Wednesday, 2 May 2018

A future Archbishop of Canterbury worried about mass immigration

The modern Anglican clergy's keenness on multiculturalism and immigration contrast with Anglican clergy in previous ages.

It is misleading to argue that England has always been a nation of immigrants. Immigration levels until the last two generations were low, unlike on the Continent. According to the reliable Migrationwatch, more people came to the UK in the single year 2010 than to the British Isles in the whole period 1066-1950. 

Nevertheless, there were always immigrants in England and in the Middle Ages their number was not negligible. A survey of foreigners in England in 1440 listed by name around
20,000 foreigners in England, who made up about one percent of the population. This was long after King Edward I expelled the Jews and centuries before Queen Elizabeth I expelled the few black people in the country. 

The incendiary High Church Anglican and Tory divine Henry Sacheverell was an extremist, who was put on trial by the Whig government in 1710 for preaching against the Noncomformists. He saw inter alia the Calvinism of the 40,000 Huguenot immigrants who had entered England after 1685 as a threat to the Church of England and the monarchy and pointed out that many who profited from the war with France were foreigners. 

It was, I suppose, the equivalent in 1710 of a trial for hate speech today. He was found guilty but received a light sentence. 

In the 1901 census immigrants into the UK again counted for about one per cent of the total population of the United Kingdom, but this was a new development, the result of large scale immigration in the previous twenty years by Jews coming from Eastern Europe.

According to an interesting book by the Conservative MP for Stepney, Major Sir William Evans Gordon, 
"the Bishop of Stepney, speaking on November 24, 1902, said that East London was growing more and more poverty-stricken. In some districts every vestige of comfort had been absolutely wiped out, the foreigners (Jewish immigrants) coming in like an army of locusts, eating up the English inhabitants or driving them out. He prophesied that before his hair was grey the old parish church of Stepney would be standing amid an alien population. He recognized the vigour and intelligence among the aliens ; but the fact remained that they were swamping whole areas once populated by English people, and our churches were continually being left like islands in the midst of an alien sea."

The Bishop was Cosmo Lang who went on to be Archbishop of Canterbury at the time of King Edward VIII's brief reign and abdication, an abdication he helped bring about. He is best remembered today as the subject of this squib, written following a broadcast he made three days after the abdication.
"My Lord Archbishop, what a scold you are!

And when your man is down, how bold you are!

Of Christian charity how scant you are!

And, auld Lang swine, how full of cant you are!"

Many East End clergymen supported the British Brothers' League which was formed in 1902 in East London as a response to waves of Jewish immigration that had begun in 1880 and transformed the area. The League was not antisemitic, but existed to limit immigration. It was a huge success, persuading the Conservative Government to pass the Aliens Act 1905, which put an end to most immigration into the UK and whose provisions were extended to Commonwealth immigrants in 1962.

No politician argued for repeal of the provisions of the Aliens Act, at least until the changes in immigration law brought about by Tony Blair's administration, yet I see that on a site intended to teach history to schoolchildren the British Brothers are treated as if they were fascists. 

Most Anglican bishops hold a very different view of immigration these days, as does Pope Francis, though retired Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey did say in 2015

“Some will not like me saying this, but in recent years there has been too much Muslim mass immigration to Europe."


  1. What the Bishop of Stepney said must be examined as it was said by any other person (his being a Bishop does not change this - his words must be examined on their merits). Was the East of London an area with a lot of poverty in 1902? Yes it was. Was the poverty worse than in the past before 1902? No it was not - actually the East End of London was less bad in 1902 than it had been in the past. So what this gentleman said (as he was most clearly making a claim that poverty was increasing) was false. As for the "Jewish question" - it did not seem to occur to the Bishop that if he believes that Christianity is correct (and that Judaism is mistaken - mistaken in waiting for a Messiah who has already come, some two thousand years ago) then the logical course of action for him to take would be seek to covert the Jews by the power of rational argument. Or is reason a "Jewish thing" with religion being a matter of birth - like the colour of one's hair?

  2. To bring things up to date. Either Islam is correct in its claims (claims to be found in the Koran and the Hadiths) or it is wrong - if it is wrong then it is the moral duty of Christian clergymen (and other people) to use evidence and rational argument to convert Muslims. However, when this is suggested the modern clergy (and the establishment in general) is outraged - it is almost as if they do not actually believe in Christianity themselves. Indeed I do not think they do believe in Christianity - they do not believe that Jesus died on the cross (which is denied in Islam) and that he physically rose from the dead (which is also denied in Islam). And as the modern establishment do not really believe these things themselves - they are not interested in converting anyone else to these beliefs

    1. I'm curious what are the evidence and the rational arguments that can be used to convert someone to a religion? As far as I know, there is no piece of evidence for proving the existence of the soul, the afterlife or the resurrection of Jesus. There's the testimony of the Gospel, but their writers are not independent, without vested interests. Even Jesus says that we should not believe what one says about oneself. Religion is not an axiomatic system where theorems can be deduced from a set of axioms. Religion implies belief, I'd dare say blind belief. As far as I know faith is considered a mystery (at least by the Catholics), a gift by the grace of God, an act of Providence. It's not in the human power to acquire faith, we cannot do anything to get it.

    2. In the non religious (Aristotelian) sense there is overwhelming evidence for the existence of the soul - our own self awareness (our personhood) is one thing we can be absolutely sure of. The question is whether the soul survives the death of the body - to which the honest answer is "we do not know". As for it being impossible to argue (on a rational basis) for the merits of one religion over another - when that is exactly what traditional Catholics did, they produced rational arguments and evidence to show (for example) that Islam was false in its claims about scripture. Sadly this traditional training in logical argument and using evidence against other religions appears to have stopped in the 1960s - just before the present Pope received his training in Germany (where he went from Argentina). Today there are still Catholic scholars who use reason and rational argument against Islam - but one is more likely to encounter Protestants who do so. For example Dr David Wood (of YouTube "fame") who argues against Islam on the basis of both arguments and scripture - including Islamic scriptures (which he has studied for many years).

    3. It was always clear to me that I had a soul but not that it was necessarily immortal - that is a revealed truth and not knowable by the light of natural reason. In fact it is one the harder parts in which to believe of the Christian revelation and, as Dr Johnson said, the most important.

  3. Of course both Muhammed and Martin Luther did denounce reason as a Jewish thing - with Muhammed denouncing the Jews for seeking to interpret scripture in the light of reason (many scholars have described Islam as a "revolt against the Talmud" - an effort to do away with moral reasoning by argument, and to just have simple commandments from God with the text being treated in a LITERAL fashion). And Martin Luther, of course, denounced "that whore reason" and went on long rants against both reason and "the Jews" as if they were the same thing (opposing the arguments of Erasmus and others that moral reason, free will, is a HUMAN thing, not a "Jewish" thing). But I see no good reason to agree with Muhammed or Martin Luther on these matters.

  4. "Spare the olive, spare the fig, spare the People of the Book (the Jews) but spare not the infidel!" Arab proverb during the Conquest

  5. Ben Shapiro; The Love Affair Between The New York Times & Karl Marx