‘Bishop of Lincoln: tuition fees hike is against teaching of Jesus Christ’, read a recent headline in England’s Daily Telegraph. A subtantial increase in the cost of attending University, which until now has been heavily subsidised by the state, has caused much discussion in recent weeks (as well as protests and a small riot). The Bishop of Lincoln has a seat in the House of Lords, which must add its approval to that of the House of Commons before the bill raising the fees goes to the Queen for signature.

The bishop, John Saxbee, did not exactly say what the headline says, but he did bring Christ’s purposes into the debate. According to the official record, he said that the increase was ‘deeply troubling to those of us who see education as a key component in human flourishing; that life in all its fullness which Jesus came to bring.’ No other reference was made to Christian teaching in his speech.

It’s encouraging to see, in what we so often read is ‘secular’ Britain, a bishop who is not embarrassed to bring the name above all names into the debate, but I wonder if this passing reference is an appropriate application of John 10.10, and whether there are other passages that might also need to be applied before a ‘Christian position’ on the issue could be argued.

Advertisements