The Politics of The Church.
A Challenge to Jersey Christians
From Dr. Martin Luther King.
Before embarking on this blog, I feel I should offer at the outset some important contact details to those who may be affected by reading some of what is written below.
If you are calling from the United Kingdom please use this number:
0800 169 1173
If you are calling from anywhere else in the world, please use this number:
+44 (0)20 7825 7489
The States of Jersey historic child abuse enquiry team can also be reached at a specific number:
0800 735 7777
The States of Jersey Police can also be contacted via e-mail at:
Alternatively, you may contact me if you wish, in strict confidence, at the following e-mail address. This is secure and doesn’t use the States of Jersey system:
I accidentally happened to hear BBC radio Jersey – twice – today, and on each occasion what was being said caught my attention.
Yesterday and today, Jersey has been the location of an international anti-tax haven seminar and a series of protests against off-shore finance generally.
Jersey’s traditional politicians will not admit it, but the island’s economy has been utterly captured by finance industry related activity. Whatever one may think of the rights or wrongs of off-shore, the practical facts are that at least 80% – that’s probably a conservative estimate – of our GDP arises from the off-shore finance activities which Jersey hosts.
It is not difficult to see just how utterly dependent Jersey is on this single economic sector – as large parts of the remaining economic activity of the island – the accommodation industry, for example – are also dependent upon the wealth and spend of the finance sector.
The reality is, therefore, that our Glorious Leaders have placed us in total dependency upon an industry which has always been – sooner or later – doomed to extinction – as predicted by many commentators over the years.
Whilst many would argue that the demise of off-shore is long over-due and to be welcomed, whatever the rights or wrongs of that opinion – we, as a community, may well be faced with impending and imminent economic melt-down – with colossal resultant hardship for the people of Jersey.
So given the central importance of this issue to the future of the island, one might imagine that there would be meaningful debate on the subject; that bankers, accountants and Jersey Establishment Party politicians would want to meet and argue with their critics.
Little, if any, such engagement happened from those quarters. Frankly, not particularly surprising – given their omnipotence, the Jersey oligarchy’s response to any difficult challenge is simply to assert that black is white – and completely ignore any facts, argument or evidence placed before them.
So far – all pretty much established and obvious features of the situation Jersey finds itself in.
But the seminar and protests of yesterday and today have an interesting dimension, in that several of the key organisations involved are Christian charities. For example, Christian Aid.
I’m not personally religious, but I respect the views of those who are; I think about their various faiths and what they mean to the individual believers and to society more generally. I find religions philosophically and personally interesting.
In my, quite possibly mistaken, apprehension, I have always imagined Christians and the Church to, indeed, be on the side of the poor, the starving, the down-trodden and the vulnerable. And that certainly seems to be the outlook of those Christian NGOs presently campaigning in Jersey.
So, it was with interest – I can’t say ‘surprise’ anymore – that I listened to a Reverend on BBC Jersey radio this morning – a man actively involved in the Jersey branch of Christian Aid – pouring criticisms upon Christian Aid as a national organisation for their objection to tax-havens – and asserting that the local branch were now seriously considering breaking all relationship with Christian Aid UK, and instead look to another faith-based NGO with which to affiliate.
Well, I suppose we should wish them luck in their quest, because I can’t imagine any respectable Christian NGO being pro-tax-havens, so they might be looking for a long time.
But what was even more remarkable was the Reverend’s assertion that Christianity & the Church – were “not political”. A somewhat strange statement to come from a man who – by giving the interview, and speaking as he did, was himself engaging in politics.
Obviously a very substantial number of Christians around the world don’t share his view – or they wouldn’t be funding and supporting Christian NGOs in their political work to change national and international policies with the objective of bringing some succour and justice to the world’s poor and abused.
Again, I may be mistaken in this, but it seems to me that by striving to follow, and to promote the teachings of Christ, one would, unavoidably, be engaging in a de facto political act. You would be trying to change society from its shallow, materialistic, greedy and uncompassionate course, towards a more empathetic, caring, considerate society.
The personal is political.
But the words of the Reverend as broadcast this morning were not especially surprising to me.
I say this because – given my notion of what it means to be Christian, as described above – I long-ceased to be surprised at the yawning abyss between what prominent Jersey Christians do and say – their materialistic life-styles, political activity and affiliations, lack of empathy, and disregard for the poor and social justice on one hand – and the teachings and example of Christ on the other.
I expect it’s just my ignorance – some misunderstanding on my part – but when I observe churches besieged by BMW X5’s, Porsche Cayennes and Jaguars on Sundays – awaiting the return of their multi-millionaire bankers, accountants, lawyers and property speculators – following their weekly dose of smug sanctimony – I have to scratch my head and wonder what Jesus would have made of the spectacle?
The strong impression I get is that to be a prominent Christian in Jersey is to belong to what is more of a de facto Conservative political party and social club – than it is to be in a communion with fellow followers of Christ.
