October 15, 2003


By changing a few key words, we can almost turn the Archbishop of Canterburyís vile speech into something sensible:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, yesterday urged Europe to recognise that Americans can "have serious moral goals".

He said that while warfare must always be condemned, it was wrong to assume its perpetrators were devoid of political rationality. "It is possible to use unspeakably wicked means to pursue an aim that is shared by those who would not dream of acting in the same way, an aim that is intelligible or desirable."

He said that in ignoring this, in its criticism of America, Europe "loses the power of self-criticism and becomes trapped in a self-referential morality."

Thatís looking a little better than the original, at least. Williams is a loser and a tool; he allows for a moral dimension to terrorism but denies that to those who respond to terrorism.

Posted by Tim Blair at October 15, 2003 06:06 PM

The best comment would be no comment.
The Archbishop of Canterbury does not live in the real world. Ignore him.

Posted by: Gadfly at October 15, 2003 at 06:21 PM

I've got serious moral goal too:
Help every Islmaic extremist to meet Allah ASAP.

Posted by: Bushy at October 15, 2003 at 06:30 PM

Yes, but Gadders is drawn to comment quand mÍme.

Posted by: Pod at October 15, 2003 at 06:30 PM

Williams may be a loser and a tool, but he
is not alone in hijacking the churches to run a personal political agenda.

This from today's Melbourne Age.

'We live in an increasingly totalitarian society ... they (the churches) are quietly forging alliances with other groups. ... On the Iraq war they have already been proven right ... one thinks of the warm reception (in Melbourne) for Rowan Williams ... groups are springing up everywhere to nurture poetry (and) religious dance ... the churches in other words have said their goodbyes to Christendom.'

Goodbye Christendom, hello religious dance and empathy with terrorism.

Posted by: ilibcc at October 15, 2003 at 06:48 PM

Hello Morris dancing!

Posted by: Pod at October 15, 2003 at 06:57 PM

Does anyone know how many children were killed on September 11 and October 12?

Posted by: gaz at October 15, 2003 at 06:59 PM

Pod posted " Yes, but Gadders is drawn to comment quand meme".



Posted by: Gadfly at October 15, 2003 at 08:20 PM

ABoC: "If a state or administration acts without due and visible attention to agreed international process, it acts in a way analogous to a private person. It purports to be judge of its own interest."

So America is totalitarian because it went to war on Iraq without the consent of China? Brilliant.

Posted by: random at October 15, 2003 at 08:44 PM

Williams is like the Ruler of the Queen's Navee:

He Polished up the handles so carefully
That now he is the Archbishop of Canterbury

Posted by: Tom at October 16, 2003 at 12:03 AM

You're all missing an important possible subtext. Williams is in emergency meeting today and tomorrow with the heads of the 38 world-wide units of the Anglican Communion -- the 'Primates.'

Roughly two-thirds of these primates (mostly from Africa, Asia, and Latin America) are prepared to expel the Episcopal Church (USA) from the Anglican Communion for having elected a bishop who is unrepentant about having committed adultery and who is now living in a sexual relationship outside of marriage.

The Primate of the Episcopal Church, Frank Griswold (a pitiable character in his own right) is a flaming Left-Over who made numerous questionable statements about the Iraq Campaign, and even said that he was embarrased to be an American.

Griswold was also a strong supporter of the bishop elect in question.

Until I see evidence to the contrary, I'll assume that Rowan William's pig-slobber was tossing a bone to his ideological soulmate in advance of siding with the traditionalist Primates at the Lambeth meeting.

Williams obviously believes this nonsense, but he's probably re-stating it now for internal church reasons.

Posted by: Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) at October 16, 2003 at 12:28 AM

Well, if the Archbishop would just replace the word "warfare" with the word "welfare" he would be right on target...



Posted by: Tyler G at October 16, 2003 at 12:52 AM

[America] purports to be judge of its own interest.

Is there no one else who is astonished that Williams finds it suspect that a country, or a person, should wish to decide where its/his interests lay? What else could he mean by that?

Posted by: Angie Schultz at October 16, 2003 at 12:53 AM

The prat is an insult to Chritians and Druids...yeesh what an arse!

Posted by: Andrew Ian Dodge at October 16, 2003 at 12:53 AM

Looking the way he does how can the Archbish not hold loopy leftish views. A shave and a jolly good haircut would set him on the right road, if I'm not mistaken. He's a victim, poor dear, after all.

Posted by: Mike Power at October 16, 2003 at 01:15 AM

Looking the way he does how can the Archbish not hold loopy leftish views. A shave and a jolly good haircut would set him on the right road, if I'm not mistaken. He's a victim, poor dear, after all.

Posted by: Mike Power at October 16, 2003 at 01:15 AM

I thought I would get up today, shower, shave, and go to work. Then I realized that in deciding to do these things I was purporting to be a judge of my own interest, and therefore I was not able to make a judgement objectively. So I stayed in bed and ate Froot Loops out of the box, waiting for the Archbishop of Canterbury or perhaps the People's Political Consultative Conference to tell me to get my ass out of bed.

