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No surprises regarding the Labour Party's attitude. Despite having its origins in methodism there has always been an aggressively anti-religious element within the party. Of course when it comes to Islam they have second thoughts because this might offend ethnic minorities who must never ever be offended.

Conversely I suspect few atheist or Muslim Tories are militantly anti-Christianity.

Christians in the Labour party must feel that their moral base is being undermined. Those driven by conscience would be better off in the Conservative party which has shown itself to have a moral and spiritual core.

You don't need god and Jesus to believe in morality. It's a false choice.

Churches can do what they like, but personally, I'm only interested in secular politics.

I'm not Christian, so the idea that Christians have somehow been 'betrayed' really doesn't resonate with me, and the conflating of Christianity with morality is idiotic.

David and Steve are missing the point: The Church is an important part of society and makes a big contribution to tackling social problems. It's crazy for any government to ignore that contribution in policymaking.

I think the Church of England is saying what many others have been saying for a long time.

The values which most Labour MPs hold are simply antithetical to those which most Christians hold.

Alan - in what way is the church an important part of society in 2008? If it's acting as a charity, then great, but it's by no means central to our way of life.

Labour will be accused of “deep religious illiteracy”

The best reason yet to vote Labour.

Actually, let's be clear here. The Church of England is a minority body even amongst Christians in this country, and every year it falls further behind. Yet at the same time it has a privileged position in parliament and the state.

But, get this, it isn't getting its way so it accuses those who disagree with it of being morally inferior to it.

(How, though, it is possible to be morally inferior to a church founded so the king could knock-off someone he wasn't married to, is beyond me.)

And maybe the Tories rushing to endorse this should tell us just where they think this moral compass is missing?

Iraq? Well, Labour should be proud of having helped smash Saddam.

Abortion? The church's position is there should be none - unless Tories agree with that then they are equally guilty of moral turpitude.

Homosexuality? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the "nasty party".

"The Church of England is a minority body"

This is nonsense. When my son was Christened I took great satisfaction in knowing that his denomination was that of the official church of our country and the Crown. The Church of England still has great prestige and is as much a part of our nation as Westminster or Buckingham Palace.

"Labour lacks moral compass, says Church of England"

How can this be? By recent reports in the news:

"Tony Blair launches his Faith Foundation in New York today, saying that he wants to spend most of his remaining years ensuring that religion is seen as a force for good in the world. . . "

Btw none of my children were Christened but then I advise this by David Hume, the Scottish philosopher, on moral duties, published in 1748, as the best guide to morality that comes to my mind:

"All moral duties may be divided into two kinds. The first are those to which men are impelled by a natural instinct ... which operates on them, independent of all ideas of obligation, and of all views either to public or private utility. Of this nature are love of children, gratitude to benefactors, pity to the unfortunate. ... The second kind of moral duties are such as are not supported by any original instinct of man but are performed entirely from a sense of obligation, when we consider the necessities of human society, and the impossibility of supporting it, if these duties were neglected. .... We shall only observe, before we conclude, that though an appeal to general opinion may justly, in the speculative sciences of metaphysics, natural philosophy, or astronomy, be deemed unfair and inconclusive, yet in all questions with regard to morals, as well as criticism, there is really no other standard, by which any controversy can ever be decided."

As for religion, David Hume: Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1754) seems to me to be an excellent starting point:

Of course the anti-Christian and anti-conservative BBC would prefer the story about Caroline Spelman’s expenses to this hugely important C of E report.

The C of E point to what the Ed calls a Disproportionate fretting over the Muslim community, for example, and notes our positive agenda to tackle brokenness in society and poverty. This is of course while Labour are determined to abolish fatherhood, create human/animal hydrid embryos, manufacture siblings for the use of another, and to keep abortion limit at 24 weeks in definace of public concern about the number of abortions.

It seems the marginalisation of Christianity is due to the desire to accommodate various other religions with the aim of making their adherents (rightly) feel welcome, but also to appease well-organised lobby groups with an un-Christian agenda.

Insofar as the Church is seeking special favours or a major seat at the highest levels of Government, that should be resisted.. All sorts of anti-Christian groups that promote un-Christian values and an anti-Christian agenda have all sorts of special favour and influence now. Which is why, for example, this Government changed its mind to allow animal/human hybrid embryos. Christian influence is needed at every level.

