Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ government dosh

Today’s Jesus and Mo strip, called “fix,” came with two links in the caption:

Maybe you should, Mo. Maybe you should.

This strip based on a story from last year. C of E’s financial status based on this.

This first link reports a warning from the head of the Church Buildings Council that the UK government should cough up £30 million per year to maintain 16,000 church buildings, with the helpful advice that the government maintains church buildings in France and Germany. (France? The land of Laïcité?). The religionists also remind us that we can’t get this dosh from the lottery since lottery funds are declining.

The second link tells us that the Church of England has reserves of £8.3 billion. So why can’t it fix up its own churches? To even ask the public to pay for this stuff is an unconscionable entanglement of church and state. Granted, the UK has no First Amendment (indeed, it has an official state church), but why should taxpayers, many of them nonreligious, have to dig into their own pockets to support houses of worship?

 

21 Comments

  1. GBJames
    Posted July 10, 2019 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    It seems perfectly reasonable for government to maintain church after they have been abandoned. Many of these old buildings are gorgeous historical structures. But while they are in use? Gimme-a-break.

  2. W.T. Effingham
    Posted July 10, 2019 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    The C of E is “worth” 8.3 billion pounds? I’m giving up on understanding Dark Money. Dark Mass and Dark Energy seem quite accessible by comparison.

  3. Posted July 10, 2019 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    The second link tells us that the Church of England has reserves of £8.3 billion.

    Actually, the link tells us that the Code has investments worth £8 billion, not that it has £8 billion in cash. Many of those investments cannot really be liquidated. They can’t just sell St Paul’s Cathedral.

    So why can’t it fix up its own churches? To even ask the public to pay for this stuff is an unconscionable entanglement of church and state. Granted, the UK has no First Amendment (indeed, it has an official state church)

    The Church of England is effectively a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Government. The buck stops with the government.

    NB I think people in Scotland would argue with you on the subject of established churches in the UK. I know one Scottish guy who likes to remind me that the C of E is established in England. The state that took it over was that of Henry VIII who was not King of Scotland.

    but why should taxpayers, many of them nonreligious, have to dig into their own pockets to support houses of worship?

    I suppose that depends on whether the British public likes seeing its historic buildings collapse into disrepair or not. For perspective, there’s some controversy about the necessary work to stop Westminster Palace (equivalent to the Capitol in Washington) from falling down. Estimates run up to £5billion for that job and that’s just one building.

    • Posted July 10, 2019 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      “Many of those investments cannot really be liquidated. They can’t just sell St Paul’s Cathedral.”

      The 8 billion is just liquid investments, it does not include the value of its properties.

      “The Church of England is effectively a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Government. The buck stops with the government.”

      Not really. It has legal status as an independent body, and the government is under no obligation to fund it or bail it out if it goes bust.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted July 10, 2019 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      … that depends on whether the British public likes seeing its historic buildings collapse into disrepair or not …

      Pass the plate at Sunday services. Let those who use the facilities, or care for their historical value, pay the freight. Hell, in the US churches often take up a “second collection” for church upkeep.

      • Posted July 10, 2019 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        Many of the buildings owned by the church have been designated as grade 1 listed which significantly increases the cost of maintenance. They are not just meeting halls for church congregations.

  4. Posted July 10, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    This is why I wonder when I see Catholic institutions fundraising – these belong, at least to some degree, to a multinational corporation with billions in assets. So, what the ???

  5. Mark R.
    Posted July 10, 2019 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Jesus is a socialist.

    • Posted July 11, 2019 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      Marx and others thought the early Christians were. Unfortunately, a lot of their evidence is from Acts, which modern scholarship finds to be dubious, to say the least, as history.

  6. Frank Bath
    Posted July 10, 2019 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Here in London, and I’m sure elsewhere, many C of E churches have no architectural value whatsoever, and are in bad need of recycling.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted July 10, 2019 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

      Well, we’re talking in generalisations here. I agree many more modern (i.e. concrete) churches might as well be knocked down, for all the architectural merit they have. But this applies more strongly to nonconformist chapels, since they tend to be more recent and built more cheaply. If you take a typical small country town with several churches, typically by far the best one – aesthetically – will be the C of E village church.

      cr

  7. Posted July 10, 2019 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Here in Australia abandoned churches are regularly refurbished into homes. I suppose it’s the secular appeal of their sandstone construction.

    rz

  8. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted July 10, 2019 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    “the government maintains church buildings in France and Germany. (France? The land of Laïcité?).”

    Yes. I thought everyone was aware of that since the fire at Notre Dame. In France, the State owns the churches, the ‘Church’ is just a tenant.

    ‘The law separating Church and State, passed on 9 December 1905, established State ownership of cathedrals and parish council ownership of churches built before 1905. Only churches built after 1905 fall outside public ownership; they belong to the diocese of which the bishop is the head.’

    https://www.theartnewspaper.com/analysis/church-and-state-disagree-over-management-of-religious-heritage-in-france

    In other words, the French recognise the historical/architectural importance of the historic structures as distinct from their religious significance.

    “why should taxpayers, many of them nonreligious, have to dig into their own pockets to support houses of worship?”

    I’m an atheist. But given the choice between helping to pay for old English stone village churches everywhere, and having them sold off and the land used for (say) supermarkets, guess which I’m going to go for?

    cr

    • rickflick
      Posted July 10, 2019 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      Supporting a dying institution could be risky. Paying for stone churches everywhere would become rather odd after a while. While driving through Ireland a few years ago, we passed town after town with stone church after stone church – almost all of them in ruins. Some were bars and restaurants, but the majority were simply stone walls (no roof), and a field of tombstones surrounding it. Very charming to look at, but why try to save all of them?

      P1020466 ED

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted July 10, 2019 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

        I don’t know about Ireland, maybe it’s got a declining population, but in England there is a strong impetus to preserve as much of the old countryside as possible. Which is why planning laws are relatively strict and there are so many ‘listed’ buildings. And old stone churches, if of any merit at all, are certainly included in that category.

        If it’s worth building a public toilet out of stone, just to suit the surroundings, it’s worth preserving an old church.

        cr

        • rickflick
          Posted July 11, 2019 at 12:36 am | Permalink

          I love stone toilets. There’s such a lot of history there.


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