Saturday, 23 May 2009

In response to Rowan Cantuar

Far be it from me to be teaching theology to the Archbishop of Canterbury, but, my Lord, I think you're misguided.

When this country has been threatened in war, we've held the enemy from our gates with the blood of our young men. To preserve the whole, and when there's absolutely no alternative, a sacrifice of the part is required. Even in Iraq and Afghanistan, wars not of national defence but of political folly, we send young men into battle knowing that some of them - too many - will be killed and others hideously maimed.

The corruption of our Parliament by the political class is every bit as much a threat to our nation and democracy as the armies of a foreign invader. Our future, our security, our survival and our freedom depend on robust democratic institutions of men and women of integrity and a life long commitment to the national ideal. Our nation is of sixty millions. I would reluctantly sacrifice every one of the six hundred and forty six MPs now sitting to save the whole. Yes, even unto death, for even the deaths of those hundreds would be worth it to save the whole.

But we don't even demand the death of a single one of them. Not one will be maimed or wounded. Even as the coffins return from those foreign wars, corrupt MPs will be allowed to retire with fat pensions and gratuities. The Archbishop's complaint is that in the essential work of cleansing our democracy, in this war of Right and Justice, a few MPs may become a little stressed. Oh, OK then, Rowan; we'll live with a filthy stinking cesspit of ordure and corruption that will destroy the nation if left undrained, then. Don't be so bloody silly, man.

In my days we learnt
Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!
Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.
And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
But I don't suppose the modern C of E has much time for the Gospels.


Anonymous said...

well said!

Anonymous said...

I've attended a few lectures by Rowan Cantaur, read a few of his works on theological history and have a number of friend who've been in his tutorial groups over the years. When it comes to arguing about the origins of the Pelagian heresy or literary criticism of Augustine's Confessiones, Rowan is your man.

When you want someone to comment intelligently on the state of modern Britain and on contemporary politics, Rowan is so far out of his depth it isn't even funny.

He's a nice man, a humane man and a very clever man but he's also, basically, an extremely liberal and very sheltered academic who has never developed a full understanding of the realities of everyday life. His default setting is to sympathise with everyone, which unfortunately means that, more often than not, he rallies to the causes of wrongdoers rather than their victimes because he feels bad at the opprobrium the wrongdoers attract.

As I look over what I've written, I realise it's a description that's probably true of a great many Anglican clergy. Rowan Williams: absolutely charming man without a pragmatic bone or an ounce of leadership in his body and with an extremely tin ear for the public mood.