Why is the Church so woke?

Feb 12, 2021 by

by Giles Fraser, UnHerd:

Something has gone wrong when the clergy don’t represent the flock.

It was in 1917 that the high-born suffragette Maude Royden coined that oft-quoted phrase linking the Church of England and the Tories: “The Church should go forward along the path of progress and be no longer satisfied only to represent the Conservative Party at prayer.” Over a century later, one might imagine the very opposite complaint: that the Church should no longer be satisfied to be only the Labour Party at prayer. That little world “only” being rather important in both cases, for if the Church of England is to be, in any credible sense, the church of the English people, there is something highly troubling about it having been captured so thoroughly by one political perspective.

A survey just out reveals only 6% of Church of England clergy admitted to voting Tory at the last election, whereas a whopping 40% voted Labour, believing that Jeremy Corbyn would make a better prime minister. Yes, it is a very small survey, but even accounting for a considerable margin of error, this is a remarkable finding. Indeed, what is also fascinating is how the number for Pentecostal church leaders was so dramatically different: among this group 49% voted Conservative whereas just 12% voted Labour.

This is especially interesting given that Pentecostal churches are predominantly made up of black Christians. Yes, IPSOS found that only 20% of BAME voters in general went for the Tories, but of that 20%, I’d bet a very high percentage were what the press likes to call “very religious”. And even disregarding that, it seems that minority voters are over three times as likely to vote Tory than the clergy of the Church of England.

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