Labour member (1849) says the Church of England is a minority even amongst Christians. This may be true, and why hopefully we recognise the place of a much wider spectrum such as evangelicals, Pentecostals and the Afro-Carribean churches. I think the abolition of slavery can be traced back to the Welsey/Whitfield evangelical movement. Today, it’s the RCs who are the group who seem to be saying the most to raise the nation’s conscience about the slaughter of the unborn.

“The Government is planning blind and has no convincing moral direction.”

Does the Church of England have any convincing moral direction any longer?

Socialism is fundamentally anti Christian. Certainly there are a few misguided souls in the Labour Party who have Christian backgrounds but they would be far better off leaving the party to rot in hell were it belongs !

Whilst the Church of England may be the constitutionally Established Church of the UK, and retains a nominal political influence via the Bishops who are still entitled to sit in the House of Lords,(The Lords Spiritual) I think that most of us would now agree that, politically at least, Britain is now a secular state; although one which offers an exceptionally wide freedom of religious practices and beliefs.

In such a society it is essential to establish that, in all cases of potential conflict, between the civil laws of our state and the rules of behaviour, authorised or demanded by any faith or religious group, faction or persuasion, are subsidiary to, and legally permissable or enforceable only to the extent that they do not conflict with, our own civil laws.

There is, however, a fine dividing line between religious teachers trying to define their personal views about what may or may not be acceptable moral behaviour, and seeking to attribute these to political parties or individuals.

Certainly,many of us are unhappy to see the decline in the power and influence upon moral standards of our established Church in this country, but, much we might wish to do so, this is one thing for which we can not entirely blame our politicians.

Largely agree with Tony Makara (1634) that Christians in the Labour party must feel that their moral base is being undermined. Those driven by conscience would be better off in the Conservative party which has shown itself to have a moral and spiritual core. But we do still have some way to go. For example, we have a small minority of MPs who are opposed to any Christian values it seems; yesterday’s poll of some next generation Tory MPs only want the abortion limit reduced to 22 or 20 weeks (when most European countries it is 12 weeks), and many seemed to be open to euthenasia; David Cameron favours abortion up to birth for handicapped children and easy earlier abortions (am I right in thinking this?). Havuing said this, yes, there is a difference: that we do have a spiritual and moral core is demonstrated by the recent votes on abortion and fatherhood were largely along party lines: Cconservatives for fatherhood and for protecting the unborn, with Labour vearing against fatherhood and more against protecting the unborn. And it is good that our Party recognises the positive effects of Christianity on society.

Let the CoE condemn the Labour Party if they want. The only question is why it has taken them so long to figure that out. Keep a big distance away from all worshipers of sky fairies.

Who cares what the Church thinks? This is just a cry for attention because the CofE figures are in decline and they no longer get the perks and privileges from the state that they're used to.

It will only be a matter of time before the separation of Church and State goes ahead.

If you want to position yourselves as the backwards party believing in fairytale Gods and Labour as the intelligent, scientific, secular party then so be it.

Tony Makara, you say Christians should leave Labour and join the Tories. I say the opposite, secularists in the Tory party (and there are lots of them) should join Labour since their own party is becoming increasingly in the hands of the religious right.

Rev Smurf, of course one reason socialism could be regarded as contrary to Christian truth is it that it undermines the concept of personal responsibility, blaming poverty etc rather than the culprit for crime, and giving the State the role of family provider and carer.

You just make it up as you go along don't you Northern Monkey? I doubt if anyone from whatever wing of the party would agree with your unfounded assertion that the Tory party is controlled by the 'religous right'.I'm just glad that there is still a sense of morality within our party. You've got to admit, Northern Monkey, after ten years of people like Blair, Campbell and Mandelson leading Labour moral questions were really not near the top of your agenda anymore. Brown has done nothing to change that. All that matters to him is maintaining his authority and power.

Phillip you took the words directly from my mouth. Labour is the party of dependence on the state. It stifles the natural order and wastes talent. Not only that but it is influenced by the satanic creed of Marxism a wicked political deception hatched in the synagogue of Satan itself. It replaces belief in God with reliance on the government.

