UK PM slams Archbishop over PC values…

The British PM impressively shows the way on Christian evangelism, reminding the Church of its mission and taking aim at the timidity of Christian leaders.

David Cameron last night called on the Archbishop of Canterbury to lead a return to the ‘moral code’ of the Bible.

In a highly personal speech about faith, the Prime Minister accused Dr Rowan Williams of failing to speak ‘to the whole nation’ when he criticised Government austerity policies and expressed sympathy with the summer rioters.

Mr Cameron declared Britain ‘a Christian country’ and said politicians and churchmen should not be afraid to say so.

He warned that a failure to ‘stand up and defend’ the values and morals taught by the Bible helped spark the riots and fuelled terrorism.

At Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford, where Dr Williams used to teach, Mr Cameron said the time has come for public figures to teach ‘right from wrong’, and questioned whether the Church of England has done enough to defend those values in the face of the ‘moral neutrality’ that pervades modern life.

And taking aim at the Archbishop, Mr Cameron tackled head-on his public criticisms of the Government over the last 12 months.

The speech was a bold Christmas gamble by Mr Cameron. In making a speech about religion, he did something that Tony Blair always longed to do but was talked out of by spin doctor Alastair Campbell, who flatly told him: ‘We don’t do God.’

The clash between the Government and Church is at its most acute since former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Robert Runcie clashed with Margaret Thatcher’s government in the 1980s.

The Prime Minister appeared emboldened by his opinion poll bounce since his decision to wield the veto during the Eurozone crisis summit in Brussels last week.

Admitting that he had ‘entered the lion’s den’ by addressing an audience of churchmen, Mr Cameron said: ‘I certainly don’t object to the Archbishop of Canterbury expressing his views on politics.

Challenged: The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, should take the lead in promoting Christian teachings, according to the Prime Minister

‘But just as it is legitimate for religious leaders to make political comments, he shouldn’t be surprised when I respond.

‘I believe the Church of England has a unique opportunity to help shape the future of our communities. But to do so it must keep on the agenda that speaks to the whole country.’

At an event to mark the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible, he said: ‘We are a Christian country and we should not be afraid to say so.

‘The Bible has helped to give Britain a set of values and morals which make Britain what it is today. Values and morals we should actively stand up and defend.

‘Whether you look at the riots last summer, the financial crash and the expenses scandal or the on-going terrorist threat from Islamist extremists around the world, one thing is clear, moral neutrality or passive tolerance just isn’t going to cut it any more.

David Cameron said it was ‘easier for people to practise other faiths when Britain had confidence in its Christian identity’

‘Put simply, for too long we have been unwilling to distinguish right from wrong. “Live and let live” has too often become “do what you please”.

‘Bad choices have too often been defended as just different lifestyles. To be confident in saying something is wrong is not a sign of weakness, it’s a strength.’

Mr Cameron’s demands for a ‘moral code’ were directed at human rights apologists and Left-wing politicians who recoil from promoting Britain’s Christian heritage.

But they also covered the hand-wringing pronouncements of many senior churchmen, who refuse to condemn lawbreaking by rioters and show unwillingness to take on militant Islam for fear of offending Muslims.

The PM said an ‘almost fearful, passive tolerance of religious extremism’ had let Islamic extremism grow unchallenged and called for the promotion of ‘Christian values’ saying it was ‘profoundly wrong’ to believe that promoting Christianity would ‘do down other faiths’.

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26 thoughts on “UK PM slams Archbishop over PC values…

  1. sounds great … but will have no real or lasting impact.

    The PM is one of those who will support Gay Marriages for example. At the very least, he will not oppose them. There was also a recent parliamentary debate on abortion and he did not support the reduction in time limit after which an abortion will not be allowed.

    So while the rhetoric sounds great, his recent voting record in parliament puts him firmly to the left of the Christian position on marriage and abortion.

    I see no sign that the UK is ‘Christian’ and is rapidly becoming ‘de-christianised’. So the PM, who I quite like as a leader, is merely responding to that fact. An appeal to his core vote and to the wider public.

    At least it is better than having Blair and Brown in charge … but that’s a political point. 😉


  2. All the same it stands in stark contrast to the Aussie PM’s atheism, although she has done the secular thing of personal non-commital, leaving the national decision making processes to her caucus, none of whom, apart from a handful of Labour Parliamentarians, were elected by the population.

    At least Cameron is saying Christians need to come out form hiding and be vocal, and help shape the narrative with God-given commentary, even if it rubs some sectors of the nation up the wrong way (for them).

    The point he is making isn’t necessarily reflecting his own views entirely, but reminding the Church of its mandate from God, instead of following the ‘moral neutrality’, or ‘passive tolerance’ of the politically correct weak-kneed post-modern secular left.

