Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Sanctimonious twit and hypocrite

I used to regard Rowan Williams as a particularly irritating, whinnying, sactimonious twit whose half-baked opinions on matters he had no particular authority to pronounce upon, were given far too much coverage by the media. He was, however (I used to think) essentially harmless and perhaps even benign.

In the light of his intervention over the 'gay adoption' row I have revised that opinion. He is, indeed, a whinnying, sanctimonious twit. But he's also exposed himself as a hypocrite of the first water. Together with his C of E sidekick John Sentamu (Archbish of York), he has backed the Catholic campaign to deny gay couples equal rights with heterosexuals when it comes to adoption. Sentamu and Williams have written to Tony Blair:

"In legislating to protect and promote the rights of particular groups, the government is faced with the delicate but important challenge of not thereby creating the conditions within which others feel their rights have been ignored or sacrificed, or in which the dictates of personal conscience are put at risk.

"The rights of conscience cannot be made subject to legislation, however well meaning".

Has Williams - supposedly an erudite and thoughtful man - thought through the implications of that argument? If we are to allow exemptions to anti-discrimination legislation on grounds of "personal conscience", then the very basis and rationale of such legislation is fundamentally undermined. And who's "personal conscience" should be afforded such privilege? Just Christians? What about people who sincerely believe that the Race Relations Act is a threat to their belief in racial purity? Or others (myself included) who have a principled, philosophical objection to the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations? Do we all get exemption from the requirements of the law, if our consciences are sufficiently disturbed?

Unfortunately, Opus Dei supporter Ruth Kelly and her god-bothering boss Mr Blair, seem to be only too willing to appease the Catholic bigots and their C of E fellow-travellers, and are desperately trying to broker a compromise. That Kelly was ever let anywhere near gay rights legislation is a scandal and a disgrace.

Anyway, back to that craven hypocrite Williams: it turns out (according to today's Guardian), that he has a "longstanding friendship with a Welsh gay Anglican priest, the Rev Martin Reynolds, who with his partner has raised a boy with severe learning difficulties".

So where exactly does this preposterous man Williams stand on the issue, beyond claiming (quietly) that some of his best friends are gay adoptive parents?


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