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Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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HomeCulture WarWoke bankers are the 21st century Pharisees

Woke bankers are the 21st century Pharisees

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THE debanking scandal is of particular interest to Christians in the front line of the culture wars, endeavouring to throw some Biblical light upon a society wholly given over to the anti-Christian religion of the cultural Marxist establishment. 

As far as Christians are concerned, the banks’ trying to act as moral arbiters is not a wholly new phenomenon. As long ago as 2005 the campaigning group Christian Voice had its account closed by the Co-operative Bank over the issue of that organisation upholding the Bible’s teaching on sexual orientation. 

Sadly in 2023, as we now all know, the attitude of the banks toward those embracing socially conservative opinions has become an urgent problem, impinging upon the whole issue of whether or not we live in a democratic society where free thinking is tolerated. 

Consider, for example, the recent case of the Rev Richard Fothergill, who had his account closed at the Yorkshire Building Society (YBS), because he expressed the opinion that it was not appropriate for YBS to promote transgender ideology as part of its public face. The vicar did so in answer to a survey which had invited his opinions!

Metro Bank has also jumped on to the anti-Christian bandwagon, having signed up to Stonewall’s Diversity Champions scheme. The bank recently refused to open an account for the organisation Our Duty, whose focus includes protecting children from irreversible gender transition. Does Metro Bank not want any Christian customers? 

The Core Issues Trust (CIT) is a Christian charity working to help those who wish to leave a homosexual lifestyle. In 2020 Barclays Bank closed CIT’s accounts following a determined social media campaign by LGBT activists. Thankfully, this decision was challenged in the courts and Barclays last month had to pay CIT over £20,000 in damages, which is a step in the right direction.  

NatWest and Lloyds Bank recently participated in the London Pride parade. The Lloyds Bank website tells us that ‘Pride isn’t a month in the calendar; it’s an all-year celebration of sexualities and identities’. The NatWest Group had a float in the parade decked out in corporate colours and emblazoned  with the words ‘Championing the Power of Pride’. They might just as well have sported a tagline which read, ‘But if you are Christians who believe the Bible, we want nothing to do with you.’ 

How has Britain reached such a state of affairs where politicians, banks, big business, the media and the educational system are so intolerant of anyone who fails to endorse the woke orthodoxy? It is ultimately a spiritual issue. The fundamental cause of this nightmare of enforced wokery is the national abandonment of the Christian faith. The word of God tells us that men by nature have minds blinded by Satan: ‘the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not’ (2 Corinthians 4:4). When people reject God and His way of salvation, in their human pride they substitute their own flawed attempts to define right and wrong. This is what the apostle Paul calls ‘going about to establish their own righteousness’ (Romans 10:3). 

What we are witnessing today is a rerun of the religion of the Pharisees, implacable enemies of our Lord’s public ministry. The defining characteristics of the Pharisees were an unquestioning pride in their own goodness and a desire to display this imagined goodness to all around them. In other words, there is nothing remotely new about the tedious virtue-signalling which we are now enduring from the banks, and indeed from most other major national institutions. The same kind of pharisaical behaviour is clearly described in the New Testament. Denouncing the Pharisees, the Lord Jesus Christ said, ‘All their works they do for to be seen of men’ (Matthew 23:5). 

Furthermore, attempts to shut down Christians from participating in normal economic activity is also clearly spoken of in the Bible. It was used in the 1st century AD by the Roman Emperor Nero against the disciples of Christ. Those who did not honour Nero as being divine, those who did not carry this ‘mark of the beast’ whereby they identified with the deification of the State and its leader, were excluded from the ability to engage in commercial life: ‘no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast’ (Revelation 13:17). 

In our own day, we see similar tendencies: the notion that the State (along with its experts) possesses all wisdom. The spirit of our age is essentially an anti-Christian spirit. Concerning the banks, we must support all legal and regulatory endeavours to rein in their appalling abuse of their roles, but the ultimate answer to the grave spiritual malaise, of which debanking is just one aspect, is to preach the gospel of salvation to as many as possible. This is the only way that society can be changed for the better. We are in this ghastly predicament of virtue-signalling wokery precisely because, as a nation, we have turned our backs on the one true faith of Jesus Christ. 

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Peter Simpson
Peter Simpson
Pastor Peter Simpson has been Minister of Penn Free Methodist Church in Buckinghamshire since 1990, and is a keen open air preacher. He is the author of a book on World War II entitled ‘When a Nation Prays’, which is currently available on Amazon.

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