Archive for November, 2015

Ok this is a pet hate of mine and it’s getting worse.

Social media has become the crowd of people shouting “crucify”. The amount of Amen’s I see to things that are either unbiblical or slightly dodgy but sound good is amazing, shockingly I have joined the fray, till I had a big wake up call.

Let me give you an example from yesterday.

“You should boycott Starbucks not because some crass fundamentalist dislikes their cups, but because they are serial tax evaders.”.

Sounds good doesn’t it? Boycotting, social justice etc etc. But I started asking questions. The person making the statement was a member of the Anglican Clergy, a Bishop (and someone who I actually really respect, he is a brilliant Christian, although in a high place in the church he is really down to earth).

Terrible Starbucks. But wait a second… Tax Evaders? Well technically they just have clever accountants, what they are doing is not illegal and in fact they have committed to paying more tax but they don’t legally have to. But what did boycotting really do?

  • It put low paid staff out of jobs (can you hear them saying “thanks for boycotting Starbucks, now I don’t have a job”)
  • it did the job of the UK Governments HMRC, they should have been the ones dealing with the tax not us
  • it told Starbucks that we think they should pay more tax, even though they are not legally required to do so

The problem is, in my view, boycotting Starbucks was the wrong way to do it, we should have gone after the Tax man (that makes a change, he’s normally after us!), we should have lobbied the government to take action to get in all the money large corporations legally use to avoid paying tax. In my view, boycotting Starbucks was simply fighting the wrong battle. Change needs to happen at the highest level. Then when we levy tax from the big corporations we GIVE IT TO THE LOWEST PAID in the form of tax credits.

What if we had lobbied Starbucks to give loads of money to charities? Wouldn’t that have been better? How much of our tax is wasted on needless bureaucracy, on expensive lunches or quangos writing huge reports no one is interested in?

Now to carry on beating up Starbucks I thought I would turn my attention to the Church of England. The Church of England is ofcourse a charity, that means that things we call profits in business are called surplus in charities, charities pay no tax (sorry Starbucks you should have set up as a charity). But wait. The church of England has  a massive property portfolio, they also have some huge investments which they make a tidy 65 million pounds from. But ofcourse this is not profit this is surplus. The legal structure is different.

So maybe if the Church of England want to wave the paying tax finger at Starbucks first they should pay tax themselves. “Ah”, you say, “But they don’t have to, they are  a charity”. To which I reply. Neither does Starbucks because they have a structure that ALLOWS them to legally not pay tax. Starbucks however have recently said they will pay more tax, even though they don’t legally have to.

Take the plank out of your own eye before you take the speck of wood out of someone else’s? If you want Starbucks to pay more tax than they are LEGALLY BOUND TO PAY, you have to do it first. If you want Starbucks to have Christian themed cups for Christmas, make sure every mug or cup in your home has a Christian theme. It’s basic Christianity. Don’t be a plank head.

Today, I saw someone post something about how it was better being Holy than Happy. So I asked the question, what do you think it means to be Holy? ofcourse people carry on going Amen often without a real understanding of what it means.

The time has come to stop saying “Amen” to things and start questioning those who post them. Be the one in the crowd who does not shout Crucify, but instead asks the question “What has he ACTUALLY done wrong, and am I doing exactly the same thing?”, “What do you mean by Holiness?”, “Why can’t I be happy and holy?”.

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