This is why I was not in the least surprised to hear on the radio this morning, the Reverend denouncing Christian Aid as an organisation – and telling the world that the Jersey branch was now considering splitting from it.
I get the same weary sense of resignation as I look around the States chamber at those members who imagine themselves to be Christians unconcernedly supporting policies which are short-termist, materialistic, frequently – and obviously – based upon a pack of lies, and very often antithetical to the good of the average person in Jersey.
And the attitude of the island’s Dean, who failed to support me when the establishment stopped me making a Christmas speech because I was expressing empathy for child abuse survivors. His attitude made all the more ironic, given his subsequent use of the same Biblical quotes that I hade been prevented from using, when he was addressing a service for victims of Haut de la Garenne.
Or another Reverend of Jersey’s Anglican Church – who wrote a letter to the Jersey Evening Post in which she wrongly asserted that children had not been institutionally abused in Les Chennes and Greenfields – that they hadn’t been psychologically and emotionally damaged by being kept in solitary confinement for weeks – or even months – at a stretch.
I did phone her and offer to meet, to show her evidence, and explain the findings of the Howard League which disproved her view – even to introduce her to a number of the young victims. She was completely disinterested. And I can’t say I was surprised – given that her letter was essentially little more than a Political hellfire & brimstone sermon in support of jailing children.
Just another example of the social conservatism one finds solidly predominant beneath the thin cloak of Christianity in Jersey.
I said that today two items had caught my attention on BBC Jersey. The morning news assault on Christian Aid by the Reverend was the first – the second was a brief exchange I heard at around 12.10 during the station’s public phone-in slot.
A caller was speaking in support of the denunciation of Christian Aid – and to support her case, she quoted the words of a deceased Jersey Reverend – and former Vice-Dean of the island – one Reverend Peter Manton.
The Reverend Peter Geoffrey Kevvit Manton.
Former rector of the Parish of St. John and former Senator.
Manton was described by the caller as “this charming man”. She went on to say that “he said he would never have anything to do with Christian Aid – because it was political”.
I am not in the least surprised that this particular specimen of a supposed “charming man” should have been hostile to the politics of Christian Aid.
I say this because I have learnt a great deal about Manton – and have written about him previously on this blog.
It speaks volumes that Manton should have been telling people he’d have nothing to do with Christian Aid – whilst engaging in the politics of being a closeted founding member of a neo-Nazi, anti-immigrant organisation.
The two relevant blog-postings which can be read in my archive are dated, 15th & 16th July, 2008.
I will re-produce here some of what I wrote in those postings – and more significantly, what some of my readers wrote in comments.
On the 15th July, I wrote this:
“Earlier today a reader posted the following comment, after some similar correspondence on my comments section:
‘Re the Anglican church!
I am only mentioning the Anglican Church, and in particular one `Vice Dean’ (who by the way was also a member of the States of Jersey elite), as I know for `fact’ that he raped and sexually assaulted Island children!
Similarly, I am now of the belief that he was part of a much wider paedophile ring!’
Yes – I know precisely what this commenter is referring to.
Would I be right in thinking it is the Reverend Peter Manton?
Sometime Vice-Dean of Jersey?
Then a Senator in the States of Jersey, the island’s parliament – who had to be ushered out of his seat early because of his attempts to take sexual advantage of a vulnerable alcoholic woman?
The Reverend Peter Manton – rapist of 13 year-old girls?
Yes – tragically – as others have remarked on this blog and elsewhere – even what is in the public domain so far is merely the tip of the iceberg.”
Given what many of my constituents had told me by this time, especially certain survivors, it was plain that a determined effort was being made by the church establishment to bury everything.
I went on to write this:
“Word has reached me of several Churchmen desperately trying to smear me to anyone who will listen; they dismiss me as some kind of communist, anarchist – and general trouble-maker – who no one should speak to or contact.
(Incidentally – a similar strategy is being used by many of Jersey’s lawyers. They too have an awful lot to hide – given their atrocious failures to properly represent victims over the decades.)”
The posting about Manton generated an even greater flow of information to me – including some well-evidenced reference to his political affiliations – the Church man who wouldn’t get involved in Christian Aid – because it was ‘political’ – yet had no such qualms about being a crypto-Nazi.
In the posting of the 16th July I wrote this:
“The Reverend Peter Geoffrey Kevvit Manton.
Nazi – as well as child rapist.
Some very useful references were suggested by commenters who have shed some light on the festering murk of the late Peter Manton – former Vice-Dean of Jersey’s Anglican Church – former Senator in the Jersey parliament – and child rapist.
I quote some of the facts we were referred to below.
The information is taken from the book ‘Encyclopaedia of British and Irish Political Organisations’, by Peter Barberis, John McHugh and Mike Tyldesley.
Entry number 681 is to be found on page 195. I reproduce it here.
‘WISE (Welsh Irish Scots English)
Dates: 1974 – present.
