The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, told the TUC on Wednesday that “the Bible is political from one end to the other.”
The problem is that Welby is a poor politician.
Since then it has transpired that the Church of England is heavily invested in Amazon to the extent of £12bn; that Welby chairs the Church body that advises on the church’s investments; that some Church of England churches and cathedrals are publicising jobs with zero-hour contracts; that the Church of England Commissioners have distanced themselves from Welby’s opinion by saying that it is “more effective to be in the room with these companies seeking change as share holders than speaking from the sidelines”; and Amazon issued a statement saying that it pays all taxes required of it.
Unlike a good politician, Welby was caught short with a poor brief. Yet the whole blame cannot lie with his advisers because he has a personal duty to ascertain how he collects his data upon which he forms his opinions and, in particular, articulates and publicises them. This is a reflection upon himself.
On BBC Question Time last night, businessman Theo Paphitis blamed politicians for not making Amazon pay more tax, but Welby blames Amazon.
The question arises why anyone should respect his opinion if he does not know his brief, and people might begin to question his knowledge of the Bible that inspires his poor politics.
It is interesting that the story is not prominent on the BBC website and at the time of composition I could not find it by consultation nor by searching the BBC website.