means ‘injustice’ to the native? That is the crux of the issue and the thing people on the ‘compassion’ side simply ignore. What is the effect on natives of letting these people into England? Does it depress wages? Does it erode community fabric? Does it increase crime? Etc. If ‘compassion’ is to be your lodestar, Welby, then where’s your compassion for people who are adversely affected by immigration? His answer (of course) will be to dismiss the relationship between immigration and those ill effects – clear data on that is key to the resolution of this debate.
(c) The deepest irony here is that the exact same theological arguments were used by Welby’s forebears to justify England in going to these dysfunctional foreign lands and civilizing them – it was compassion to the Indian widow which prompted English soldiers to compel Indians to abandon sati and to integrate dalits into society and so forth. It was compassion which prompted English soldiers to use the point of a gun to force Africans to eradicate slavery in Africa. Were there other competing motives, too? Of course – just as there are here.
So here’s the real kicker, Welby… which would lead to a more immediate improvement in the lives of the average Rwandan or Sudanese: letting a few of the youngest and healthiest into England to do whatever they like, or sending young and healthy Englishmen to Africa to force them to ‘civilize’, to create law and order and property rights and civic discourse and the like? In the words of Jesus, “I came not to bring peace, but the sword.”
One important public use of religion and metaphysics – possibly the only public use – is to enable politicians who learn the code to throw their weight around. “I want this outcome in the public sphere, and the reason you are mistaken if you don’t support me is that it has the sanction of God/Allah/the Buddha/the Absolute/the dialectic working through history….”
When I was young, it was often said that the Church of England was the Tory Party at prayer. Now it is the extreme left of the Labour Party, tempered by that peculiarly English weakness that is a reluctance to ever say “no”, and which masquerades as high-minded liberalism. It’s worth having a look at the Church Times. Nearly every article manages to shoe-horn a reference to the disaster that was Brexit, or the catastrophe which is national self-interest. God, in case you proles didn’t know, is a Europhile trans-deity who hates borders but loves reparations.
Among the bien pensant virtue-signallers, Welby has actually accommodated “refugees” at Lambeth Palace. Which, given that it is a huge site which he doesn’t actually own, isn’t that much of a sacrifice. He’d sacrifice the jobs, safety, and countryside of his fellow Brits, though, because he got the memo from God.
Dear Unherd moderators: the constituency that this MP represents is not a sexual reference! I’d therefore be obliged if you’d take my comment out of moderation forthwith. Thankyou.
I just looked up her constituency – am trying not to snigger like a teenager.
Many years ago, my husband found that the filter on his work machine wouldn’t let anyone type the name of the town of Scunthorpe. I’ll wait and see whether Unherd passes this…
Is it Christian or not? Nobody can tell. Christisns hold differing views on all kinds of things based on how they read and interpret bible. But one thing is certain – Jesus had no opinion on the matter.
To paraphrase the great scholar of christianity and history Bart Ehrman – Jesus knew nothing of our world, capitalism, democracy, food stamps, abortion, gay marriage or immigration. His concerns were not ours, his beliefs were not ours.
Perhaps, but if old JC came back down to Earth today he’d not be hanging out in the Tory echo chamber Golf club tut-tutting about the terrible values of asylum seekers. Much more likely he’d actually be in the refugee camps and condemning the rest of us for turning away from helping.
(Note don’t deflect by saying it’s about hitting the traffickers – Braverman’s language, and the Author here comments on criminality of the asylum seekers, about demonising them not the traffickers)
And I doubt he’d be sitting in a CofE church listening to cant of the kind offered by Welby. And what he’d make of the general synod I cannot imagine.
Agree with that, but don’t think that would change his view of where our hearts really should be on this issue.
I’m intrigued by your relentless ability (not to mention desire) to try to debate with the wall of frothing, group-think ranters that make up 98% of the commenters on this hilariously inappropriatedly monickered “Unherd” comments site.
I hope someone is paying you for your heroic efforts to confront the self-congratulatory echo-chamber here with a different though or two- roughly once a week you might get a cogent and intelligent response. Generally, it’s like poking a stick into the fence of a compound of rabid rottweilers, but without the intellectual nuance.
This week’s standard template- why Christian clerics should shut the f**k up about Christian teaching, because no decent ‘Christian’ should care what Christ actually said about anything. Well done- someone’s got to do it, I suppose.
Some people tell Welby to shut up and give clear reasons why. Basically that he presents one sided view of the issue.
For a start he tells lies.
These people are not asylum seekers but illegal immigrants. Therefore criminals.
Another point is that archbishop is quite selective about bible teaching.
For example sodomy is cardinal sin but he allows it in his church.