Northern Monkey, it's people with your outlook who are destroying Labour, and alienating its natural supporters.

Please continue.

Come on then ... tell us what the moral problems are that Labour are neglecting... let's get it all out and don't hide your prejudices behind weasel words.

Sean, why on earth do you think Labour's natural supporters are religious?

Less than 10% of the country's population goes to Church on Sundays (probably nearer to 5%) and I bet the vast majority of those are Tory voters.

Both you and I know, this country is already secular and becoming less religious each day. I'm happy for Labour to support that trend and for the Tories to lose votes by resisting it.

This is yet another example of 'big state Conservatives' expecting taxpayers to give perks to a Church in decline.

Northern Monkey, why should being religious and being right-wing be any sort of slur? At least people of that persuasion believe in something greater than themselves, a sense of decency and a sense of benevolence towards other human beings. I suppose you think 'moralizing' is a negative term too? I'm proud to see that moral fibre is at the forefront of modern Conservative thinking, its about time politicians took the moral high ground and stood up for what is right.

Yes Tony, I (and a lot of people) have a problem with 'moralising' because when 'moralising' was done in the past, whether by the Church or the Conservative party, it involved attacks on homosexuals, Mary Whitehouse style censorship or limits on freedom (such as the Sunday trading laws, which ironically Thatcher tried to scrap).

Tony, why do you think being religious makes you any more moral? And do you recognise that what you believe is 'moral' is not necessarily what other people regard as 'moral'?

I'm agnostic, yet I feel perfectly moral. But my morals revolve around social liberalism, secularism and personal freedom - so NO involvement of the state in people's sex lives or relationships and NO perks for the Church from the state.

From my perspective, those social conservatives who believe the opposite, are immoral.

Sean, why on earth do you think Labour's natural supporters are religious?"

Well, I was under the impression that Roman Catholics, and quite a lot of Noncomformists, had provided a large chunk of the Labour vote. But, please, go after the Richard Dawkins vote. Feel happy that you're winning 26%, and that aggressively secular people agree with you. You can become a niche political party.

And accept the fact, there are more Christians than there are Labour voters in the country, right now.

Northern Monkey, why are you reverting to attitudes expressed thirty years ago. The modern Conservative party does not discriminate in terms of sexual orientation and it does not seek to censor. The principles of the mainstream churches are ideals that most people can subscribe to.

The abortion debate is interesting because it shows the different moral perspectives of left and right. The left sees abortion as being about the woman, that is it is a selfish perspective, and the right see abortion as being about something greater than the self-serving attitude of the individual and instead sees the debate as being about the child.

History is likely to record Labour's period in office as being the most morally bankrupt in history. The party is mired in corruption and operates a controlling instinct that is now eating into the lives of every person in our country. The government that sends people to prison for not having a TV licence yet believes house burlars should get a caution for their first offence. A cabinet which plays 'I Spartacus' and boasts of its use of drugs, what moral lead does that set? it may have deflected from the home secretary's drug habit but in so doing it legitimized drug use in the eyes of young people. Not exactly responsible or moral government.

What a cheek Tony - when it comes to sleaze and corruption, your party are the masters. Even in opposition, you can't keep your snouts out of the trough.

And when it comes to drugs, remind me again of how many members of the Shadow Cabinet admitted to taking cannabis when Ann Widdecombe went on her moral crusade? And I think we all know Dave and George have taken a few things stronger than cannabis in their day.

The Thatcher government will be remembered as the most immoral of all time - you know when homelessness increased rapidly and the 'underclass' developed?

And Sean, there are certainly fewer true Christians than Labour voters. Just because 71% of people put Christian in the census (I was one of them), it does not make them proper Christians. Parties who move away from the religious right and more towards secularism gain votes. If the opposite is true, then why has your party leadership tried to move away from the Church's so-called 'morals'?

Tony Makara is right.
If we won't acknowledge the importance of christianity on our culture, our values and our nation, then we shouldn't call ourselves Conservatives at all.

