Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Today's Times Newspaper P.13


  1. Damn! And I thought it was just 'individuals' who campaigned for their prefered political party. Now it seems - Bruce is involved! If he keeps this up - the buggers will be voting soon! Of course the downside of their argument - 'that God chooses Governments - not us' is that they don't trust God to - er - choose rightly - without a bit of help from them. And also - how do they KNOW which way God wants to 'vote'? It all comes back to Bruce- he is after all -in permanent touch with the man upstairs.

  2. Once the election is over, would you be able to pray for a lottery win for me? Thanks, in anticipation.

    PS I am a Tory, so we're on the same side anyway.

    1. I'm sure we could come to an arrangement

      You win, then come back into fellowship
      We have plenty of projects that could use your money

      We'll even entice you with a Rolls Royce and women as we did with Mr Rimmer

  3. Mainstream churches in the UK don't advise or encourage people to vote in a certain way - absolutely not. Congregations are diverse and include people of all political persuasions, some of whom may be party political activists, and it's left entirely up to the individual to decide how to vote.

    Only recently, there has been concern in a London borough that some religious leaders may have urged followers to vote in a certain way and this has led to condemnation, resignations and government intervention.

    The brethren in the PBCC don't vote - I'm not sure why. If it is because they feel the act of voting is 'of this world' and they are occupied with higher things, then why do some brethren deliver leaflets and campaign actively on behalf of the Tory party? It's illogical and the PBCC comes over as deceitful and inconsistent.

  4. This just published today in Third Sector

    Charity Commission examines claims that Plymouth Brethren have campaigned for Tory candidates

    07 May 2015 by Sam Burne James

    According to reports in The Times this week, members of the Brethren have leafleted for the Conservative Pary in various constituencies considered marginals

    The Charity Commission is looking into claims that the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church has provided campaigning support for Conservative general election candidates and held prayers for a Conservative victory.

    The Times newspaper reported earlier this week that members of the Brethren, who do not vote, had been "leafleting for Conservative candidates in key marginal seats", including Chippenham in Wiltshire, Montgomeryshire and Yeovil in Somerset, and had said prayers for the party’s success.

    The paper said that hundreds of Brethren volunteers had leafleted for Conservatives during the 2010 election, and many of those MPs later went on to support the church in its bid to be registered as a charity by the commission.

    This claim has previously been reported in The Times and reiterated to Third Sector by Paul Flynn, who was then the Labour MP for Newport West.

    In January 2014 the Preston Down Trust, a Devon-based congregation of the church, was registered with the commission after a five-year legal battle over whether it was established for the public benefit. The church adheres to a doctrine of separation and has been accused of breaking up families and using harsh disciplinary practices. Since the registration of the PDT, a further 70 Plymouth Brethren congregations have been granted charitable status by the commission.

    A spokeswoman for the commission said today: "We are aware of concerns raised in the press regarding the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church and have contacted representatives to establish the facts of this matter." Once this happened, she said, the regulator would decide what action to take, if any.

    "Charity Commission guidance on campaigning and political activity makes clear that a charity must not give its support to any political party or candidate and that all charities must ensure their independence is maintained and perceptions of independence are not adversely affected," the spokeswoman said. "As charity regulator, we expect charity trustees to take account of this fundamental requirement as a core part of their decision-making processes."

    A statement issued by the church to Third Sector said it had conducted its own investigation into the allegations and would cooperate fully with the Charity Commission's review.

    It said: "The PBCC, like any church, has an interest in good government – not only how it will affect the interests of the church, but also what is best for all in this country.

    "However, there is no instruction from anyone regarding which party to support. Many people of faith will look at candidates’ commitments to faith schools and other related issues and support accordingly. Many Brethren members run small businesses and that too will have an impact on their political positions. However, above all, we seek strong leadership cognisant of Christian values."

    Brother R

  5. I think it's great and 100 % above board.
    The PBCC can't vote or be directly involved in politics, but this is a powerful and wonderful alternative to promises that often fall short.
    God's promises can't fail and he is making a way through this self-made mire and tide of evil.
    Maybe we shall also have some restoration of Christian values in state schools and government departments. May God be pleased to awaken our nation from the apostasy that has slowly undermined the values of Great Britain.
    When all appears lost to the lost, God hears the urgent prayers of his people and extends his grace towards man in order that more may be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.

