22 March 2011

Crow: Rowan Williams off the arseholes list

My thanks to Archbishop Cranmer for drawing my attention to this speech by the self-styled 'hairy lefty' Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, at King's College, London. Crow-eating time.

The man's an academic theologian - shouldn't have judged him on second-hand soundbites, they are not his thing. The speech contains much serious thought and so, as Cranmer says, the MSM has not and will not report it because even religious affairs journopukes lack the intellectual capacity to process it into something they can use.

The following seems pretty unequivocal and if the Boy Wonder can acquire some humility might help him sell his Big New Idea by recognizing, first, that there is nothing new about it at all, and, secondly, that wise politicians respect the barrier that separates their sphere of activity from those of private conscience and genuinely voluntary association:

I intend in this address to reflect a little on the implications of our current discussions around the 'Big Society'. My hope is to suggest ways in which it can be a vehicle for serious rethinking of our national and international priorities at a time when some of our conventional pictures of left and right in politics are under question. This certainly doesn't mean that we should see it as a sort of halfway house between different sets of principles. I believe that the possibilities are more radical than that, involving the development of a new set of principles – or perhaps, as I shall also be suggesting, not so new after all. A politics, national and international, of local co-operation and 'mutualism', rooted in a sense of political virtue and appealing to human empathy – this is, as far as I can see, a large part of what my religious faith has always looked towards. That faith will be shared by some but not all in this audience; I hope that what I say will have some resonance with those who do not begin where I begin, and may even suggest that there is some significant intellectual and moral capital to be discovered in the world of theology as we seek for ways forward for a society currently facing the likelihood of pretty high levels of anxiety and disorientation.

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