Posted by: Mark from Monroe at October 16, 2003 at 01:37 AM

This vile logic is borne from the incorrect assumption that evil is necessarily and rationally reactive of still greater evil. May the Archbishop point me to the round table around which to discuss mutual liberties with those who aim to maximise civilian casualties. Otherwise, may he remember the bell also tolls for thee.

Posted by: Chris at October 16, 2003 at 02:27 AM

Michael Dukakis, presidential candidate for the Democrats in '84, once famously said, "The fish rots from the head first."

Posted by: Forrest Covington at October 16, 2003 at 03:39 AM

Hey Americans, just think: if you alter your constitution to allow you to have an established church, you too can officially be represented by a national church that says things like the Archbishop of Canterbury does, and you too can have church political issues like those Bart Hall pointed out. (Thanks, Bart.)

It's funny - Americans who want to suppress religion in public life seem to assume an established religion would be a fire-breathing menace. But it would probably just be an offensive, pathetic shambles, on the English model: well worth stopping before it starts, but for different reasons than those that the first amendment's writers might have had in mind.

Posted by: David Blue at October 16, 2003 at 03:44 AM

OOps!! My mistake. Dukakis ran in '88, Walter Mondale in '84.

Posted by: Forrest Covington at October 16, 2003 at 03:58 AM

I actually agree with Williams on his first comment. I have no doubt al-Qaeda are very serious in the belief that their goal to force every last human to convert to Islam under the threat of death is moral.

Posted by: Emily at October 16, 2003 at 04:24 AM

Williams is beyond parody. He sounds like Archbishop Spacely-Trellis from Michael Wharton's Peter Simple columns. As an atheist, I couldn't give a stuff if the entire C of E flies round in ever-decreasing circles (with the Rt Rev. Beardy Weirdy at the helm) until it disappears up its own arsehole.

Posted by: David Gillies at October 16, 2003 at 04:45 AM

"A new panel of legal experts should be introduced to advise where military intervention was necessary, rather than relying entirely on the UN Security Council, he said."

Now there's a brilliant idea. Knowing the UN's track record this panel would undoubtedly include "legal experts" from countries like France, Syria, Libya, and Russia-- all of whom could be counted on to objectively decide whether or not the United States was authorized to go to war.

The Archbishop lives in a Fool's Paradise.

Posted by: Randal Robinson at October 16, 2003 at 05:36 AM

As a "hawk", so-called, I wince whenever I read Williams encomiums.

As a Roman Catholic, however, I tend to smirk rather smugly to myself. How quickly, in broad historical terms, has that schism run out of ideological steam.

Posted by: rick mcginnis at October 16, 2003 at 10:10 AM

Eeeeeew! When did all these guys become leftists?

Posted by: S.A. Smith at October 16, 2003 at 10:28 AM

Surely the ends the terrorist seek are irrelevant to the moral question as to the evil or otherwise of their means. I should have thought it a fundamental Christian principle that ends never justify evil means.

It is true that unspeakably wicked means can be rational, but that is irrelevant to the validity of any criticism.

If bin Laden and the other terrorists just preached the need for us all to convert to Islam then they wouldn't get criticised, just as nobody seems to be criticising all the other muslims who push that view, of the Christians for that matter.

Posted by: Pedro at October 16, 2003 at 12:29 PM

Rick, don't discriminate between the Christian sects. For every Protestant froot loop there's a Catholic equivalent. Look at the Australian Catholic Church's gratuitous meddling in the issue of asylum seekers. These people are not even Catholics! If the Catholic Church spent more energy purging itself of paedophile priests, it might earn some respect.

What the world has to recognise is the overwhelming evil and destructiveness resulting from the prosletysing religions that came out of the Middle East. The differences in evil between Chritianity and Islam are ony minor gradations.

Posted by: Rob (No 1) at October 16, 2003 at 12:46 PM

I'm more qualified to be Archbishop of Canterbury than Rowan Williams - and I'm a Southern Baptist.

Posted by: Alan K. Henderson at October 16, 2003 at 03:11 PM

Lordy, Lordy! What inane prattle from such a Rowan-oid one...

NO ONE has suggested that 'hideous, immoral acts are NOT possible in pursuit of morally valuable goals...'

What I've heard is, 'hideous, immoral acts INVALIDATE and DEMEAN and OBVIATE the pursuit of morally valuable goals...'

Say, Archi, who'd you take thimking lessons from, Numb Chumpsky?

Posted by: Eye Opener at October 16, 2003 at 05:30 PM

When did the Church of England make Anglo self-loathing a sacrament? I'm an American Roman Catholic, so not up on these things.

After ranting about this article earlier, I feel better. In one (small) way I feel sorry for the bastard. All that education, great intentions, and his moral compass wouldn't let him find his rear end with both hands.

Posted by: David Sheridan at October 16, 2003 at 07:18 PM