    It should encourage the Church to be heard as well as seen.

    Come out form beneath that bushel, folks!

  3. From the article, it sounds as though he’s concerned at the impact of Islamic extremist actions, and the reluctance of church leaders to condemn them. I wonder if he’s worried about the long term impact of Sharia law becoming acceptable? Maybe he feels that if Britain aligns itself more strongly with its traditional Christian faith – that being ‘the Church of England’ after all, it would be stronger in the face of the incursion of these other moral systems.

    Perhaps he needs to define the values and morals that he is talking about. It’s all very vague.

  4. It was as much a response to the London riots and ‘Occupy’ movement, which were supported by the CofE as valid movements, and not condemned as opportunists.

    The PC approach of he St Paul’s occupation led to the resignations of two well-resepcted, and well-meaning senior CofE ministers as they bowed to media resentment supportive of the occupiers. Incredible.

    The Tottenham riots were merely youth (and some not so young), many from not-so-poor families, having a great time securing their favourite designer clothes and products at the expense of the rest of the community, who were, for the large part, outraged at the wanton destruction of a struggling area. These were not the same issues as the sixties and eighties riots, which involved real racism and deprivation. This was the consumerist gang pillage of a community fed on welfare and hooked on their sense of entitlement.

    Yes, there is an issue with extremism, and needs to be addressed by the Church in a Christian nation more furtively and less fear of the consequences, not as an aggressive attack, but by declaring the gospel without compromise. The Archbishop is on record as supporting Sharia, but, then he is an honorary druid, so what do you expect?

  5. Does the Archbishop of Canterbury have more clout than the British PM? Granted Rowan Williams is a bit weird but would anyone listen to him anyway? I don’t even know many Anglicans who listen to what His Grace says. It’s the British PM who is in charge of national policy. He should grow some balls and look at issues like education, policy, migration.

    Notice of course that nothing was made of the CofEs help in supporting those who had houses and businesses destroyed. So the Church wasn’t silent.

    Sounds like some buck passing to me.

    Actually just read Rowan Williams article which triggered this response. I thought it was alright.

    Young people need love. They need a dependable background for their lives, emotionally and socially; a background that helps them take certain things for granted so that they know they don’t have to fight ceaselessly for recognition. We should be keeping a sharp eye on working practices that undermine this, and asking how law and society reinforce the right kinds of family stability by training in parenting skills as well as high quality out-of-school activity and care. We should be challenging an educational philosophy too absorbed in meeting targets to shape character. And we should look long and hard at the assumptions we breed into our children about acquisition and individual material profit.

  6. I haven’t read anywhere that says the C of E believed the London Riots were a ‘valid movement’.

    As for the ‘Occupy’ protests, the Church was caught between a rock and a hard place. Do they unleash the police and risk a violent confrontation on their doorstep? What message is that to the world? Also many in the Church supported some of the protestors ideals such as the excesses of free market capitalism and greater financial equality.

    The Cathedral Dean, the Rt Rev Graeme Knowles, said in a statement that he and colleagues had been under considerable strain and his position had become untenable.

    Reverend Giles Fraser, Chancellor of the cathedral, quit on Thursday because he opposed planned legal action against the camp that he said could result in violence being done in the name of the Church.

  7. The Church was stranded it is true, but they have long been caught between saying what they believe and not knowing what to say which will not offend.

    That is the point Cameron is making.

    Groups like Occupy will always take advantage of the Church when it knows it can get away with wedging it politically.

    The riots were not about the poor, but about the desire for consumer goods ad the lack of will to pay for them. The poor and disenfranchised need help, and need the Church to stand up for them. They also need to be given a way out of welfare, which is a trap no one should have be caught in.

    The UK Government needs to punish the financiers who gambled away the people’s funds, yes, but make sure there is the kind of investment an infrastructure in poor areas like North London which will build the community, which is aspirational on the whole but devoid of job opportunities, and develop an area which has long been seen as hopeless.

  8. I think the Chinese attitude to the west is very interesting …

    “they are dependent on welfare which makes them lazy with a sense of entitlement”

    It’s why America had a much stronger economic impetus than Europe. It also shows why Britain had a stronger economic base than the continent. (Apart from the Germans … who always do what their leader tells them)

    Fewer and fewer tax payers funding more and more benefit claimants. It cannot be right that fit and healthy men eat pizza and drink lager and watch the TV on the dole while others pay for them to sit there.

    We know of many cases where individuals do courses with no intention of learning anything so they can continue to claim “Job Seekers Allowance” while not looking for a job.