Northern Monkey, perhaps you would like to give a few examples of this so-called immorality under the Thatcher government? As for the question of an 'underclass' what exactly are the 5.4 million people on benefit under a Labour government. 5.4 million, thats greater than the population of Scotland and the Labour website has the bare faced cheek to lie to the public and claim that we have 'full employment in a global economy' Now that is immoral behaviour.

As for homelessness well I wouldn't lecture Conservative after Caroline Flint threatened to kick people out of the council accomodation for being unemployed. On that debate it was Grant Shapps who behaved decently and had the moral high ground in wholeheartedly condemning Flint's attack on the poor.

Perhaps you imagine that the CofE and millions of voters are imagining all this? The fact is Labour's claim to be the party of the poor has been exposed for the sham that it is. Why are the most deprived areas of our country all Labour heartlands and have been so for generations? Is this coincidence or cause and effect?

For the Northern Monkey I suggest, courtesy of another poster elsewhere on the Caroline Spelman thread, "www.labour-watch.com/sleaze.htm". It is very entertaining and informative and I think vastly outguns The Grauniad's list of 12 Tory shennanigans. If any Govt is going to win the immorality stakes, it is this one because it is institutionally corrupt in mind and inclination, lacking totally in any kind of integrity and goals, bar that of seeking personal power and holding onto it at all costs.

The reason why deprived areas vote Labour is because Labour offers them the best chance of getting out of poverty.

If the Tories were so good at helping the poor, then why wouldn't the poor vote Tory? Or is it because you think they're just too thick to know what's going on?

Labour have lifted more people out of relative poverty than any previous government. And unemployment has never been as high under this government as it was on the final day of John Major's premiership. Anything you say otherwise is a barefaced lie.

Tony, do you seriously think that a Conservative government in the future won't do welfare reform? If so, you're extremely naive. If you thought Flint's proposals were bad, I'd shudder to think what you'll think once the Tories get back into power again. Have you actually lived under a Tory government before?

As for Thatcher's immorality - I'm amazed you have to ask. She was the most morally bankrupt PM of modern times. Try these for starters:

1) Support for General Pinochet and his repressive regime
2) Tacit approval of Apartheid-ruled South Africa
3) She abolished the metropolitan county councils just because the people there didn't vote for her party.
4) Used her own personal bigotry against homosexuals by introducing Section 28.
5) Censored Gerry Adams leading to yet more bloodshed in Northern Ireland
6) After taking the jobs off thousands of miners, she replaced them with absolutely nothing. No investment for those communities, no educational facilities to re-train the miners to do something else, no Special Economic Zones - absolutely nothing. She didn't give a damn.
7) Made the North-South divide permanent and didn't seem to care about anywhere north of Oxford.
8) Presided over a massive increase in the numbers of homeless people
9) Presided over an increase of those in relative poverty.
10) Turned the nation's cities into ghost towns - causing all kinds of social problems which we're still suffering from today
11) Introduced the poll tax - the most repressive tax since the Middle Ages
12) Drastically cut spending on education, the NHS and public transport in real terms - leading to a severe decline in public services
13) Used Scotland as a testing ground for her most unpopular policies leading to the division in the UK which we have now.
14) The Westland affair

Would you like me to carry on?

Yes, I agree with you 'snegshui' on the immorality stakes, and I would add a couple more areas where this governments integrity ain't noticeable, to introduce 24hr drinking, on the pretence that it would be more continental, when in fact it was to get more revenue and to please the drinks industry. And to try to facilitate gambling outlets being opened whereever possible - indeed just recently the increase in adverts for something something bingo on both terrestrail and digital TV is very noticeable and dreary. And that again brings in revenue first and foremost.

And DON'T even think of saying - northernmonkey - that that is what the people want, because quite a lot of people WANT cocaine or crack cocaine etc:, but I don't think that even this government would suggest that those drugs should be given to anybody who is prepared to pay for them.

This government lacks moral integrity, in fact that phrase, which I sometimes think that some Labour MP's don't know the meaning of, is regarded by 'lefties' like yourself, as for fusty old ladies, who would not be able to cope with the cynicism which dominates the socialist lefties in the media.

Of course there is a place for Christianity in this country, as there has been for centuries, but it is strange that Labourites seem more than willing to approve the Muslim religion in this country, while jeering at the role of Christianity....

