The Archbishop of Canterbury is right – the Rwanda plan raises troubling ethical questions

Editorial: Other faith leaders, many of whom will understand the plight of refugees, should endorse the archbishop’s message in their own terms

Sunday 17 April 2022 21:30
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18 April 2022
18 April 2022

Given that the government has devoted little effort to the cost or long-term practicalities of the Rwanda plan, it seems unlikely indeed that either Priti Patel or Boris Johnson has spent much time dwelling on its spiritual dimension, and how it sits with the teachings of different faith traditions.

In short, to borrow a popular term from a few years ago, they’re not especially “bovvered” about what the archbishop of Canterbury, or almighty God for that matter, might think about their migration policy. The expensive, immoral and impractical scheme is aimed precisely at getting wavering Tories out to vote in the May elections, and hanging on to the Leave-leaning electoral base subsequently. Members of the Johnson administration fear the wrath of the red-wall voter more than that of any supernatural being, in this world or the next.

Justin Welby was right, however, to speak out, and to do so in theological rather than political terms. It is self-evident that the policy raises the sorts of “ethical questions” he mentions, and he is hardly alone in being troubled by them. The same goes for his plea to remember those who face cold homes and empty stomachs because of the cost of living crisis, and the plight of the Ukrainian people.

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