*** DEBUG START ***
*** DEBUG END ***

Charities’ work must not be narrowly defined

by
02 October 2015

iStock

From Dr Andrew Purkis

Sir, — The Revd Dr Hugh Rayment-Pickard rightly argues that Christian love (charity) is bigger than compassion (Comment, 25 September). The same is true of charity as practised by relgious and secular charities registered with the Charity Commission.

There is a pervasive view that charity should be uncontentious and beyond political strife, bringing us all together. And, of course, it can often be so. Senior Conservative Ministers and members of the Charity Commission Board have drawn on such a view in aid, mixed with less exalted motives, in decrying campaigning by charities. There has been the injunction that charities should “stick to their knitting”, as if this should be practical and inoffensive.

They have questions to answer. Would they prefer the slave trade and slavery to remain in full swing? Would they wish little children to be working in factories and mines, or cruelty to children to remain tolerated behind untrammelled parental rights? Would they wish homosexuals to be jailed, as in the 1950s, or women to be politically inactive and bound to hearth and home? Would they be happy without protection of National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and Green Belts, and prefer no distinction between town and country? Would they wish animals to be tortured without public sanctions?

In the world as it is, belief in the possibility of a better world has to be carried into the political arena, argued for, and campaigned for. Determined contention has always been integral to how churches and secular charities have helped change the world around them.

The right of charities to pursue their objects by non-party political activity must be celebrated and robustly defended against those who have forgotten their history.

ANDREW PURKIS
38 Endlesham Road
London SW12 8JL

Letters to the editor

Letters for publication should be sent to letters@churchtimes.co.uk.

Letters should be exclusive to the Church Times, and include a full postal address. Your name and address will appear alongside your letter.

The Church Times Podcast

Interviews and news analysis from the Church Times team. Listen to this week’s episode online

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)