Archive speeches: Rowan Williams on Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill

“what will we be heard to be saying about the worthwhileness of life under certain conditions? Do we, by legally accommodating the mental suffering of some, debase the currency for all? These are not trivial considerations; nor are they parochially religious ones.” – Rowan Williams, 12/5/06

On 12th May 2006 the House of Lords debated a Private Members’ Bill from Lord Joffe: the ‘Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill’. The then Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, was one of three Lords Spiritual who spoke against, in a debate that lasted over seven hours and featured 90 speakers.

The Bill would have allowed a doctor to prescribe medication upon request from a terminally ill patient with capacity, so that by means of self-administration, that patient could end his or her life.

Following the debate a vote took place on whether to allow the Bill to proceed any further. Peers voted to not allow it to proceed by 148 to 100. 14 Lords Spiritual joined those voting against the Bill.

A transcript of the Archbishop’s speech follows:

The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, opposition to the principle of this Bill iPicture (Metafile) 1s not confined to people of religious conviction—as we have been reminded by the noble, monotheistic and utilitarian Lord, Lord Carlile—and it would be a lazy counter-argument to suggest that such opposition can be written off because it comes only from those committed to a world view not universally shared. It is worth remembering that the secular or “enlightened” view of human autonomy assumed by many of the Bill’s defenders is no less a particular world view rather than a self-evident and universal truth. Continue reading “Archive speeches: Rowan Williams on Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill”

Giving to Caesar, Giving to God: Rowan Williams’ address at the service for the new Parliament, June 2010

There is the big picture for every politician who seeks to be more than a mere manager of the state’s business, a part of the mechanism of collecting Caesar’s taxes. Good government from a Christian point of view is about the acknowledgement and reinforcement of human dignity.”- Rowan Williams, 8/6/10

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Most Rev Dr Rowan Williams addressing MPs & Peers at the service for the new Parliament, St Margaret’s Westminster, 8/6/10

On 8th June 2010, shortly after the General Election, a service was held for the new Parliament in St Margaret’s Church, Westminster. The audience, comprised largely of MPs, Peers and parliamentary staff, heard the Archbishop of Canterbury deliver a sermon on Matthew 22: 16-21: Continue reading “Giving to Caesar, Giving to God: Rowan Williams’ address at the service for the new Parliament, June 2010”

Archive speech: Rowan Williams vs the Supercasino

“Institutions that can encourage criminality and intensify irresponsibility are poor allies of social and civic regeneration.” – Most Rev and Rt Hon Rowan Williams, 28/3/07

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Most Rev & Rt Hon Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury & Lord Spiritual, 2002-12

In March 2007 the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke out in the House of Lords against the proposal to issue a licence for a new kind of ‘supercasino’ in Manchester. In the subsequent vote he and two other bishops voted against; the proposal to issue the licence being rejected by  majority of three. When Gordon Brown became Prime Minister a few months later the plan to pilot the supercasino was scrapped. Continue reading “Archive speech: Rowan Williams vs the Supercasino”