Rowan Williams to ‘persecuted’ Christians in the West: ‘For goodness sake, grow up!’

FORMER Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Williams, has expressed irritation over crybaby Christians constantly banging on about how badly they are being treated.

Lord Williams

Lord Williams

Speaking at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, he urged those who complain of ill-treatment for their beliefs in Britain to “grow up”, and said that their grizzling made him “very uneasy”.

He added the level of “not being taken very seriously” or “being made fun of” in Britain and the United States was not comparable to the “murderous hostility” faced by others in different parts of the world.

Lord Williams, who stood down from his role as Archbishop of Canterbury at the end of 2012 and is now Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, said his perspective had been drawn from meeting believers from all faiths suffering around the world.

When you have any contact with real persecuted minorities you learn to use the word persecuted very chastely.  Persecution is not being made to feel mildly uncomfortable.

He added:

I think we are made to feel uncomfortable at times. We’re made to feel as if we’re idiots – perish the thought!  But that kind of level of not being taken very seriously or being made fun of; I mean for goodness sake, grow up.

I think there’s also a general cultural habit of making light of religion which is reinforced by a lot of the press and by our entertainment. I don’t lose a lot of sleep over it.

And he made the very valid  point that:

You have to earn respect if you want to be taken seriously in society.

Baroness Neuberger, Britain’s second woman rabbi who was chairing the discussion, added religious people may just:

Need to make their case better.

But it’s precisely because they have no case that so many of them are treated as imbeciles.


28 responses to “Rowan Williams to ‘persecuted’ Christians in the West: ‘For goodness sake, grow up!’”

  1. AgentCormac says:

    Even when he was AoC, Williams wasn’t taken seriously – not even by his own church members let alone those who subscribe to a rival brand of idiocy. So sadly I doubt that his comments will so much as register with the likes of Andrea Miniciello Williams, never mind actually get her to stop and think. (Think? What am I talking about? That’s the last thing she’s capable of doing.)

  2. the Woggler says:

    Dear old Rowan. I always had a soft spot for him. And on this occasion, he’s right.

  3. Ivan says:

    What he doesn’t mention is that where they are actually being persecuted it is by members of another Abrahamic religion, not people of no religion.

    He also forgets that in the case of LGBT people, it is the Christians who are the persecutors.

  4. Broga says:

    “You have to earn respect if you want to be taken seriously in society.” Says Rowan Williams. They are not likely to be taken seriously when they depend on a supine BBC to provide them with endless tedious opportunities where they cannot be challenged. If they are so confident about their beliefs then let us have an open debate with those who do not believe.

    What do they really believe? How much credence do they give to what is in their inerrant bible. Instead of cowering in fear they might earn a bit of respect if they emerged from their religious bunkers and at least engaged in a discussion.

    Far from being persecuted they are protected, privileged and allowed to present themselves as if they were pontificating to a population of Christians.

  5. ZombieHunter says:

    For once I’m in agreement with Rowan Williams

  6. Rich says:

    He may have some good points but when kids in a Texas high school are being stripped of medals and not allowed to stand on platforms at a track and field event where they were the winners because they dared to raise a finger toward heaven to acknowledge God in their victory, that’s persecution. When I can be fired for saying Merry Christmas to a customer who said it to me first and then get reprimanded for wearing a t shirt that had a cross on it but my co worker can wear one that displays a very far left political slogan with no consequence, that’s persecution. Call it what you will.

  7. AgentCormac says:

    @ Broga

    Far from being persecuted they are protected, privileged and allowed to present themselves as if they were pontificating to a population of Christians.

    Hear, hear. These pampered, mollycoddled throw-backs merely hanker after an age when their religion meant real power and their declarations were, by way of fear, taken to heart by millions. The access to knowledge which we enjoy today renders these dinosaurs incapable of progress – stuck, riling and frothing, in a time warp and desperately trying to cling onto even the merest vestiges of the influence which they know was once theirs. With each bleating assertion of persecution it’s almost as if we can hear the fingernails of christianity in this country being prised one by one from the wall of relevance. I for one will not mourn their passing as they tumble slowly and inexorably out of sight into the contemptuous mire of history.

  8. Barry Duke says:

    We are so accustomed to clerics spouting crap that it makes a refreshing change to highlight the few who occasionally don’t.

    I recently posted a piece on the Pink Humanist blog about Archbishop Tutu saying he would rather go to hell than a “homophobic heaven”. (See

    This evening I discovered that Tutu’s support for birth control had outraged the Cardinal Newman Society, who thought it wholly inappropriate for Tutu to be honoured last year by a Catholic University in Washington.

    It said Tutu had “earned the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to subdue violence in racially torn South Africa during apartheid. But as admirable as that work has been, Tutu also endorsed a constitutional amendment in South Africa to legalise abortion and even endorsed the work of the abortion chain Marie Stopes. Tutu also said that contraception was an ‘obligation’ for Christians.”

    The society was outraged over Tutu’ remark that “planned parenthood is an obligation of those who are Christians. Our church thinks we should use scientific methods that assist in planning of families.”

    He also said it was far better to have the “children that we want than to say you must have children, no matter what”.


  9. AgentCormac says:

    @ Barry Duke

    I have, despite his religious affiliations, always had the utmost respect for Tutu. For one so immersed in ‘god stuff’ he has always struck me as being a man of honour and conscience. It therefore comes as no surprise that he would speak out against what he sees as being wrong – even if that flies in the face of his church’s dogma and doctrines. We might not agree with everything he says, but if only more pedlars of religion shared his pragmatism and humanitarianism.

  10. Graham Martin-Royle says:

    @Rich:So, by your time line you’re fired and then reprimanded? How does that work, if you’ve been fired you don’t work for the company anymore so how can they reprimand you?

