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July 25, 2006

The moral weight of the Archbishop of Canterbury…. Rev'd Peter Mullen explains why Rowan Williams has no moral authority when speaking about Israel

Posted by Peter Mullen

Rev'd Peter Mullen - Rector of St Michael's, Cornhill & Chaplain to the Stock Exchange - takes issue with the Archbishop of Canterbury's pronouncements on Israel.

More than 2000 years ago when Israel was under threat, the Psalmist sang:

Let God arise and let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. Like as the smoke vanisheth, so shalt thou drive them away: and like as wax melteth at the fire etc.
Well, of course, we know that modern churchmen regard the Bible as a mess of fables and outdated attitudes quite unsuited to our refined sensibilities. But today Israel's very existence is being threatened. It is under attack on two fronts by Hamas and Hezbollah, proxies for Iran and Syria, who have declared many times that their aim is to see Israel wiped off the map.

Indeed these are not empty threats. Four times in the last fifty years, Israel's enemies have made war and tried to destroy the Jewish state. So what should be the response of civilised people everywhere to the Arab states' excessive and prolonged belligerence, their psychopathic hatred of Israel in which their shrill denunciations are turned into rocket attacks and suicide bombers?

To their credit Britain and the United States have said that there can be no solution, until the root cause of the conflict is recognised and dealt with: Syria and Iran must stop supplying Hamas and Hezbollah with weapons, training and money. The military arm of Hezbollah must disband – indeed there is already the UN resolution 1559 demanding this.

Concerning this terrible war the Archbishop of Canterbury gives us the benefit of his wisdom or, as the presenter of the PM Programme on the BBC said:

Dr Williams has put the weight of his moral authority behind the call for a cease fire.
How moral is this "moral authority"? How weighty is it? This is what the Archbishop actually said:
The major players in this at the moment who are not supporting a cease fire - our own government and the United States government - maybe have to reckon with a rising level of public despair and dismay at the spiral continuing. I hope very much that they will bring their influence towards a cease fire.
This is wrongheaded because it would result only in a prolonging of the fifty years war against Israel. Real moral philosophy, unlike the Williams sort, begins with a little motto: "Ought implies can". This means simply that morality must be based on the facts and not on some misty vision of what bien pensants like Williams would like the facts to be.

And the fact is that a cease fire would be the briefest of interludes. It would serve only to allow Hezbollah and Hamas to regroup to resume their murderous rocket attacks and suicide bombings on an exhausted Israel. And of course it would leave the pariah states of Syria and Iran smiling in victory.

Williams says that Israel's response to the attacks is "exacerbating tensions", by which he means to ally himself with the EU gang of opinion which says Israel's bombing and shelling of Lebanon is not proportional. In other words a nation fighting for its life might be allowed to make war, but only a bit.

"Ought implies can" again, and the fact is that Hezbollah has not assembled a pile of rockets and suicide bombers out in the open in a single pile, the more conveniently to be destroyed by the Israeli Air Force. The terrorists Hezbollah and Hamas claim that the Israelis are attacking school and apartment blocks and killing women and children. This is because the terrorists hide their weapons in schools and apartments and they recruit their suicide bombers from among women and children.

The weight of the Archbishop's moral authority? It has no weight, for its acceptance by Israel would certainly result in more and greater evil than what is going on now. If Israel stopped the bombing and withdrew its incursion into Lebanon, that would hand victory to the Hezbollah-Hamas-Syria-Iran axis of evil. And there would be only one end to this evil: the cataclysm that would be loosed on the world when, left to rejoice over their destruction of Israel, the Shi'ite demoniacs would quietly continue their manufacture of nuclear weapons.

Williams' moral weight is a vacuity. His advice - along with the advice of all those who say Israel should pull back - is actually immoral. I prefer the prayer of the Psalmist:

Let God arise and let his enemies be scattered.
Rev'd Dr Peter Mullen is Rector of St Michael's, Cornhill & Chaplain to the Stock Exchange.

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Rowan Williams is a fool - worse, he is a vain man who believes himself to be a clever man. He is also very ill-informed and evidently too lazy to inform himself properly. He should stop pronouncing on matters of which he knows nothing.

You'll get more sense out of Der Spiegel:,1518,428245,00.html

Posted by: Damian at July 25, 2006 11:04 AM

A cease fire would allow the Archbishop and his supporters to keep things from looking bad on their watch. They would be able to think of themselves as little Gandhis (ignoring, for the moment, that Gandhi was not what they imagine). This is obviously more important than the actual safety of human beings in the Middle East.

Posted by: Assistant Village Idiot at July 27, 2006 03:42 AM

The Rev'd Peter Mullen and the Archbishop are obviously very different in their politics. So on an issue where they ought to agree, why don't they come together and highlight the cause of persecuted Palestinian Christians?

Posted by: Robert H. Olley at July 28, 2006 01:02 PM
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