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Rowan rules okay!

June 10, 2011

If you have read the British papers over the last few days you would be forgiven for thinking that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, had advocated the following of Marxist-Leninism policies and had sung the Communist Anthem whilst simultaneously putting two fingers up at the Houses of Parliament. The newspaper columnists in all but the left-wing press have been foaming at the mouth, with some Tory-minded Christians saying that Rowan has given Christians a bad name with his editorial. However, after such a commotion when you actually read what Rowan has written it’s almost a bit of an anti-climax: rather than the fire-breathing communist propaganda we were led to expect you find the Archbishop saying:

…it seems worth encouraging the present government to clarify what it is aiming for in two or three key areas – in the hope of sparking a livelier debate about where we are going – and perhaps even to discover what the left’s big idea currently is.

Rowan it seems has aimed to begin a discussion by raising a number of points over present policy. Firstly, he believes that the Coalition Governments has so far not done enough to communicate its ideas and this has led many people to be confused and afraid for the future. This has been exacerbated because, secondly, a number of the key policies which the government is aiming to bring about weren’t discussed at the last election because they weren’t in any of the parties’ manifestos and the debate isn’t being had now because the opposition doesn’t seem to be offering any credible alternatives and are failing to hold the government to account. This, Rowan argues, is compounded by a third concern that, whilst we can all agree that localism is good, we must ensure key services are provided across the country and not just hope and pray that some willing volunteers step into the void. If asking some fairly basic questions about how we ensure the spirit of our democratic values is upheld, and how we make sure that the vulnerable in our society are protected during a time of serious cost cutting, is enough to get the government worried then perhaps we are in a more serious situation than many of us thought.

It’s the Archbishop’s job, as a member of the Upper House, as a religious leader, as a citizen and, most importantly as a Christian to hold the government to account and to seek to love and to care for all those within our society, particularly those who are most vulnerable. The whole situation reminds me of what another Archbishop said:

‘When I give to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist.’

So, as a person who has consistently voted Tory and one who in general supports the Coalitions efforts, I welcome the Archbishop’s intervention at a time when the people who are meant to be doing the opposing are arguing amongst themselves. Let’s have a great debate about the future of our welfare state, about our schools and hospitals and the responsibilities of our citizens to engage with the community. Let’s have input from everyone, whether or not they are elected, and let’s leave off criticising those who dare to ask questions. Rowan rules okay!

You can read the Archbishops editorial here!

17 Comments leave one →
  1. June 11, 2011 7:43 am

    You’re spot on. Rowan did not criticise government policy, he criticised the development of and communication of government policy. Utterly different thing.

  2. June 11, 2011 11:36 am

    Great write up and leaves me wondering why more people can’t actually read what is written or hear what is being said but unfortunately they don’t, the nature of people generally means they hear and see only what they want to believe and then in cases like this the media blows everything out of proportion.

    • August 24, 2011 9:41 pm

      Thanks for popping in SJ and I completely agree with you! 🙂

  3. June 11, 2011 11:54 am

    It seems to me that the trouble was there was a game of “Pass the Bomb” going on with the UK at the time of the election. No party really wanted to take over from the previous government and be the unpoplar ones having to deal with the mess that was left. Therefor the current government are just mumbling under their breath about what they are needing to do, trying not to cause too much of a fuss.

    • August 24, 2011 9:40 pm

      Thanks for your comment Ed, much wisdom in your words!

  4. June 13, 2011 2:08 pm

    It sounds like to me, although I am the first to admit that I am totally ignorant about UK politics or specific issues, that one thing remains true. The press no longer reports the news. They report hype and if they cannot find something sensational or shocking enough, they create it. It is all about selling newspapers and getting TV ratings. At least there are some of you there, that still think rather than react!

    Great Post Mike

    • June 13, 2011 4:53 pm

      Thanks Duke, you’re right the media are the problem having to fill 24 hours of ‘news’ and either not real understanding the issue (happens a lot re Christian stuff) or simply turning something ordinary into news worth requires taking bits out of context etc. I’m sure its the same in the US 🙂

  5. June 13, 2011 6:31 pm

    Living in the North East of England with my political convictions i’ll avoid talking politics for my safety. From my military background, i would say that the British Media do seem very able at blowing most things out of proportion, sailing very close to the wind,, may i say bending the truth. Thats one of the reasons i love everything blogging, where often the discepancies of our media are layed bare by bloggers like you.

    • June 13, 2011 8:20 pm

      Thanks Larry, glad you enjoyed the post. I always find it helpful to as far as possible get things ‘straight from the horses mouth’ so to speak. Rowan is so frequently misunderstood by the media and his comments taken out of context you begin to wonder whether journalists have it in for him or whether the media people at Lambeth Palace know what they are doing. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. June 14, 2011 11:17 am

    Mike, it’s sad how government and media can turn words around to meet their agenda. If people would take half the time they spend being negative and put it into positive actions, our world would be a much better place, don’t you think?

    • June 14, 2011 11:47 am

      Mary, it would certainly make a big difference if people worked constructively rather than negatively but I think that is generally a human problem wouldn’t you say. The media do their job the way they do because it makes us more likely to watch, and politicians respond to the way the media work as the media are the politicians link to the world.

      • June 14, 2011 3:40 pm

        So absolutely correct Mike. I just wish the media and politicians wouldn’t make things so difficult. It seems that the important things to the people go hardly noticed and other things that may not be of much importance at the time but gets all the attention. Sometimes, I believe it is just a distraction to take our attention off of what is really important 🙂

  7. June 14, 2011 6:27 pm

    Mike and Natalie, Just a note to let you know I’ll be deactivating my FB account. I need to lighten my cyber-load since I have a quilting business I’m working on, a monthly quilting update to write for a women’s ezine, two blogs to maintain, three to do SEO for, a forum to help administer and by the end of the month I’ll have another book from an up-and-coming author to proofread.

    Yikes, I got tired just writing about it! LOL! However, I’ll still be crawling the blogs…see you out here! I’m posting as a blog comment because you won’t see the original comment in the FB group! 😀

    Boy, Duke’s bang on about the press reporting hype and not news……

    • June 16, 2011 8:26 pm

      Thanks Laura, and sorry that you are so busy and hope that you manage to get control back of your many tasks. Looking forward to following you on your blog and Twitter 🙂

  8. December 22, 2011 6:11 pm

    Thanks for such a helpful summary of William’s editorial. He has such a big brain, is so polite and writes so allusively and suggestively that I often have difficulty following exactly what he’s driving at. I’m sure encouraging a serious, thoughtful ideological debate is helpful though I suspect that what will emerge is that pragmatism is now the only show in town. Right and wrong, truth and goodness have died (so it is thought) with their Maker. Coming back to Rowan, I totally agree that as member of the Lords, citizen and disciple he should be involved and speaking up for those with no voice and should be applauded. It’ll be interesting to hear his Christmas address. Let’s pray that he makes the most of the opportunity to speak to millions of people and makes the focus of his message the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    • December 22, 2011 6:15 pm

      Thanks Andy for your really helpful comment! You’re right that we need to pray for Rowan, he does a good job of thinking about how Christian theology should work on concrete worldly issues but unfortunately doesn’t always show why its connected to the Gospel, and when often leaves most of the population behind with his complicated phrases!

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