Comments: joint statement from archbishops on elections

I've just done a radio broadcast on this and found the interviewer, the other interviewee and the phoned in comments from the public all supportive of the line the archbishops have taken.

Posted by David Walker at Sunday, 24 May 2009 at 8:43am BST

Just who is advising ++Rowan Williams? I understand the sentiment, in fact, I pointed this out here a few weeks ago - the Telegraph is suspiciously utilizing the material for its own political ends seemingly (although that does not make the necessity to highlight what has been going on in Westminster less relevant or pressing, given in addition what we have also now understood about the 'editorial' process that was being applied to the material by Parliament before public consumption).

However, I also discern here and in the statement about 'humiliating' MPs a supreme condescension towards and an irrational fear of ordinary people and their sentiments. Sentamu has in the recent past tried the opposite political tactic of suggesting we should feel more naturally proud of being British, again as a way of forestalling support for the BNP.

I would suggest though that although support for the BNP will be a protest vote, what people may be seeking to do is find a voice within a political and social framework that has been dismissing and deriding them for a very long time indeed, rather than gleefully jumping on a seemingly legitimate bandwagon for their rampant xenophobia. What we have just witnessed in regard to the Gurkhas should give ++Williams pause for thought: if ordinary folk were so latently desirous of a racist or fascist state, such is the implication of the intervention, how would support for the Gurkhas been so decisive?

The conclusion in all this for me is either that a) ordinary people represent an easily manipulated 'Mob', easily provoked to meaningless anger, and to be discouraged at all costs, or b) the people are keen for a sense of justice to be displayed in all things, and will not be deceived.

++Williams has to decide in the main where his views come from in respect to the above positions in this. Unfortunately he and others come across as tending to the first position. This is very unfortunate and betrays a view of the ordinary people that is still framed by the rood screen.

Posted by orfanum at Sunday, 24 May 2009 at 9:08am BST

"There are those who would exploit the present situation to advance views that are the very opposite of the values of justice, compassion and human dignity rooted in our Christian heritage" - Advice from both of the Archbishops of York and Canterbury to all who have voting rights in the upcoming European Parliamentary Elections -

Do these words strike a cord within those of us in the Anglican Communion who long for the Leaders of the Church (and all its members) to act with these values of 'justice, compassion and
human dignity' in mind when dealing with women and the LGBT community in the Church?

This, make no mistake, is good stuff: very necessary and laudable - but not just as advice to the world (EEC) but also for the Church. This is what the Gospel is really all about - not one rule for the world and another for the Church. So lets all get behind our Primates and work towards the fulfilment of these important objectives.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 24 May 2009 at 12:26pm BST

Oh, dear. Sorry that I always seem to be so negative here. I loathe the BNP with every fibre of my being, and I've no doubt the Archbishops were entirely well intentioned in what they were doing. But giving the BNP free headlines 11 days before polling day is not smart. Does anyone in Lambeth Palace have any political nous?

Posted by Gerry Lynch at Sunday, 24 May 2009 at 7:52pm BST

If Dr John Sentamu had made this statement alone, people would have identified with him as a person and thought what their vote meant. That it has been made by both Archbishops, it becomes a statement of an institution, and these days institutions are not doing very well in the minds of the public. The Church of England is kept at arm's distance, and people dislike being told what to do. It is an institution telling people what to do with their vote, and allows the BNP to play victim and draw on individual freedom again, whereas Sentamu alone would have been an individual having his freedom affected.

The result, unfortunately, is yet more air time for the BNP and Nick Griffin and the danger of the self-fulfilling prophecy at a time when parliament is regarded as corrupt and the European Parliament is understood well less and regarded as little other than a gravy train.

Posted by Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) at Sunday, 24 May 2009 at 8:00pm BST

Trouble is David Walker ..a lot of people will vote BNP in secret. I think the BNP are going to eat into the Labour vote as much as UKIP did with the Conservatives.

It would seem RW and Sentamu have no qualms in voting for the other parties with equally obnoxious anti-christian policies. All for instance are pro-choice.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Sunday, 24 May 2009 at 9:36pm BST

"Does anyone in Lambeth Palace have any political nous?"

From this Yank's limited perspective, given what has come from Lambeth on other, church issues,I'd ask, why are you asking? It's like Lambeth and the ABC are just tone deaf to issues of justice and glbt folk.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Monday, 25 May 2009 at 5:08am BST

"It's like Lambeth and the ABC are just tone deaf to issues of justice and glbt folk."

Cyntia, I understand the frustration that lies behind this statement, I feel it too. But what do you say to our conservative brethren when they point out that liberals seem to be tone deaf to the very real threat that Christians experience in some places in the world? Regardless of what I think, for instance, of +Akinola, it is still true that Christians in some parts of Nigeria face violence from militant Islam. Same in other countries. And saying that Christians in those areas also take part in and even carry out acts of violence is no real answer. That is a sad fact of fallen human nature. Humans can be expected to behave in this fashion, out of fear and the hatred it breeds. In that sense, blaming the violence on one group or another makes no sense. But there is, at least to my ear, a significant liberal silence on this issue. I have even read liberals who deny that it takes place, who jump to the defense of Islam and imply, often not too subtly, that any such violence is the fault of Christians. It is laudable to acknowledge the role that Christians might play in such a situation, things are never black and white, and we get nowhere if we do not acknowledge our own complicity. But it is the rare liberal, in my experience, who does not downplay or deny altogether the real threat of violence Christians face in some parts of the world. Frankly, it is what calls down accusations of political correctness, which is nothing more than being "sensitive" to the things it is socially acceptable in some circles to be "sensitive" to, and either ignoring or actively opposing things that deserve just as much consideration, if not more, than the more socially acceptable issues.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 29 May 2009 at 2:12pm BST
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