Government treats believers as 'oddities', says Archbishop
Saturday 12 December 2009
The Archbishop of Canterbury has attacked the Government for treating religious believers as "oddities", it was revealed today.
Dr Rowan Williams said ministers were wrong to think that faiths were no longer relevant in modern Britain.
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, he criticised Labour for looking at religious faith as a "problem" rather than valuing the contribution it made to society.
He told the paper: "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. And, you know, in great swathes of the country that's how it is."
Asked if he believed political leaders should be more open about their religious beliefs, the Archbishop replied: "I don't think it would do any harm at all. I think 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 Archbishop went on to propose a new "supermarket ombudsman" to protect Britain's rural economy.
He also dismissed Pope Benedict XVI's invitation for disaffected Anglicans to cross over to Rome as "theologically rather eccentric".
His comments come after he urged the Diocese of Los Angeles to think very carefully about the potential impact before it confirms a lesbian as an assistant bishop.
Dr Williams said the election of the Rev Mary Glasspool raised "very serious questions" for the Anglican Communion.
He added that the decision to confirm or reject her appointment would have "very important implications".
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...