jQuery Slider

You are here

The ‘Mote and Beam’ Hypocrisy of two Church of England Bishops

The ‘Mote and Beam’ Hypocrisy of two Church of England Bishops


By David W. Virtue in Europe
December 29, 2017

Two prominent bishops of the Church of England have come out swinging at U.S. President Donald Trump, even as their own church faces irrelevancy, with barely a million (about 1.4%) out of 65 million British souls darkening the doors of a parish on any given Sunday.

In fact, there are more practicing Muslims in the UK than Anglicans.

That has not stopped two C of E bishops launching into a tirade on American politics, in particular the president, who got his support from some 81% of the evangelical population of this country.

Archbishop Justin Welby opined in a recent radio broadcast that he could not fathom why evangelicals voted for Trump, and criticized “populist leaders that deceive,” and said Evangelical Americans’ support for Trump doesn’t tally up with Christian teachings.

More recently the Bishop of Liverpool, Paul Bayes, won praise after blasting Christians who blindly support US President Donald Trump. He went further to say that religious leaders who back the controversial politician cannot justify their Christian faith.

In an interview with The Guardian, Bayes said some evangelical leaders were “uncritically accepting” of things Mr. Trump and those around him have said.

“Some of the things that have been said by religious leaders seem to collude with a system that marginalizes the poor, a system which builds walls instead of bridges, a system which says people on the margins of society should be excluded, a system which says we’re not welcoming people any more into our country.”

There are truths and half-truths here.

First of all, it should be noted, evangelicals in America did not so much vote for Donald Trump as they voted against Hillary Clinton. Why?

Culture War issues such as religious liberty, abortion, (Roe v. Wade) gay marriage, a Supreme Court moving further to the left, and because liberal elites have always been opposed to conservative politics and mores. They have usually been opposed to evangelical belief, too, though in the past this disdain was kept under wraps, at least in public, one noted Christian historian observed. That is what has changed here. “What these elites sense is a golden opportunity to skewer both a conservative political agenda AND evangelical belief. It is a case of two birds with one stone.” He is right, and this is what has confused these two Anglican bishops and what they don’t get. They are not alone. They have company with other C of E bishops and not a few American and Canadian Episcopal and Anglican bishops.

One British tabloid headline screamed; "Evangelicals are viewed with 'fury' and 'disgust' because of taint of Trump and [Roy] Moore."

“I would rather have Trump’s policies with his warts than Hillary's policies with her chronic dishonesty,” noted the historian. Turning off his twitter account might do us all a big favor.

By any reckoning Trump is a deeply flawed man; incapable of giving or experiencing love, deeply narcissistic; totally self-absorbed, with less than honest business practices, an alleged groper of women…one could write the book about the man and still he would have gotten the evangelical vote, because of the direction they perceived the country would have gone under Clinton, a woman with progressive social and moral views better suited to a liberal Methodist pulpit, than a pulpit with John Piper or Tim Keller.

For small town rural evangelical America, the motto was ‘anyone but Hillary.’

The irony should not be missed. Liberal Protestant America is rapidly dying, led by such notable denominations as The Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church USA and the United Church of Christ, to name but a few. So also is the Church of England.

Despite Bernie Sanders’ recent spat with an evangelical, demonstrating a fair amount of anti-evangelical bigotry because he would not confirm a nominee to be deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget over his exclusivist doctrine of salvation, thus imposing a religious test in violation of Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, the Vermont politician has stood up for the poor and down-trodden that has distinct prophetic Old Testament overtones. Evangelicals were not amused, nor did they rally round him.

Apart from the waning influence of a handful of Evangelical lefties like Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo and Ron Sider, evangelicals still remain the most generous of people, giving billions of dollars annually to organizations like World Vision, Barnabas Aid, Food for the Hungry, Food for the Poor and advocacy organizations like Bread for the World.

Therein lies the dilemma. Evangelicals have cut a Faustian bargain electing Trump that might come back to haunt them. But Anglican bishops like Welby and Bayes should worry about the mote in their own eye before they condemn the beam in evangelicals’ eyes.

The feminization and continuing gayification of the Church of England will not turn that Church around; if anything, it will continue to empty it even faster.

Leftist culture war types like Welby have not only alienated evangelicals in the Church of England, he has completely isolated himself from evangelical GAFCON leaders. Welby’s own position as titular head has almost become irrelevant in the Anglican Communion. Who gives a damn what he thinks or says?

The issue of ‘mote and beam’ is one, however, he and Bayes cannot ignore, and they will have to reckon with it. They are as ignorant of the American political landscape as they are of the inevitable demise of their own church.



Get a bi-weekly summary of Anglican news from around the world.
comments powered by Disqus
Letter to the Churches, text and commentary
Prayer Book Alliance
Trinity School for Ministry

Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee

Drink Coffee

Do Good

Sustainable Ministry

Coffee, Community, Social Justice


Go To Top