I feel a bit sorry for Justin Welby. For those of you who are not aware of Justin Welby and his recent, catastrophic, lack of fact checking, let me fill you in. Justin Welby is the Archbishop of Canterbury, who declared his intent to turn the Church of England into a pseudo pay day loans company and run Wonga (a very prolific pay day lender) out of business, just like that.
You can see why they did it. The Church has a large amount of resources at its disposal (nuns don’t take that much looking after – having lived with them for 6 months, I can testify to that), and it probably wouldn’t bankrupt as many people as the ‘traditional’ pay day lenders do – mainly because they wouldn’t be charging house-shaped interest. There is something slightly morally dubious about pay day loans companies. They have a certain demographic of people that they target, and these people are often drunk or under 5, as the news is very fond of pointing out.
Furthermore, no one really sees the Church of England as a viable business, our ideas of what the Church can do largely revolves around drafty services and trying not to sip too much communion wine, because people get ideas about you if you do that. But the idea of ethical lending is a very positive one, and one that many agree should be implemented more since pay day loans companies appear to be having none of that.
The problem with what Welby did was that he got all ballsy, but should he have considered the fact that the Church might be investing in companies like Wonga? He threatened to take Wonga out of business. He didn’t state that he was going to offer ethical lending to people in need, which might have been the sensible thing to do. He went out there and said “I am going to take you out” – like Terminator for Christians. What he didn’t realise, of course, was that there was a large portion of the Churches’ money which was being invested into Wonga – however indirectly.
This proves that whilst the Church may not be, the man is definitely fallible. The Church is a business, it may operate largely on a charitable basis, but it is a business nonetheless. In business, especially when in a media facing industry, it is vital to check any and all of your facts before you go to them and say “Look at me doing something very clever and unexpected”. Just a thought.