“The man that hath no music in himself, nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils,” intones the likeable Lorenzo in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.
Surely the Bard of Avon isn’t describing Britain’s tonally challenged Archbishop of Canterbury?
Justin Welby doesn’t have a musical bone in his body. Organists at Liverpool Cathedral joked how poor Justin couldn’t tell the difference between a toccata and a ciabatta if the angel Gabriel revealed it to him.
This foible, in his otherwise flawless character, makes him the note-perfect candidate for “treasons, stratagems, and spoils,” i.e. for buggering up Brexit and screwing up democracy.
The Archbishop of Canterbury – a fawning Europhile and fervid Remainer – is now plotting feverishly to subvert Brexit and veto the democratic will of the people as expressed in the 2016 referendum.
Like a wheeler-dealer in an African banana republic, our unelected Machiavelli in a mitre has crowned himself king of a citizens’ assembly, in which a hundred representatives from various sides will make recommendations on Brexit. He claims to have been “invited”—but we know how “jobs for the boys” is such a noble English tradition.
The assembly will balance gender, background, and political allegiance under its circus tent. Its members will be selected, God alone knows how, to reflect the outcome of the referendum and a range of views on what form Brexit should take.
Those involved will take part in discussions chaired by the Archbishop and hosted by Coventry Cathedral—where Welby was once Canon for Reconciliation.
So why did the nation spend £142.4m on a referendum if we were wanted the Archbishop to choreograph a freak show three years later? I mean, we could just let the Archbishop and his oligarchy run the country, no?
Welby has already nailed his purple knickers to the mast, making clear that a No Deal Brexit would be “not only a political and practical failure, but a moral one.” In 2018 he lauded the European Union as “the greatest dream realised for human beings since the fall of the Western Roman Empire.”
Like every other Remoaner, his Brexit Derangement Syndrome has resulted in orchestrated apocalyptic hysteria, warning us that a No Deal Brexit would unleash the four horsemen of the apocalypse, result in a shortage of Mars bars, Viagra, and even an asteroid shower obliterating Britain.
The surrealistic irony in this political Helter Skelter set up by Welby is that it is based on the model of 100 diverse citizens discussing abortion in Ireland in 2016. Bizarrely, when the House of Lords was debating abortion in July, Welby was playing hookey from parliament and marking World Emoji Day by tweeting the Lord’s Prayer.
Even more perversely, as the Lords were imposing abortion on Northern Ireland, our archbishop was hosting a Christian-Muslim gabfest at Lambeth Palace on “prayer and public life in Christianity and Islam.”
Welby has the gall to abdicate his public duty in parliament by refusing to challenge abortion—arguably the greatest evil of our day—and then to sanctimoniously summon us to a citizens’ assembly on Brexit? Faugh!
In fact, not one of the 26 Church of England bishops was present, but 25 bishops were shameless enough to prostitute themselves politically and sign an open letter attempting to derail Brexit.
More wantonly, the Archbishop is now shamelessly violating the commandment that prohibits misusing God’s name: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.”
This is the only one of the Ten Commandments whose violation God says he will not forgive (literally, “God will not cleanse”).
To take God’s name in vain is to use his name to rubber-stamp our own agenda. Welby dragoons Jesus into helping him in his plot to subvert Brexit:
“Jesus Christ is the source of reconciliation and healing for individuals and society,” he claims. Welby isn’t calling people to repentance and salvation in Christ; his call for reconciliation is a power play to get people to subvert Brexit.
Welby knows that his call for reconciliation is a hundred percent bogus because even Christians in his own anarchic church cannot find unity over the most basic issues of faith. Unity is the hallmark of totalitarian states and not of free societies and the chasm between Brexiteers and Leavers is unbridgeable since both worldviews are rooted in two mutually exclusive ideologies of nationalism versus globalism.
Welby is profaning the Lord’s name and his costly work of reconciliation, obtained on the cross of Calvary by the shedding of his blood for the forgiveness of sins. The Archbishop’s brazen misappropriation of Calvary for a political stunt is a scandalous betrayal of Christ’s atonement—never mind a betrayal of the democratic will of the demos, the people.
But Welby, as we have come to understand, is not the people. He is not even a stooge of the Establishment. Welby is the Establishment—an asymmetrically powerful group of Remoaners in government, Civil Service, media, academe, finance, and big business—who view Little Englanders, white working class Britons, and most Anglicans who voted to Leave, with undisguised contempt.
In this sense, Welby can best be compared to the Pharaoh of the Exodus. Bloody minded, two-faced and Machiavellian, Pharaoh is hell-bent on buggering up the Hebrews’ Brexit from Egypt.
“The wonder of the Exodus narrative is that the role of Pharaoh continues to be re-performed in many times and many places,” writes Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann.
Moses makes every attempt to negotiate with Pharaoh. The tyrant of Egypt doesn’t want Israel to leave with a good deal. I mean, how dare they vote to leave in the first place? Moses has to deal with Pharaoh’s version of the Irish backstop: “I will let you go to sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness; only you must not go very far away (Exod 8:28).
Pharaoh cannot stomach a No Deal Exodus. Moses’s plea to “Let my people go” is like a tuba blast of discordant notes in Welby’s ears.
Pharaoh calls Moses and says, “Go, serve the Lord; your little ones also may go with you; only let your flocks and your herds remain behind.” Moses refuses to capitulate. “Our livestock also must go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind” (Exod 10:24-26).
Even after the Exodus begins, Pharaoh sends his heavy artillery to terminate Brexodus. At the time of writing, Welby has dispatched 25 of his fellow-bishops in a last-ditch attempt to stop Brexit. These are the commanders of the chariots wading into the waters of Red Sea in hot pursuit of the Israelites.
Like Welby, the bishops are the Establishment.
The Establishment is always the holder of Pharaonic power. Lord Acton’s aphorism, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely” was a reference to bishops, not politicians.
If we are to have freedom, we must invariably subject the “truth claims” of the Establishment to the most rigorous hermeneutic of suspicion. Because, if there is one thing we can learn from post-modernism, it is that these “truth claims” are always about preserving power.
Historian Andrew Roberts, in Churchill: Walking with Destiny, repeatedly points out how the “flagship policy” of the “entire British Establishment” (including the Church of England) before the Second World was appeasement. “Churchill,” he writes, refused “to be cowed by the almost complete unanimity of the British Establishment in appeasing Hitler and the Nazis.”
The Establishment, in turn, hated Churchill and expressing their loathing with predictable cliché, caricaturing him “rather like a bull in a china shop.” This is what Welby, the bishops, and the Pharaonic Establishment are doing to Boris Johnson. After Brexit, the country should carefully consider booting them out of parliament—and, for its worth, getting rid of the bloated House of Lords.
Shakespeare has more to say about “the man that hath no music in himself.” In the case of such a man, says Lorenzo, “The motions of his spirit are dull as night, and his affections dark as Erebus. Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music.” We would do well to heed his warning about a tone deaf Philistine and political scoundrel like Archbishop Justin Welby.
The Rev’d Dr Jules Gomes, BA, BD, MTh, PhD (Cantab) is a journalist, academic and editor of Rebel Priest (www.julesgomes.com).