    As for the kids, do a bit more research before you spout off.

  11. tony e says:


    I started to read your post but fell asleep.

    You were saying……?

  12. Matt+Westwood says:

    @G M-R: Religious or not, stripping a victor of his honour for making a gesture is fascism, whatever its reasons. Sorry but the pompous pricks that have authority in the US need to be taken down a peg or two, by whatever means necessary, not excluding extreme ones.

  13. AgentCormac says:

    @ Rich

    “…they dared to raise a finger toward heaven to acknowledge God in their victory…”

    But god had nothing whatsoever to do with their victory. Nothing. Do you not have the capacity to understand that several of the other athletes (you know, the ones who didn’t actually win) would almost certainly have asked the exact same god to help them come first too? But did seeking god’s intervention help them? No, it didn’t. Only Derrick Hayes’ team crossed the line first. So raising a finger to god (something I have to confess I do most days) is not only futile, it also is an insult to rationality, to anyone who can appreciate that putting faith in something that doesn’t actually exist is just about the dumbest thing a human being can do.

    Atheists don’t persecute people of faith for their beliefs, Rich. As Lord Williams has pointed out, people of differing faiths tend to do that sort of thing to each other, usually resulting in hideous acts of mindless violence. But do please forgive us for pointing out the fact that people of belief are, generally speaking, infuriatingly and terminally stupid. Just like you.

  14. Daz says:

    Barry & AC

    Another Tutu quote.

    When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said, ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.

  15. Daz says:

    Oh, and if I thought the genocidal, vain spoiled brat of a god described in the Bible was real, I would most definitely raise “a finger” to heaven on a regular basis…

  16. T says:

    For once the pompous old buffer has managed to utter a sensible comprehensible comment. Now if he would just trim his eyebrows a bit and shear his beard off we could take him a little bit more seriously.

  17. Robster says:

    A person named “Tutu” would have to be at least latently gay don’t you think?

  18. barriejohn says:

    If you follow Graham Martin-Royle’s link to the Friendly Atheist site you will see that the athlete was reprimanded for his attitude towards the officials.

    The meet official indicated the athlete crossed the finish line and gestured upward with his arm and finger and behaved disrespectfully toward meet officials, in their opinion. In the judgment of the official, this was a violation of NFHS track & field rule 4-6-1. The regional meet referee concurred with this decision and the student was subsequently disqualified. There is no indication that the decision was made because of any religious expression. This was a judgment call, as are many decisions of meet officials in all activities.

    According to NFHS rules, once the meet is concluded, the results become final. Neither the UIL nor NFHS have rules that prohibit religious expression.

  19. barriejohn says:

    I didn’t realize that this vile woman was a Youth Olympics Ambassador!

  20. Doubting Thomas says:

    I always like the quote (which I can’t now source) that Christians only whine about being persecuted when they are prevented from doing the persecuting.

  21. labman57 says:

    Christian conservatives continually strive to impose their own religious, dogmatic mores onto the rest of society and then attempt to play the role of the maligned victim when their efforts are rebuffed.

    Sorry folks, you are the persecutors in this conflict, not the persecuted.

  22. […] someone please put out a call to Rowan Williams. Someone needs to tell this fool of a woman to get over herself, and he’s just the geezer to do […]

  23. Matt+Westwood says:

    The real WTF is paying the blindest bit of attention to the worthless prattle that emerges from the festering gobs of “sportspeople”. Hey folks, they’re not considered great because of their brains, they’re celebrated because they’re body fascists. As such they are pointless people with absolutely no value or worth at all.

  24. JohnMWhite says:

    I haven’t heard of any credible cases where high school athletes were stripped of their accomplishments for acknowledging god (only nebulous “that’s what they are doing in the schools!!” stuff so far), but I have heard of cases where high school students were punished for violating the US Constitution by turning school events into pulpits. It is not persecution to maintain secular state education. What Christians continually fail to realise is that secularism is a state of neutrality, it is not enemy territory. The reason for the wall of separation between church and state is so that people of different churches (and none) don’t have to live with the machinery of state leaving them at a disadvantage by enabling people of a different church. Catholics shouldn’t have to think they are going to get an F in History because the teacher is Jewish, and a Muslim football player shouldn’t feel isolated from his teammates because they’re all praying to Jesus on the field.

  25. G Wilson says:

    In office, this twit supported those pretending to be persecuted

    Back-pedalling now is meaningless and useless.

  26. Matt+Westwood says:

    @G Wilson: I don’t think he was so much actively supporting them as asking for a little common sense to be applied. On the face of it, it does seem unfair to deny a person the right to adorn themselves with the symbol of their superstition. However, it was only later that the (perfectly sensible) reasons for the ban were elucidated:

    a) that a freely-dangling cross can get tangled up in a patient’s vitals, thereby compromising the health of that person;

    b) an obviously visible symbol of a particular superstition may be off-putting to potential customers who adhere to a completely different and incompatible superstition, therefore the boss is entitled to request that you don’t adorn yourself with them. However irrational the potential customers’ own superstition may be, if it causes them to lose your company their custom, etc. etc. you know how it works from here.

    I believe that at the time Rowan Atkinson, sorry Williams, may not have been in full command of the facts, which came out only in the light of the court cases last year.

    Back-pedalling is completely honourable, of course, if accompanied by an admission “I believe I was wrong, therefore I’ve changed my mind” or some such.

  27. G Wilson says:

    Unfortunately, the “changed my mind and here’s why” part isn’t there.

    The “religious dress” cases were a wedge-point for a political christian lobby, eager to import US-style intolerant evangelism. Williams helped them along – he should acknowledge the point of principle on which he was wrong (if he can grasp what it is).