Rich 'should be forced to aid poor'
Rich and powerful people should be required by law to spend some time every year helping the poor and needy, the Archbishop of Canterbury suggested today.
Rowan Williams said a return to the medieval tradition when monarchs ritually washed the feet of the poor would serve to remind politicians and bankers what should be the purpose of their wealth and power.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4 Today programme's Thought for the Day slot, he said the Bible made clear it was the duty of the powerful to ensure ordinary people were "treasured and looked after" - especially those without the resources to look after themselves.
"What about having a new law that made all Cabinet members and leaders of political parties, editors of national papers and the hundred most successful financiers in the UK spend a couple of hours every year serving dinners in a primary school on a council estate, or cleaning bathrooms in a residential home?" he suggested.
Alternatively, he said, they could walk the town streets at night as street pastors "ready to pick up and absorb something of the chaos and human mess you will find there, especially among young people".
Because the duty to serve would be compulsory, those involved would not be able to claim credit for doing it, he added.
Dr Williams acknowledged that it might just be "a nice fantasy to mull over during the holiday weekend", but insisted that it could bring genuine benefits.
"It might do two things: reminding our leaders of what the needs really are at grassroots level so that those needs can never again just be remote statistics, and reminding the rest of us what politics and government are really for," he said.
- 2 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 3 School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
- 5 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
Amber Peat: Body found in search for missing 13-year-old who left house after argument with her parents
School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
Isis executes three gay men by dangling them from top of 100ft building and letting go
Alton Towers crash: Four guests seriously injured as Smiler ride carriages collide
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...
£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...