Thinking Anglicans

Conservatives defend Lord Carey

Updated Thursday noon

Olivia Rudgard reports in the Telegraph that ‘An attack on Lord Carey is an attack on us all’, say Church of England figures

A criminal case against Lord Carey would be an attack on us all, conservative Church of England figures have said.

In a letter to the Daily Telegraph, 10 signatories including the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, former bishop of Rochester, suggested that the former Archbishop of Canterbury was being targeted for his involvement in the Bishop Peter Ball case because of “what he represents of biblically faithful Christianity”.

The letter, also signed by Simon Rufus Isaacs, Marquess of Reading, who is a friend of Prince Charles, former bishop of Woolwich Colin Buchanan, and campaigner Andrea Williams of Christian Concern, says that similar high-profile cases have not resulted in prosecutions for misconduct in public office…

The same story is also reported at Christian Today. And Mark Woods has written this comment article there: Why conservative Christians should stop defending George Carey.

…The signatories to the letter – among them the Marquess of Reading, who chairs the Barnabas Fund, former bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali and Christian Concern chief executive Andrea Williams – represent a particular strain of conservative evangelicalism.

This kind of evangelicalism is fundamentally oppositional. It divides the world into those who hold the right beliefs and those who don’t. But doctrinal orthodoxy is not enough: it’s also a mindset that sees modern society as deeply opposed to the gospel, with culture and church locked not in dialogue but in conflict. Everything from gay marriage to judgments against Christians at employment tribunals – usually, when all the evidence is read, richly deserved – is seen as evidence of a ‘war on Christianity’…

The text of the letter is copied below the fold.

Richard Bartholomew has published a further analysis of the letter: Conservative Christians Denounce “Bizarre” Consultation Between CPS and Police on Lord Carey.

SIR – Operation Yewtree and its successor Operation Hydrant have investigated hundreds of cases of suspected misconduct in public office and have yet to bring a case to trial.
For example, no one has been charged with any offence in relation to the misdemeanours of Jimmy Savile. The cases against Lord Bramall, Leon Brittan, Edward Heath and Cliff Richard were all dropped. Why is Lord Carey being targeted at this time? Certain public leaders appear to be being attacked by insinuation without due process.
The notion that a criminal case could be brought against Lord Carey is so bizarre that we can only surmise that the object of the persistent pressure that brings these public attacks is not only Lord Carey but what he represents of biblically faithful Christianity. An attack on him is an attack on us all.

Marquess of Reading
Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali
Rt Rev Colin Buchanan
Canon Dr Vinay Samuel
Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life
Canon Dr Chris Sugden
Anglican Mainstream
Sarah Finch
Member, General Synod
Andrea Williams
Christian Concern
Canon Andrew Wingfield Digby
Mrs Valerie Nazir Ali
Rev Paul Perkin

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Nigel LLoyd
6 years ago

So an investigation of Lord Carey is an attack on Christian belief? I don’t get it. If he is to be investigated, it will not be because of his belief, but on the ground of a failure of safeguarding. The suggestion that his belief puts him beyond reproach is a sad example of the inherent failure to take safeguarding issues seriously. He might well be entirely innocent, but if there are any issues to answer, these need to be addressed, not covered up on the basis of what he believes. Sadly it seems that the signatories to this letter still… Read more »

Confused Sussex
Confused Sussex
6 years ago

This is clearly potty. If action is taken against Lord Carey then it will presumably be because of action or inaction he took whilst in office; not because of his theological position

6 years ago

It is utterly shocking that a group of extreme fundamentalists should regard their ridiculous creed as more worthy of defence than the victims of Peter Ball’s odious behaviour. Where is their condemnation of sexual abuse? These people bring further disgrace on an already besmirched Church of England.

6 years ago

Oh, it’s always alright if *conservatives* do it. Didn’t you know?

Judith Maltby
Judith Maltby
6 years ago

I wonder if the signers of this letter gave the slightest thought, the smallest of nano seconds, as to how it would be heard by survivors/victims of clerical abuse – Ball’s but more widely too. I had expected better from at least one of them.

Bill Broadhead
Bill Broadhead
6 years ago

This is just a variation on the protestations of the previous Bishop of Lewes, Wallace Benn, when he defended his negligent handling of the abuser Gordon Rideout – i.e. he couldn’t have possibly done it because he is ‘one of us.’ Having said that, it’s very easy for us to look back and apply today’s standards and insights to the culture of 25 years ago. It doesn’t make it any less wrong (and I am no fan of Carey); but given the Evangelical naivete surrounding sex and sexuality, Carey’s emphasis on forgiveness and rehabilitation was probably a case of doing… Read more »

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
6 years ago

I like Lord Carey and enjoyed working with him, on General Synod and once on the Crown Appointments Commission (CAC) in 2002. Every archbishop discharges his office in their own way, and he was no exception, but the notion that further inquiries by the police, CPS or any other body into the Peter Ball case are in some way motivated by what his supporters term his ‘biblically faithful Christianity’ is fanciful in the extreme, even if these agencies (who are acting independently) know what that means. The reality is, however, that there are aspects of the case that raise unanswered… Read more »

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