earth_mainYesterday the Archbishop of Canterbury delivered a lecture on climate change. Not for the first time did he speak in strong language and with a seriously prophetic edge about the world’s most pressing crisis.

I was scanning the response this evening after a full day of meetings and immediately before I go to bed and then disappear on holiday for a few days in the early hours of tomorrow morning. What I note about some responses is the remarkably easy way his critics elide from one issue into another (unrelated) issue and do so with a straight face.

rowan-williams2Take, for example, the following: The Archbishop of Canterbury critiques the issue of climate change and addresses the ethics involved. He is deemed by some to treat unjustly homosexuals in the Anglican Communion, being accused of ‘appeasement’ of those who call themselves ‘conservative’. Some ‘conservatives’ on sexual issues are also right-winger Americans who deny climate change. The fact that some people who agree with the Archbishop on one issue but disagree with him on another undermines his credibility in speaking powerfully about climate change. Then, for good measure, throw in the  added charge that his call for attention to be paid to minorities lacks credibility because one particular minority feels victimised by the way he is handling a wider issue and you’ve hit the jackpot.

Isn’t the silliness of these links obvious? To delegitimise what he says about climate change on the grounds that he pays attention to some people on a completely different issue itself lacks credibility – whatever position (so to speak) you take on the sexual stuff.

john_lennon_portraitI remember writing about my admiration for John Lennon. Unlike the Archbishop, he was a total hypocrite, but it didn’t stop him speaking out. Sadly, it also didn’t stop him writing nonsense like ‘Imagine no  possessions’ on an expensive grand piano in an expensive New York apartment; but hypocrisy in one area does not necessarily negate the truth of what is said in another.

Perhaps we ought to grow up a bit and learn not to make easy associations where they don’t exist. (And, in case it matters, I equally deplore the funding antics of those conservatives who are playing a dirty game ‘in the name of the Lord’. Trouble is, however, I also deplore the antics of single-issue campaigners who can only see one issue in everything.)

Now, I need my few days break…