The Corner

Rowan Williams

Clergymen should, generally, keep out of politics. They only embarrass themselves and annoy anyone with a shred of rationality about them. Here’s a prime example from England, where the Archbishop of Canterbury, an over-promoted parson who doesn’t need a red nose to turn himself into a clown, has apparently objected to ‘triumphalist’ references in a service in St. Paul’s to commemorate the Iraq war. While it is, obviously, wildly premature to celebrate the ‘end’ of a conflict that drags tragically on, some element of thanksgiving is, surely, appropriate for what has been achieved so far. We should honor victories in a war as well its conclusion.

What’s more (and, of course, it’s not an issue over here), the archbishop also misunderstands the function of a national church. We English are a skeptical lot; we don’t expect much from the ‘C of E’ (which we never attend) other than unintentional comedy, a vague homily or two, kindliness and a sense of national tradition. If Rowan Williams sees himself as a fiery preacher, that’s his right, but maybe he should take another look at the wilderness, a pulpit more congenial for such folly than the churches built and paid for by the efforts of generations of Britons.

Via Stephen Pollard’s vividly refurbished website.


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