The Archbishop and ‘West Wing’

Michael Gove writes in The Spectator about Archbishop Justin Welby:

Listening to the archbishop, you get the sense that he is never calculating who might be offended, or attracted, by his words. He is following what he believes to be the path that Jesus has called him to take.

But if that makes the archbishop seem austere and otherworldly, then I do him a disservice. He has an attractive, almost mischievous, giggle in his voice when talking about the peculiarities of living in Lambeth Palace, his love of CSI: Miami and the way in which the ban on his Lord’s Prayer advertisement made it an underground hit in the same way as Radio 1’s censoring of Frankie Goes to Hollywood made ‘Relax’ a surefire No. 1.

And discussing popular culture with the archbishop he lets slip that his favourite ever TV series — his ‘addiction’, as he puts it — is The West Wing.

Connoisseurs of the US political drama will recall that the pivotal episode in the series comes when advisers to President Bartlet, conscious that caution and timorousness in the face of the opinions of others has diminished his authority, urge him to be true to himself. ‘Let Bartlet be Bartlet’ is the demand.

For Justin Welby, the lesson appears to be clear. Don’t worry about what others might think, don’t tailor your views to the demands of the moment, don’t allow your conscience to be qualified or your heart to be misled. Constancy in faith is the great virtue.

Read the rest.


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