Canterbury reaches a new low
One of the hardest things in all this has been to keep insisting on the absolute moral imperative of combating bigotry and violence against gay people, and the need to secure appropriate civic and legal protection for couples who have chosen to share their lives. These are different matters from whether the Church has the freedom to bless same-sex unions.
One of the hardest things in all this is that Canterbury continues to pursue this line of reasoning with a supposedly straight face. At minimum this line of reasoning presupposes that God works only through the Church and that this work is somehow sanitized from the rest of the world. The corollary of course is that God does not do anything moral or just apart from what he does through the Church as interpreted by those arrogating to themselves the authority to state conclusively the nature of God's work inside and outside the Church. In essence, the Church is far above morally where any society apart from the Church, may be.
As archbishop Rowan Williams may or may not hold such beliefs; he may consider himself compelled to stake out such positions.
This distinction is irrelevant. Either intent still bears false witness against reason and common sense. He also rejects not only the morality of society outside his Church but appears to claim that such morality is always independent of and inferior to, the morality of his Church, and even perhaps of God. This belies not only the Scriptural record of God's work prior to the existence of the Church but the reality of God's work before us that we can discern conclusively with our very own eyes.
In the end what people see is not a clergyman defending the right of the Church to be independent from the state, which in the United Kingdom at any rate, is not the case. The very issue of whether and how much longer the Church of England may continue to discriminate against its own clergy when the civil law protects them, is an open question.
What we see is a clergyman not only arguing that his Church is free to ignore the human rights of its people when they come within its purview, but a clergyman actively defending this freedom to discriminate.
That it is the Archbishop of Canterbury may not be enough to convince the House of Commons or the Prime Minister, if recent history is any guide.
But it is enough to signal that Canterbury has hit a new low.