And actually northernmonkey, now I have seen your post above I realise you are just a corkscrew merchant, because just glancing at a couple of your morally bankrupt points, that you attribute to Mrs. Thatcher (a nice easy target, but thats a socialist for you), you know perfectly well that anybody can state many, many more areas where your government has been unscrupulous, and less then honest ... we could start with Iraq!

"Come on then ... tell us what the moral problems are that Labour are neglecting... let's get it all out and don't hide your prejudices behind weasel words.

Posted by: Labour member | June 07, 2008 at 21:50!

I tell you what killed my support for Labour. NO1 Telling outright lies about the WMD in Iraq to justify invading that nation to get at its oil. NO2 Spending far far to much of its time and effort finding ways to nose into private peoples business. NO3 Have a moral sound bite culture and very little else. NO4 Being a corruption influence by not encouraging self reliance.NO5 Forcing Europe on us with out discussion and shying away from a referendum. I will never vote Labour again and what is more I now see that the Tories have been right all time Labour is bad for Britain in every possible respect that matters.

"unemployment has never been as high under this government as it was on the final day of John Major's premiership"

Northern Monkey, lets look at how the New Deal programme doctors the unemployment figures. As you know anyone who has been unemployed for a set time is drafted onto the New Deal and made to attend work placements for 13-26 weeks in what is laughingly called 'work-experience. This usually involves working a 30 hour week for an extra 15 pounds on top of benefit. That is a going rate of 50pence an hour, lower than the cost of child labour in the developing world and lower than that of a paper boy.

However the biggest slight-of-hand in the New Deal is that those on 13-26 week work-experience sign off the dole and disappear from the unemployment count because they are classed as 'in training' although they are just as much on trapped on benefit as ever. This gives a completely false reading as to the numbers who are unemployed at any given time and the Labour government can engineer an apparent fall, or cover up a rise in unemployment, by drafting greater numbers of JSA claimants onto the work-experience programmes.

That is the ruse being practiced by the Labour government in masking the true numbers of unemployed and that is why Gordon Brown persists with the New Deal which has been a complete failure and has cost the British taxpayer over 3.4 Billion pounds.

Labour's immoral record:

1) Illegal war in Iraq based on lies
2) End of dental access for the poor
3) Youth unemployment up 20%
4) Cash for honours
5) David Blunkett and real nannygate
6) Erosion of civil liberties
7) Lavish wallpaper in Lord Irvings offices
8) Mandelson's resignations and comebacks
9) Plan to make the unemployed homeless
10) British hospitals carrying more germs than public toilets.
11) Making unemployed work for 50p an hour
12) 11 year olds unable to read
13) Cannabis classification fiasco
14) Early release of violent prisoners

Northern Monkey
I dispute 2 parts of your list

"6) After taking the jobs off thousands of miners, she replaced them with absolutely nothing. No investment for those communities, no educational facilities to re-train the miners to do something else, no Special Economic Zones - absolutely nothing. She didn't give a damn."

I argued with people on this in 2004 on the anniversary of 1984 strikes. I feel that that the leadership of the unions picked a bad fight, fought it on grounds of a political fantasy supremacy and lost it by trying to intimidate the Nottinghamshire miners who would have joined in if they had not been intimidated. If Notts miners had joined in, Thatcher was over. Scargill had it in his hand but rather than bring the Govt to the table, he wanted a class warfare to win out to be the Govt. That battle had to be fought and thoroughly unpleasant it was too. I feel very strongly that the NUM lost an opportunity to negotiate a way out of a declining industry by insisting for all the things you state above, and set a new paradigm for industries overtaken by technology . What was more important, security for members in new industries or subsidised jobs under the NUM? And lets be clear, a subsidised job means that the non-mining community in the overall community pays for miners to go to work. Transition is hard and unions have a place in managing transition, but at that time the unions failed in their mandate, not only for their members, but for the nation, the wider community . Trade Unions look out for sections of the community, and that is acceptable, but individual unions can never can speak/dictate for the whole community - that is not their mandate.

