Around cyberspace these last few days, there seems to be a lot of blaming of the Archbishop of Canterbury for the content of his lecture entitled: Civil and Religious Law in England: a Religious Perspective.
The most reasonable criticism to my mind is one that says he ought to get more media-savvy and to feed the press his message in language the reporters and people can understand. Fair enough, that's probably a pragmatic statement.
Extending from this view, however, there seem to be a lot of people blaming the Archbishop and saying that it was 'his fault' that the media falsely reported his message. It's his fault, people are saying, because newspaper reporters don't understand theology and Rowan Williams is too intelligent for the common person to understand him. I have to confess that I find this astounding.
First of all, I think that reporters reporting on theology and religion have a responsibility to know something about the subject on which they are reporting. No newspaper would tolerate a business reporter who didn't understand basic economics and although I've seen a lot of bad reporting of financial news, I've yet to hear anyone baying for the resignation of the Governor of the Bank of England on the grounds that the 'person on the street' doesn't understand monetary policy.
Secondly, it really beggers belief that a society is baying that a national leader knows his subject too well and that he is too much of a careful thinker to be a good leader. People seem to be essentially saying that we don't want intellectually brilliant leaders who engage in complex thought but we want leaders who divide the world into simple categories of black and white and go after the 'bad guys'. Girardian theory at it's finest!