Did Rowan-Williams go too far?
Andrew Reeves thinks that he did; I have to confess that I think for a clergyman, Williams has the admirable trait of actually seeming to think deeply about what he is saying which I think shows that in his selection the Church recognised that it’s dwindling social influence might best be solved by appointing somebody to high office who has some interesting and socially relevant things to say.
Generally speaking I am opposed to religious institutions of any kind having any kind of political power or sway so I can heartily agree with Andrew; there are times when the Church should butt out of politics and those times are 99.9% of the time. However, I wholly dispute Andrew’s contention that in some way this intervention was disrepctful or what Williams should have done was to trott out some comforting homilies in respect to the lives lost of British servicemen in Iraq. His remarks reflect the sentiments expressed by those families that have suffered loss which turned them against the war;
Tony Blair was branded a “war criminal” today by the father of a soldier killed in the Iraq war after a memorial service to honour the dead at which the Archbishop of Canterbury criticised “policy makers” for failing to consider the cost of the conflict.
Why? Well the simple reason is this; those lives will have been totally tossed-away for no useful purpose if no lessons are learned. Ditto, incidentally, the fatalities of those in Afghanistan; people say we should carry on out of respect but in doing so wholly miss the point; the point being that if we do not learn that we cannot arrogantly nation-build on a whim, we cannot support corrupt governments and expect them to magically rally populations etc, etc, then the same applies. The tragedy of these lost lives becomes that they are lost in vain and nobody learns the lesson of their loss. So, let the Archbishop speak out for while the Church has no place as an institution in politics that does not mean we can deny it’s representative the democractic right to have his voice heard; if we do we are again saying that these lives were lost in vain, in defence of a democracy that isn’t worth anything, let alone the sacrifice of somebodies life.