    A time is coming when the country says “enough” … and the Church will have to step in with soup kitchens and the like.

    Why am I paying taxes so that some sluggard can smoke 100 cigarettes a day and have 6 cans of lager before going out on the lash?

    Paul said “if a man will not work, then neither shall he eat”

  9. Churches warned about criticising Islam by British diplomat.

    Honestly, you’re damned if you do….

    I wonder if Cameron pulled this guy into line.

    The EU should tread warily when dealing with militant Islam and not be seen as supporting Christian minorities in the Muslim world, the deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy to the Holy See said last week. “We need to be very careful as to how the West, and the EU as part of the ‘western construct’, approaches the question of religions,” Justin Bedford told Vatican Radio on Jan 12.

    His remarks come in contrast to comments made by the Second Church Estates Commission to Parliament on Jan 18, who condemned the persecution of Christians in the Muslim world and denounced the killing of the Governor of the Punjab this month—murdered for his support for Pakistan’s oppressed Christian minority.

    Asked to comment on Pope Benedict XVI’s Jan 10 address to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Vatican, where the pope voiced his concerns over the persecution of Christians in many Muslim majority countries, Mr. Bedford said the speech showed the pope’s belief in “protecting religious freedom as a fundamental human right.”

    When questioned about what steps the EU might take to support or protect Christians in the Middle East, Mr. Bedford said “we need to be very careful as to how the West, and the EU as part of the ‘western construct’, approaches the question of religions.”

    If the “West took the concept of Christianity under its umbrella,” it could “provide a reason for extremists to continue to divide those societies…we would seek to avoid that, if possible,” he said.

    “If this question is discussed in the EU we would need to find an approach which did not divide societies, but sought to unite them and present solidarity between Christians and Muslims as they confront extremists.”

    Speaking in response to a question from the member for Gillingham and Rainham, Mr. Rehman Chishti (Cons.), as to “what representations the Church Commissioners have made in support of Christians in Pakistan?”, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Tony Baldry, said “It is a sad and terrible fact that Christian minorities who have lived peacefully in Muslim countries for generations are finding themselves subject to increasingly violent persecution.”

    “Churches have recently been attacked in Egypt, Iraq and Nigeria, and the assassination in Pakistan of Salmaan Taseer for defending a Christian woman who had been sentenced to death was particularly horrible,” Mr. Baldry said.

    Dr. Rowan Williams, Bishop Alexander Malik of Lahore and “the Christian community as a whole in Pakistan” were “working hard to foster inter-faith collaboration in Pakistan during this time of difficulty,” he said.

    The murder of Governor Taseer was a “tragedy for Pakistan,” whose people appeared to have forgotten the maxim of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, “the father of Pakistan, who said: ‘you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship’.”

    “What I suspect every Member of this House hopes for is that there shall be freedom of religion throughout the world,” Mr. Baldry said, “and I am sure that, as a Chamber, we will continue to campaign for that wherever we have the opportunity.”

  10. What should the C of E’s response to militant Islam be? It’s not about offending anyone. Let’s say bombs went off in your city, Steve. Would you come out and damn those evildoers? Like they’d care. Congrats for making you and your congregation a target. Or do you work with the only people who can control them. Other Muslims.

  11. And Williams also challenged the government and society in his Anglican way. What about values at school? What about values taught by parents? What about police and law resourcing?

    Of course Cameron wouldn’t like oblique crtiticism of his government.

  12. heres the thing … what would your response be?

    If you knew that your church would be a target next sunday … would you stay away?

    Would your Pastor cancel the service?

    If not, would you take your kids with you? Particularly if you had credible evidence that some extremist would fire-bomb your worship service?

    “don’t fear those who can kill your body … fear HIM who can throw body and soul into hell.”

    What do you do?

    What do I do?

  13. It reminds me of the old If your house was on fire what would you save chestnut we used to do at youth group. Most of the churchie kids would say “Bible”. Like you can’t replace a Bible for a couple of quid.

    I wouldn’t go. As a pastor I’d expect to make, at least, alternative arrangements. Something like this happened to us once. We were having an outdoor carol service many moons ago, as we were getting ready we got the word from police that a guy was in the park taking potshots with a gun. So we went back to the church and had our service there. Were we lacking faith or just using common sense?

    Also with Williams, his comments are not responsible for one church but for all C of E churches as well as churches in the Anglican Communion abroad.

  14. Bull, I think you need to take up your complaints with David Cameron, not Rowan Williams. I don’t think His Grace can do much about social security policy unless things work a bit differently over there.

  15. We had molotov cocktails thrown at our church for inviting a pro-life speaker during the abortion debate, and public outcry for having a team come to talk about militant Islam and its aims.