Founded in 1974 as an anti-immigration association with links to the National Front  and the Monday Club . WISE was led by Joan Mason, a former civil servant. Other members have included Lt. Col. Robert Gayre, of Gayre & Nig, Brigadier Hugh McIntyre and the Revd. P.G. K. Manton. [Emphasis added] It opposes black immigration, calls for the repatriation of settled blacks and seeks to ‘defend’ white culture against alien influence. Its rallies have been attended by Nazis, and in the early 1980’s, by Rightwing Conservative MP’s. Since 1984, bad publicity has caused a decline in membership.
References: A. Maolain 1987; Hill, 1988.'”
The two blog-postings I quote above attracted a significant number of comments – some of which I will quote here:
“Mr Searchlight said…
The Revd. Peter Geoffrey Kevvit Manton was Rector of St John between 1965-1985. He was sworn in as Vice-Dean in 1975.
Surely not the same Revd. P.G.K. Manton that kept other very dubious company as a member of Welsh Irish Scots English (WISE) in the 70s and 80s…
As if being linked to the Monday Club wasn’t bad enough. But the NF?”
The Peter Manton that I referred to was the rector of St John of Jersey in Jersey.
There is no confusion about who he is or the crimes he is guilty of!
Those of you who know the truth about this monster please, please either talk to the police or Stuart.
I was physically, not sexually, abused by the Brothers of De La Salle in the seventies. This has resulted in my anti-religion stance of today.”
I was also at De La Salle in 1960´s was also Physically abused by the brothers….and when I was interviewed by J. police concerning HDLG policeman wouldn’t pay any attention saying “that was the education system then” and wouldn’t listen to me…
I was also sexually abused as a Sea Cadet. Manton was sometimes there taking prayers….link there perhaps????…Question: Would I go again to the police and make a statement? No, I would not…Why not?? Too many wearing the same school tie maybe.”
Glad to see the connection between Manton and the Sea Cadets has surfaced – my husband, and ex cadet, has been asking since the first news reports of Haut de la Garenne were aired “when will the link with Manton be made.”
It is rare that individuals are able to abuse alone for prolonged periods of time: if those around are not joining in the abuse they are usually at least aware on some level, but in order not to be challenged and accused a figure like Manton would need the collusion of powerful people around, reasons why the average person suspecting his interest in and behaviour towards children would find themselves gagged.
Many of us had a reasonable idea of some of what was going on, many have friends who have had their complaints fall on deaf ears – we all need to have the mechanisms that collectively gagged us dissected.”
Can anyone tell us (me)..
How the investigation concerning “The Sea cadets” is still “Going on”? or is it ?
The words, carpet, brushed and under come to mind….
Now that Manton has been mentioned all we have to do, is find the connection to those who may be still sitting in big house…”
The plot thickens! I wonder who else amongst Jersey’s ever so distinguished government and residence will be exposed for what they really are?
Many, many years ago when aged about 14/15, a well known and convicted Jersey paedophile told me (as he and his sicko friends entrapped me), that he supplied children from HDLG and Jersey in general, to well known TV personalities!
The link between Jersey paedophilia and these `celebs’ was the Jersey `Opera House’!”
Those were just a few of the comments left on my blog. I also received a significant number of private communications directly to me.
Consider – what connects the three disparate subjects touched upon in this posting – child abuse, tax-havens and the stance of the Church; what do they have in common?
What unites these subjects is the marked reluctance – even complete failure in some cases – of those who profess to be the spiritual, ethical leaders of our community – and those who follow them – to honestly form a real understanding of the disconnect between what it is they profess as a faith, as a system of ethics – and the difficult reality of their politics, life-styles and actions.
Hopefully, the disgusting entity that was Manton is a rarity. I know the vast majority of Christians would not harm children.
But what of other actions – other impacts on people?
Did Jesus, I ask, preach that people should only pay token regard to the needs of others?
In my imperfect understanding of these things he did not. Instead, compassion was at the heart of what he did.
As I said – I’m not personally religious – but do think seriously about such questions as faith and ethics.
But, unfortunately, often – when observing Jersey Christians in action – I feel I have to cleanse myself by watching clips of Martin Luther King on YouTube – to remind myself what a real Christian does and says.
I’ll give a web address below to a short, yet powerful clip. (I did try to place a hyperlink, but couldn’t make it work.)
(post-script: readers have now placed a hyperlink to the clip in the comments section)
It is film of the final, prophetic, speech Martin Luther King made. He was murdered shortly after the meeting depicted. After his address, the clip shows some short scenes of the political struggles of the time – and concludes with Dr King saying these words – which seem so apposite a question to pose to Jersey Christians:
“One day we will have to stand before the God of history,
And we will talk in terms of things we’ve done.
It seems that I can hear the God of history saying:
‘That was not enough! That I was hungry
And ye fed me not’.”
Let me invite Jersey Christians – especially those that are, in truth, more Conservative than Christian – to go to this link and watch on YouTube the final speech made by Dr. King before his murder – watch till the end and consider his words.
Watch this man – and then tell me that Christianity and politics are two separate realms.