Not a great surprise in the Church of England of course:
Dr Williams said the Bible made clear it was the duty of the powerful to ensure ordinary people were “treasured and looked after”, particularly those without the resources to look after themselves.
“What about having a new law that made all Cabinet members and leaders of political parties, editors of national papers and the hundred most successful financiers in the UK spend a couple of hours every year serving dinners in a primary school on a council estate, or cleaning bathrooms in a residential home?” he suggested.
One of the things that rather marks out Christianity from certain other religions (yes, this is a very broad brush statement) is that what you do isn’t thought to be the most important thing.
Because the duty to serve would be compulsory, those involved would not be able to make political or personal capital from doing it, he added.
Why you do something is thought to be the important thing.
Take, for example, Jimmy Carter’s (much derided) statement that he had committed adultery in his heart. He had not acted upon the lust he felt for a woman not his wife, but he had lusted and imagined.
Similarly, take John Paul II’s comment (again, much derided) that a man can committ adultery with his own wife. If he has sex with her as if she is just meat, as a satiation for his lust, then this can be considered as adultery. Only if it is love, sexual love to be sure, making love to a person, is it not.
OK, slightly weird examples, I know, but they do illustrate the point that it’s what you think about something, the reasons that you do it, that make something a Christian act. Saving a child from drowning is of course an entirely respectable act. But it only becomes a praiseworthy Christian one if it is done to save the child, if done to impress onlookers then, while the act itself is still respectable, praiseworthy, the motivation leaves you open to the sin of pride.
Complicated business, but that latter shows that passing a law stating that the Prime Minister has to go and clean the vomit off Piccadilly Circus once a week would mean that the Prime Minister cleaning vomit off Piccadilly Circus was not a Christian act. For the motivation is that we’ll jail him if he doesn’t.
Odd that an Archbish doesn’t know this really…..