I am not religious, so not a problem for me but clearly shows Welby hypocrisy.
No.. he would be in the Upper House, Lord Jesus educ. Eden College, an ex Household Calvary Officer…
You keep telling lies.
They are illegal migrants.
Therefore they are criminals.
“The great scholar of Christianity and History Bart Ehrman” is a hack through and through. To say Jesus “knew nothing of our world” is vaguely but trivially true… as no one mistakes Jesus for a structural engineer, urban planner, neurologist, tax accountant, etc. What Jesus did speak on, and why he will always be relevant, is something he knew intimately and which has not changed – the human condition.
Whenever I hear someone like Welby pontificating on this matter I always think, a) he’s relatively untouched by the impacts of irregular or mass migration so he should keep schtum and, b) ‘morality without practicality is no morality at all’ – can’t remember who said this but, in this case, it’s an apposite saying.
Where does it say in the Scriptures that the leaders of a country are under a moral obligation to facilitate a foreign invasion? Any foreign invasion? No wonder the Church of England is in bad shape.
A very well argued piece by Miriam Cates. Elected to parliament in 2019, if this article is an example of her general clarity of thought she’s one to watch out for in the future – providing she keeps her seat at the next election.
On the subject of Welby, this article exposes him as a lightweight in terms of both intellect and compassion. It’s no wonder the Church of England is in such a sorry state if it can’t do better.
Edit: nearly an hour later, i’ve had to edit this, removing the name of her parliamentary constituency to get it online. Ridiculous by Unherd, hang your heads in shame!
Wiki says it is unmentionabletone and Stocksbridge, what’s wrong with that? I found out and replaced the 5 letter word with ‘unmentionable’. Totally agree with you!
“Liberals, both inside and outside the Church, often misapply the definition of Christian compassion”
The words of Jesus, which define the concept of Christian compassion, are directed at individual human beings. YOU AND I are to love, forgive, and serve other individuals, especially if it comes as a sacrifice. When enough individuals welcome the stranger to glorify God, the state-level goals people like Welby want will naturally be achieved. They don’t understand that. The words of Jesus aren’t directed at a state government, they are meant to radically transform individuals. A state is the collection of its individuals, and state policy is a completely different category than the moral directives of individuals. Their policies have the opposite effect, and engender more strife between individuals and chaos in society.
Miriam, you have to demonstrate that he doesn’t even understand the scriptures he quotes from.
What Welby actually said was ‘of course we cannot take everyone and nor should we…’ Just sayin
As a matter of interest what are the immigration rules for Brits seeking to emigrate to, just for example, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Albania, and African countries?
You and 9 others are on a small boat. The boat can fit 12 people. 3 swim over to your boat and want on. 12 can float, more will sink the boat. What do you do? Drown 12 people, or save 12 people?
If a million people immigrate into Britain, but only half a million housing units are built, the price for housing will rise. ECON101
Jesus morality opposes lies, greed, and violence. So what if people did not want to leave their war-torn, oppressive, ravaged homelands because all the really nice countries like UK, US, Canada, etc. stopped installing and sustaining corrupt leaders, stopped selling weapons to the corrupt leaders, and stopped aggressively ‘attracting’ the very immigrants who have the means to change the corrupt governments of their homelands?
Why do we even have to debate this? Welby overstepped the line between religion (forgiveness and tolerance etc) and the secular (nationalism, patriotism, sovereignty of a nation and indeed one’s home/property etc)! WE SHOULD STOP GIVING HIM AIRTIME.
Indeed! Compassion does not mean jettisoning common sense.
Is Welby a Christian?
Yes. Whereas you are clearly not.
Any other dumb questions?
It’s unchristian not to.
Small boats are a distraction in the context of anticipated 1m legal entranta last year (tbc 25th May). Tories are dead in the water at the next election. They are incompetent fools who care nothing for the people of this country, whether building homes or providing healthcare . Indeed, they put another 1m in the queue. Fascinatingly amongst recent migrants 40% are economically inactive based on age, lifestage, etc. They can’t even deliver gdp!!!!!!
Welby should not have a seat in The House of Lords. He should ditch his cassock and be a politician where he can spout his anti British views. Let’s put the migrants in his house and see how he likes it.
Yes, we must welcome the stranger. But that is the beginning of a Christian conversation about immigration, not its conclusion. What does Jesus’ command mean to us, today? We ought to expect a better answer.
Justin Welby is not an uneducated clergyman. So, I conclude, this is disingenuous use of Holy Scripture.
Yes, we must welcome the stranger. But not actually. Jesus was just joking.
Like you said, this is the beginning of a Christian conversation, so why start with a personal attack?
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