Tuesday, April 24, 2007

ACNS: Archbishop of Canterbury - moral vision should be at the heart of politics
April 24, 2007

In his lecture this evening in Hull, birthplace of William Wilberforce, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, will urge politicians to rediscover the moral energy and vision which inspired Wilberforce; defend the right of the citizen to call the state to account for its actions; and ask whether we still believe in the notion of "a moral state".

If we do, he says, we cannot leave the state to decide for itself what is moral: "the modern state needs a robust independent tradition of moral perception with which to engage. Left to itself it cannot generate the self-critical energy that brings about change...for the sake of some positive human ideal."

Wilberforce believed "that a career in Parliament was a potentially virtuous and Christian calling…It was possible in political debate to appeal to a general sense that government was indeed answerable to more than considerations of profit and security...Take away that sense and it is a great deal harder to think about political life as a vocation...The more politics looks like a form of management rather than an engine of positive and morally desirable change, the more energy it will lose."
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