Common Roots: Ancient Evangelical Future Conference

Glory, glory, hallelujah! Welby’s Euromania is marching on

Jules Gomes is not pleased by Justin Welby’s forray into party politics

Imagine Benjamin Disraeli as the architect of Brexit. Imagine this British statesman who served twice as Prime Minister leading us out of the European Union, as Moses led the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt, or as Ezra led the Jews out of captivity in Babylon. Imagine Disraeli adapting his extraordinarily elegant putdown of rival William Gladstone in describing Justin Welby’s latest unqualified canonisation of the grotesque oligarchy called the European Union.

‘The Archbishop of Canterbury is an unsophisticated master of the monotonous ministerial monologue, inebriated with the exuberance of his own verbosity, and gifted with an egotistical imagination that can at all times command an interminable and inconsistent series of arguments to malign Brexit and to glorify the European Union.’

Giving Welby’s penchant for repeating the same error seventy times seven like a needle stuck in a cracked record, Disraeli would surely go an extra mile and pay Welby the crowning compliment of his career:‘Mr Welby is distinguished for ignorance; for he has only one idea, and that is wrong.’

To his credit, the noble Disraeli would retreat from this battle of wits recognising that Archbishop Justin is most often unarmed, especially when he is on a podium and is a victim of the microphone stuck like a fishbone down his throat.

Welby is governed not by logic or scripture but by delusions of utopia. Not surprisingly, columnists have reacted to his recent rhetorical ejaculation heralding the invention of the EU as ‘the greatest dream realised for human beings since the fall of the Roman Empire’ with a whirlwind of contempt.

Delingpole asks if Welby is ‘just very, very thick’ but graciously exonerates Welby from being declared Eton’s Dunce of the Decade and mercifully diagnoses Welby as ‘driven mad by Brexit Derangement Syndrome’. Ashenden trenchantly concludes, ‘It was a terrible error of judgment for Justin Welby to publicly embrace EU utopianism’.

Why does the worldwide head of 80 million Anglican – most of these are citizens of the Commonwealth, not Europe – feel compelled to sing ‘Gloria in Excelsis Europa’ in praise of a humanistic Leviathan that categorically says ‘We don’t do God’ in its founding documents? What drives Welby to eulogise an organisation puffed up with hubris of such Oedipal proportions that it refuses to tip its hat even nominally to the Judeo-Christian tradition that was responsible for Europe as a cultural entity in the first place?

One must be charitable to Welby and understand his limited ability to perform as public speaker, political analyst, theologian, biblical scholar or academic. Welby, like most bishops in the current regime, is a manager from the world of corporate globalism who specialises in the discourse of management-speak and sociobabble. He is the polar opposite of his predecessor, the highbrow Rowan Williams, whoseevery statement died the death of a hundred footnotes and a thousand qualifications. In contrast, Welby’s bombast knows no bounds and his spin-doctors calibrate the success of his oratorical paroxysms by column inches in the broadsheets and tabloids.

One must also be sympathetic to Welby’s role as Chaplain-in-Chief to the nation. When prophets of doom are soaring to the top of Amazon’s charts with titles like The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam and marking the meltdown of Europe, one can understand why Welby sees his role as a spiritual Mary Poppins providing a safe space for snowflakes and singing ballads cautioning us not to be gripped by ‘the fear of the Other’ because the European Union is simply supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Like Douglas Murray, Jeremiah, the grumpy old man of the Old Testament, was warning of the strange death of Judah. Like Welby, prophets like Hananiah were offering a band-aid solution to a problem that needed amputation. The God of Israel is not a nanny to any nation and hammers the false prophets who claim that the new world order that rejects this God has ‘brought peace, prosperity, compassion for the poor and weak, purpose for the aspirational and hope for all its people’ (in the naïvely optimistic words of Justin Welby).

God says to the false prophets: ‘They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.’ Welby, of course, would never see himself as a false prophet but a true postmodern prophet preaching the good news of diversity, inclusion and good disagreement – the EU’s core values – and this is why Welby unblushingly defends the EU as the greatest miracle since Pentecost.

But, again, besides diversity and inclusion, where is God in the EU? The Preamble to the Treaty on the European Union claims to be ‘Drawing inspiration from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe’ but is ashamed of specifying which ‘religious’ inheritance has influenced Europe because it wants to be inclusive.

Joseph Weiler, former President of the European University Institute in Florence and a Jew, writes scathingly of how the EU has excluded God: ‘When half the population of Europe lives under constitutions which make explicit references to God and Christianity, the exclusion of any such reference made a mockery of Europe’s motto “United in Diversity’”. Yes, so long as that diversity does not include God or Christianity. How many times does one have to reject the canard that exclusion of God from the symbology of the State and from the public square is not a neutral choice – it is a political choice for one worldview over another.’

So flaky are the values of this neo-imperial project that its anthem has no words. Instead, the EU restricts itself to the music of Beethoven’sOde to Joy – composed for Schiller’s text proclaiming a utopian vision of the human race becoming brothers. ‘In the universal language of music, this anthem expresses the European ideals of freedom, peace and solidarity,’ the EU website explains.

Freedom? Let’s consider freedom of the press. According to Reporters Without Borders’s Press Freedom Index, all but two European Union-member states have a lower press freedom score in 2016 than they did in 2013. Let’s consider freedom of speech. In 2016, the EU’s bureaucracy imposed a ‘code of conduct’ requiring the ‘removal of illegal hate speech in less than 24 hours’ from the Internet. Critics saythat the EU’s definition of ‘hate speech’ is ‘so vague that it could include virtually anything deemed politically incorrect by European authorities, including criticism of mass migration, Islam or even the European Union itself’.

The European Convention on Human Rights includes freedom of expression but unlike the First Amendment to the US Constitution it circumscribes this to ‘duties and responsibilities’ and subjects it to ‘such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society’.

The archetypal project that attempted to strip humanity of its freedom of speech and delimit it to ‘one language and the same words’ collapsed into confusion as the Tower of Babel. In its humanistic hubris its builders thought they could dethrone God by building ‘a city and a tower with its top in the heavens’. 

So how Disraeli would sum up the Archbishop’s utterly asinine address? Since Welby often goes jogging on the banks of the river Thames, nothing could be more apt than to apply Disraeli’s impish takedown of Gladstone to Justin Welby.

‘If Welby fell in the Thames, that would be a misfortune. But if someone fished him out again, that would be a calamity.’

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