The Tories want a sock-puppet bishop

In February, the Bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines, noted that “it was unequivocally true that the Russian Orthodox Church had encouraged Putin in his campaign …[and that there was] … collusion and corruption between the Russian government and the Russian Orthodox Church.”

Patriarch Kirill, a former KGB agent, has described Putin’s reign (and I use the word advisedly) as a “miracle“.

Regrettably, the current Brexiter British government give every impression that they too would prefer to have senior clergy with all the agency of ventriloquist’s dummies:

The British government is currently finalising a deal with Rwanda, whereby immigarnts to Britain will be shipped off to Rwanda for “processing”. The Brexiter government freely admits that there are human rights abuses in Rwanda, but the relevant Minister is unperturbed by that:

The Archbishop of Canterbury has condemned the British government’s new deportation / offshore processing scheme, and he bas been roundly attacked by British government figures. Ben Bradley, the Tory MP for Mansfield, said that “commenting on government policy is not Justin Welby’s job”.

Obviously, I’m comfortable with politicians disagreeing with the Archbishop. No Western democracy should be a theocracy.

However, a balance needs to be struck.

I’m concerned by the obvious cancel culture now so evident in Tory party thinking: “commenting on government policy is not Justin Welby’s job”.

Why is it not part of the Archbishop’s job then?

This only makes sense if you consider that government policy is above ethics or morality. In a supposedly free country, the Archbishop surely can comment on whatever he likes, regardless of whose policy it is.

The idea that “government policy” should be above comment is worryingly autocratic.

Though it of course aligns very well with the Brexiter idea that no scrutiny or rules should apply to the Brexiter Executive and that they can do what they “jolly well like”, regardless of parliament, judges (aka “enemies of the people”) – or bishops.

Disagree with Welby, of course, as is your right in a democracy – but no democrat should be straying into censorship of opinions.

Within the law, Welby can say what he wants, as can the wittering Rees Mogg; and to assert otherwise is deeply troubling.

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