Archbishop Welby on the BBC

It is not common for anyone involved in politics to say anything nice about the bishops. Left - wingers often see them as part of the establishment, while some conservatives are convinced, not always correctly, that many church leaders are soggy socialists, 

I once had occasion to point out to a colleague that when he had been decorated for pulling one of his men from a blazing tank under heavy enemy fire, he might be in a position to question the courage of someone who had. (The then Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, had been awarded the Military Cross while serving in the Scots Guards for doing precisely that.)

I do not always agree with the establishment of the Church of England or any other church - and that's not always because I am more (small c) conservative than they are either. Nevertheless, I thought that the present Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, gave a very good performance this evening in an online discussion/interview with a number of BBC journalists.

Archbishop Welby made some important points but what particularly impressed me, given the need for the church to be inclusive and appeal to all people, was the manner in which he responded when the journalists tried to lead him into making comments which would have been reported and seen as partisan point scoring. He responded by going back to the bible and reminder his interlocutors of  how Jesus responded when invited to condemn someone

He then gave a masterclass in how to avoid being drawn away from that position and into making the points which would have given the journalists the story they were looking for. He was of course, following in exactly the steps of the founder of the Christian church - Jesus had proved extremely adept at avoiding attempts to trick him into getting himself in trouble with dangerous questions like "is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar?" 

I thought it was Archbishop 3, hacks nil.


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