Anglican Samizdat

May 24, 2009

Is Rowan Williams doing the BNP a favour?

Filed under: Anglican,Politics — David Jenkins @ 10:42 pm
Tags: , ,

Rowan Williams and John Sentamu are urging British voters to shun the BNP: by this time, everyone expects political peroration rather than spiritual insight from Anglican bishops, and this does not disappoint:

The Archbishop of Canterbury called on people to shun extremist parties and to use their vote positively in local and European elections on June 4. In an unprecedented intervention, Dr Rowan Williams joined forces with Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, and other religious leaders to condemn the “deeply disturbing” tactics of the BNP.

“Christians have been deeply disturbed by the conscious adoption by the BNP of the language of our faith when the effect of those policies is not to promote those values but to foster fear and division within communities, especially between people of different faiths or racial background.”

In a sense Rowan Williams is getting a taste of his own medicine: for decades liberal Anglican clergy have been twisting the language of orthodox Christianity to their own purposes. “What is the Spirit saying to the church” is one example of many; it is  uprooted from a biblical context (Rev 2) and used to legitimise just about anything a group of wayward clerics wishes to perpetrate. Their use of it has nothing to do with the person of the Holy Spirit, nothing to do with God’s revelation of himself and nothing to do with Christianity. So, deeply disturbed Rowan, welcome to the world of frustration of orthodox Anglicans.

The Telegraph astutely notes that the political meanderings of liberal clergy are liable to drive more people into the arms of the BNP; after Rowan’s sharia law debacle, one can only assume that the BNP is secretly paying him to come up with this stuff.

Even though Dr Williams and Dr Sentamu are not politicians, like most leading churchmen they have supported the liberal consensus on Europe, immigration and national identity, so there is a risk that their appeal may make matters worse. The sort of voters who take advice from well-meaning prelates are not the sort who would be tempted to vote BNP. Those most irritated by the pronouncements of church leaders, on the other hand, may be persuaded to do just the opposite of what the Primates suggest.



  1. It’s the Telegraph, not the Guardian, that makes the above astute observations. And Dr Sentamu is Primate of England, as opposed to Primate of All England, so why the [sic]?

    Comment by Damian Thompson — May 25, 2009 @ 7:18 am

  2. Right – corrected.

    Comment by David — May 25, 2009 @ 7:54 am

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