    Jesus said " l am the truth, the way and the life.
    The solution to the nation's troubles is right there and so we are without excuse.

  6. The Questioner7 May 2015 at 23:44

    the EB spokesman, as is so often the case, does not tell the truth. He says that members choose whichever party to support as they choose. Focus Schools tell their children that they must not vote.

  7. The Tories have won and have a majority. God has heard the prayers and seen the leafleting and so intervened on behalf of his people! Now the brethren can live happily ever after. Hallelujah!


  8. The Questioner8 May 2015 at 21:42

    it's difficult to understand how an administration which intends to favour the rich over the poor can be described as Christian since Jesus Christ, who is I believe meant to be at the centre of the faith which carried his name, directed the exact opposite.

  9. The late swing of opinion towards the Conservative Party was obviously a result of the brethren's prayers.

  10. The on-line edition of the Times article states, “This article is the subject of a legal complaint.”

    I expect the complainant alleges that the political activity is the work of individual Brethren members, and has nothing to do with the Brethren’s registered charities. But when it comes to defending the charitable status of Brethren trusts, the Brethren PR machine brags about the good deeds of individual members, including good deeds that were never centrally organised or instigated by the trusts. There is something inconsistent there. The trusts can’t very well claim the credit for all the individual good deeds while denying any responsibility for all the political deeds, even when the latter are collectively organised.

    I guess the legally significant criterion is whether any charity money or any premises owned by a charitable trust has been used for political lobbying or campaigning or encouraging or organising such activity.

    We know that in the days of J. T. Jr, a preference for the Conservative Party was promoted in Brethren meeting rooms, along with praise for particular political leaders of some countries, and that more recently the Brethren’s political lobbying in the USA has been instigated or encouraged by B. D. Hales. I imagine the Charity Commission will want to know whether anything similar occurred during the 2015 UK general election campaign.

    Quite apart from the illegality of a charity getting involved in political activity, there is also the question of respectability. Even if the Brethren take care to avoid illegality, political campaigning will still damage their credibility as a supposedly Christian church. It was mainly political campaigning and lobbying that first brought them into the public eye in Australia and New Zealand, and there they have remained, attracting voluminous adverse publicity ever since.

    1. I agree with you Ian regarding the EB probably claiming 'individual exercise' for all things bad and 'church charity' for all things good. Thing is, we know them better than that. There is no way a member would be allowed to support any political party if it was not sanctioned. That would be exercising your will, running before the Lord, or some other sin.

      I also agree that it was largely their political activities that brought them so much media attention down under. They have done some pretty serious stuff. Remember the Thanksgiving 2004 Committee, a brethren group that raised $1/2 million for the Bush campaign? The pig masks? The posters? The Green Delusion leaflets? The newspaper ads? One brethren chap proudly showed off the large ad that the brethren had put in. If asked now he may retract that it was the brethren, but a few concerned individuals who just happened to all attend EB meetings.

      It will be interesting to see what the legal complaint is. It could get very interesting if they legally challenge the truthfulness of the articles. I would be surprised if they did, it could pave the way for much more bad publicity because the articles are probably well researched and accurate.

    2. It can be confusing when the Exclusive Brethren/PBCC talk about an 'individual exercise'.

      As for the huge sum of money which was sent from the UK to support advertising for George W Bush's re-election as president of the USA, this was said at the time to come from Exclusive Brethren member Bruce Hazell.

      Not long afterwards I was invited to a Hales Exclusive Brethren home in the UK and I raised this matter with the brethren who were present that morning. I was concerned because the USA considers it illegal to accept money for party political campaigns which is sourced from a foreign jurisdiction. The brethren I met that day didn't respond about the legality issue, but my brethren host commented, "That wasn't his [Bruce Hazell's] money. It came from the Brethren. I probably gave £10.00 myself."

      When I visited Fiona and Garth Christie in their home in 2012 I mentioned this and Garth asked me to send him official clarification that the USA doesn't permit donations for political campaigns from foreign jurisdictions. I duly sent him the information and he acknowledged receipt.

  11. So let me get this right, PBCC. You have been campaigning for a party whose leader said this:

    "I don't support gay marriage in spite of being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I am a Conservative".

    (Source: 658 Google hits)

    How many corners is the Lord going to have to turn to get you out of that one?