With the Tories on the brink of a historic party rupture, and MPs from across the floor forsaking Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn over his insufficient condemnations of anti-semitism within the party (among other issues), the House of Commons just can’t seem to get itself together, even in the face of a challenge of historic magnitude (Brexit). The situation has grown so dire, that the Church of England’s General Synod on Saturday voted to pray for the UK’s political leaders – and also for its poor – that they may find a way through the Brexit morass in a way that minimizes the harm to the UK’s most vulnerable populations.
Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury
According to the Guardian, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby warned that If attention was not paid to the “pain and exclusion” of certain parts of UK society revealed by Brexit, greater division and strife would result. Speaking to the General Synod ahead of a vote to authorize five days of Brexit-related prayer, Welby – who voted remain during the 2016 referendum – proclaimed that “We cannot ignore the warnings that have been proffered about the possible profound impact that the next months may possibly have on the poorest in our society.”
“We must be ready for any difficulties and uncertainties, and not allow any destructive forces to create further divisions in our society.”
“It is true that no predictions on the economy are certain. That is not project fear, it is saying that where there are risks it is the strongest, not the weakest, who must take the weight of the risk. That is not currently the way we are going.”
Welby argued that the church must “play our part” as peacemaker to heal the divisions in Parliament and help the UK “unify as a country.” This after Welby declared last month that a ‘no deal’ Brexit would be “not only a political failure, but a moral one.”
The church must be a peacemaker “to play our part in uniting our country and to put the most vulnerable at the centre of national life”.
He told the synod: “How we recover from and heal these divisions may be the biggest challenge that lies ahead of us – to unify as a country, to have a healthy and functioning democracy, and to have a strong ethically and morally based economy that works for all.”
The burdens on political leaders were enormous, he said. “It is easy to stand on the sidelines and judge. We do not have to make the decisions.”
Before the vote, the Archbishop of York called for a prayer to “save our parliamentary democracy.”
Before the vote, John Sentamu, the archbishop of York, led the synod in a prayer asking God to “save our parliamentary democracy” and “protect the high court of parliament and all its members from partiality and prejudice”.
Sadly, the church was probably unaware of just how appropriate its call to prayer was: Because at this point, it would take an act of God to smooth over the bitter inter- and intra-party sniping over Brexit that has brought all business in Parliament to a grinding halt.
And with that, the Church of England has officially joined Prime Minister Theresa May as a willing accomplice to “Project Fear”.