9) Relative Poverty. Social mobility has declined notably under this Govt. Why? Good ideas, bad implementation because they have copied the ideas from Conservatives but don't really understand them and so pervert them. Equlity of opportunity through education is much better than equality of outcome/ And if a drive is made in education , it should be at the primary and secondary level to push up grades there over the whole school population rather than trying to force people into tertiary education who do not achieve the necessary grades.

It is not every day that I agree with pronouncements from the Church of England, but I applaud their attack on the Government’s pro-Islam prejudices. Clearly the underlying reason for the way that the Left goes out of its way to demoralise Christians is the Marxist attack on western standards and beliefs. It is part of their long running campaign to denigrate everything British and “middle class”. That is not to say that Christianity is exclusively for the “middle class” , but then logic has never been the strong suite of the political Left.
The promotion of Islam is part of the ludicrous “multi-cultural” agenda, which is again an obvious desire to destroy “Britishness”. Unfortunately the Conservative Party has lacked the courage to stand up to such nonsense because of fears of being described as “racist”. The clock can be turned back, but it needs a courageous Conservative Party to do it.

Tony, is that the best you can come up with? 11 year olds not being able to read? When your lot left office, your average state school couldn't even afford text books, so you've got a cheek to lecture us on that.

Making the unemployed working for 50p an hour? Not sure where you got this from, but if you're talking about making the unemployed do community service, then what's the problem? Your party proposed exactly the same thing! (except it will probably be even harsher). Are you actually sure you're in the right party? You make it sound like the Tories are positively generous to the unemployed! Don't think you'll find much support from your fellow party members.

And I only listed the things that were morally corrupt about Thatcher, you went for the entire Labour party! Two can play that game. When it comes to sleaze, you'll always be the champions.

1) David Mellor
2) Tim Yeo
3) Michael Mates
4) Stephen Milligan
5) Michael Brown
6) Neil Hamilton
7) Geoffrey Archer
8) Dame Shirley Porter
9) David Ashby
10) Jonathan Aitken
11) Graham Riddick
12) Hartley Booth
13) Piers Merchant
14) John Major's affair with Edwina Currie after Back to Basics
15) Cecil Parkinson

Plus many more. And in the last few months we've even had

16) Derek Conway
17) Giles Chichester
18) Den Dover
19) Caroline Spelman

The list goes on and on and on...

"Making the unemployed working for 50p an hour? Not sure where you got this from, but if you're talking about making the unemployed do community service, then what's the problem? Your party proposed exactly the same thing! (except it will probably be even harsher).

Northern Monkey, if you look into the archives you will find that I am opposed to workfare however I do support fully-waged compulsory public works programmes. As for the unemployed working for 50p an hour, do the maths, those on compulsory New Deal work-experience are paid an extra 15 pounds on top their benefit for doing 30 hours work a week. If these people are giving up their labour for 30 hours they should be paid the minimum wage at least.

I notice that your sin-bin is mostly comprised of people who have engaged in sexual peccadillos, not exactly in the realm of political corruption is it? These are private matters for individuals and not a national concern. Finally I think it was in bad taste to add Stephen Milligan to the list, the man make a mistake and paid for it with his life. He wasn't corrupt, just an unfortunate victim of circumstance.

Tony, I have no moral qualms about people's sex lives - UNLESS they are grossly hypocritical and bang on about 'Back to Basics' principles whilst cheating on their wives. I have no time for that kind of 'moralising' so those people deserved everything they got.

Again, I think you're going to get a shock if/when the Tories get back in again in terms of how they'll treat the unemployed.

"I think you're going to get a shock if/when the Tories get back in again in terms of how they'll treat the unemployed."

Northern Monkey, I shall certainly continue to call for any community work undertaken to be fully-waged. There is a principle at stake, and the old adage 'A fair day's wages for a fair day's work?' has to apply. There is so much good that can come out of a fully-waged public works programme in terms of skills development, work re-engagement, and having the manpower to apply to social projects. I hope Chris Grayling will come to understand this and try to help the unemployed rather than just promising punitive measures.

Workfare is not work and will not lead to work. If anything it will lead to many young people signing off and drifting into crime to gain access to money. The workfare programme spits in the face of compassionate Conservatism. David Cameron should recognize this and make any work undertaken by the unemployed fully waged. Give the jobless paid work and self-respect not unpaid punishment through workfare.

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