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Friday, 9 October 2009

Archbishop of Canterbury - one step too far?

Today there was a memorial service to commemorate the end of the Iraq war and also the 179 lives of those servicemen and women who lost their lives, at St. Paul's Cathedral in London.

Unfortunately the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams decided he would use this service and his sermon to criticise both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and the decision to go to war.

Now don't get me wrong, like thousands of Liberal Democrats and others in Britain I was against the war from the start, but I don't think Rowan Williams was right to politicise his sermon in this way and not given this was a memorial service. There is a time and place for everything, this was neither the time nor the place.

Most of his sermon was pitched exactly right, talking about the sacrifices our servicemen and women made, but he was wrong to voice his well known criticism of the war in Iraq at this service, he could have picked a better vehicle for it.

This service was attended by HM The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William, former heads of the Army Sir Mike Jackson and Sir Richard Dannatt, former defence secretary Geoff Hoon and current defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth and many families of the 179 servicemen and women who have tragically lost their lives in this war.

There are times the Church should butt out of politics and this was one. Rowan Williams has had some great speeches and articles published against the war on Iraq, I hope he continues to do so, but when we are remembering those who sacrificed so much for us, by giving their lives, let us treat their memories with respect on days such as this and leave the politics for another time.

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