This one by George Pitcher in case you missed it yesterday.
On the one hand, there is the bit about Uganda:
Andrew Brown Rowan denounces Ugandan law
There is a passage a long way down in the Daily Telegraph’s interview with Rowan Williams which deserves celebration and quotation:
“Overall, the proposed legislation is of shocking severity and I can’t see how it could be supported by any Anglican who is committed to what the Communion has said in recent decades,” says Dr Williams. “Apart from invoking the death penalty, it makes pastoral care impossible – it seeks to turn pastors into informers.” He adds that the Anglican Church in Uganda opposes the death penalty but, tellingly, he notes that its archbishop, Henry Orombi, who boycotted the Lambeth Conference last year, “has not taken a position on this bill”.
On the other hand, there is the bit about politics:
What would he like to see from politicians in the coming general election year? He responds that we “curiously have three party leaders, all of whom have a very strong moral sense of some spiritual flavour”. David Cameron may have conceded that the Church of England is in his DNA, but Gordon Brown is a son of the manse who is notoriously secretive about his faith or lack of it, and Nick Clegg has declared his atheism. “But he takes it seriously,” replies Dr Williams. “And with all of them I think if you can get them off the record or off the platform, these convictions will come through quite strongly.”
Is the problem “we don’t do God” spin doctors? “I think it’s important for politicians not to be too protected, to be able to establish their human credentials in front of a living audience.” So our leaders need to be more open about their faith? “I don’t think it would do any harm at all. Part of establishing their human credentials is saying ‘This is where my motivation comes from … I’m in politics because this is what I believe.’ And that includes religious conviction.
“The trouble with a lot of government initiatives about faith is that they assume it is a problem, it’s an eccentricity, it’s practised by oddities, foreigners and minorities. The effect is to de-normalise faith, to intensify the perception that faith is not part of our bloodstream.”
Theo Hobson What’s Williams whinging about?
Ok, Williams is right that there is a widespread perception that religion is “a bit fishy”, but I don’t see how the government can be blamed for this. MPs who raise secularist concerns are only echoing a major sector of public opinion, and I haven’t noticed many senior ministers denouncing religion. He is fuelling a crass culture war by complaining that poor Christians are persecuted by nasty secularists. If religion is now widely mistrusted maybe he should ignore the speck in the government’s eye and consider the beam in his own.
Bishop Nick Baines has more about the interview here.