    Didn’t the Bible talk about persecution and suffering for the Church? Why ever would this happen if don’t rock someone’s boat?

    The gospel is an offence to many, according to Jesus.

  16. Inviting a team to come and talk to your local church is not the same as making public statements to the nation and rest of the world which could have ramifications for churches, schools and organisations around the globe especially when you have congregations in Islamic countries. And you have media which are all over you if you so much as fart differently.

  17. Just had a meeting with the Bishop of Bagdad! What a hero! Anglican with a church of 4,000. Bombed several times. Congregation members murdered for being baptised. And you’re afraid of Aussie or UK churches being targeted?

    The Church expands in persecution, or haven’t you read the Book of Acts?

  18. Anyway, I’m not advocating deliberately brazen attacks on other religions, and nor is Cameron. Just a stand for the truth as we know it to be from the Bible. Preaching the actual, life saving, soul winning, sin-defying, liberating gospel!

    But, yes, we do need to condemn godless, murderous atrocities, no matter which group they come from.

  19. Are we to go out and seek persecution then? Are you telling me that if you as pastor of Darwin were also responsible for churches in Pakistan that you would feel no reponsibility for those churches. You can sit in Australia and make statements against Islam knowing that it’s going to cause persecution but hey, they’ll live through it.

    Is that Andrew White? Interesting that he has done a lot of work reconciling Christianity and the two factions of Islam. I bet he doesn’t go around publicly condemning Islam.

    A bit like what Rowan Williams is doing in Pakistan.

  20. But, yes, we do need to condemn godless, murderous atrocities, no matter which group they come from.

    You mean like this.

    The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has spoken of his horror and grief following the explosions in London this morning.

    Speaking whilst on an interfaith visit to West Yorkshire, Dr Williams said:

    “The appalling events in London this morning have shocked us all. So I want first and foremost to extend my personal sympathy and condolences to everyone who is suffering and grieving at this time.

    “All those caught up in this tragedy – and that includes of course the emergency services whose selfless dedication and commitment is so vital at times like this – all are in my own prayers and in the prayers of a great many people.

    “As it happens I have spent this morning with Muslim colleagues and friends in West Yorkshire; and we were all as one in our condemnation of this evil and in our shared sense of care and compassion for those affected in whatever way.

    “Such solidarity and common purpose is vital for us all at this time of pain and sorrow and anger.

    “We in the faith communities will have to continue to stand and work together for the well being of our nation and for our shared understanding of the life that God calls us to. I hope that we shall all keep that vision alive at this deeply sad and testing time.”

  21. You’re a funny fish, Bones! I said ‘I’m not advocating deliberately brazen attacks on other religions’ to save you making the very remarks you just made!

    Are you advocating letting militants have their way with the rest of the world by remaining silent in case they attack another part of Christ? Then haven’t they already won if that is the case? They murder us and silence us in one fell swoop!

    It is a rather neat strategy, don’t you think? Quite devilish in its cunning.

    Andrew White supports the removal of Saddam. It opened the way for his ministry.

  22. Are you advocating letting militants have their way with the rest of the world by remaining silent in case they attack another part of Christ? Then haven’t they already won if that is the case? They murder us and silence us in one fell swoop!

    No but you need to be wise when you are a sheep mixing with wolves.

  23. Hi Bones, I do happen to know that David Cameron is the man who needs to address welfare dependancy in the UK not Rowan Williams.

    However, if Welfare spending was severely curtailed, then the Church would be the primary means of welfare for the destitute, like in the victorian era.

    and yes, I totally agree with the statement:
    “you need to be wise when you are a sheep mixing with wolves”

    particularly when you realise that my wife and her brothers converted to Christianity from islam. Moreover, they are well and truly born-again. Amazing testimony from one of my brothers … he had a vision of the risen Lord Jesus in his room which totally changed his personality!

    It takes the rest of us a much longer time for God to change our character.

    Anyway, it is significant that Jesus often gives visions of himself to muslims and they come to him out of that religion. They then risk being assassinated if they get baptised. They get baptised anyway.

    I am in awe of these men and women who run the risk of death for Jesus.

    Having said that, I think the Pastor that Bones mentioned who took the carol service back to his church was correct too. A nutter in the park would not be targeting them cos they were Christians after all.

    If a crazed loon was chucking molotov cocktails at random buildings near the church, I would stay home/make alternative arrangements.

    If an extremist group who hated Jesus was targeting churches and ours could be next, then that might be different, particularly if it was a campaign against Christians who would not renounce their faith.

    It’s a tough ask isn’t it? Being personally brave is one thing, risking your children another. I can only be thankful that Jesus hasn’t put me to the test yet.


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