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Should the Archbishop of Wales stay out of politics?

I was reading a letter in the Western Mail today about Dr Barry Morgan’s (Anglican Archbishop of Wales) involvement in the battle for more powers for the National Assembly for Wales. It seems that J Owen is concerned that Dr Morgan highly partisan involvement in the pressure group "Cymru Yfori" will compromise his leadership of the Church in Wales. It is quite clear from the letter where J Owen (of Port Talbot) stands on the issue of Welsh autonomy and independence. Does that invalidate his criticism of the Archbishop’s involvement? Here is Dr Morgan’s own reason for getting involved.


"Well, you might say we know all that but why should you as archbishop involve yourself in this debate, still less chair a group called Tomorrow’s Wales whose aim is to try and get the recommendations of the Richard Commission discussed more widely? Or put less politely as someone did recently in a letter, "Haven’t you got enough problems in your own church to solve and what has all this got to do with a religious leader?". The implication of that criticism is that the Christian faith has nothing to do with the issues of daily living but has to do with a relationship with God, separate from and abstracted from the problems of the world in which we live. In the past, those Christians who have spoken out against injustice, inequality and unfairness be that at home or abroad have been accused of getting involved in politics, whereas true religion has been seen as something personal and private involving only one’s own personal morals."


Fair enough and he is right and wrong. Of course Christians have every right to comment on issues of moral and ethical concern. For example where would civil rights be without Dr Martin Luther King or South Africa without Desmond Tutu and Trevor Huddleston. This however is not the same. There was very little reference to Dr King or Desmond Tutu’s religious offices. This is not the same thing. Whenever I read about him its always as "The Archbishop of Wales" this or that. Dr Morgan has every right to a point of view. What alarms me is that he will alienate members of the Church in Wales who may differ from him on the issue of devolution by his continuous use of his title and office to further what is just his private agenda.

I have found it odd that the Western Mail has not made a story of this. However I was told that Martin Shipton was a "paid employee of the the Church in Wales". Needless I took that with a pinch of salt! Or could it be??


March 16, 2009 Posted by | Dr Barry Morgan, Seperation of Church and State | 3 Comments