I am sorry to say that I am not terribly happy with the leader of the Anglican Communion. I prayed for him today at Church. He doesn't get the jihadi threat and his comments about welfare reform are wrong. Welfare in the UK needs urgent reform. Putting people back to work is an excellent idea.
I like Rowan Williams tremendously. He is an intelligent man who always does his audience the courtesy of addressing them intelligently. This habit often gets him into trouble, either because he is genuinely misunderstood or because his detractors affect to misunderstand him. But he has so far admirably refused to dumb down.
Still, I think he was unwise to criticise Iain Duncan Smith’s well-thought-out scheme to make the receipt of benefits contingent on a willingness to work. The border between Caesar’s realm and God’s is not always obviously demarcated, but there is a pretty clear difference between setting out a general principle – that we owe a duty to those who can’t find work – and telling elected politicians precisely how to realise that principle. If Dr Williams wants to pursue a different version of welfare reform, he is free to renounce his archiepiscopal office and seek election to the House of Commons.