The title is "Church and State."
When Prince Charles came to enhance the independence celebrations in Papua New Guinea in 1975 the lesson he read at the official service was from Romans Chapter 13 (The powers that be are ordained by God.) When Prince Phillip read the lesson a this year's Maundy service it was all about looking after the poor.
The Church therefore fulfils this dual role of adding to the legitimacy of the government (and therefore acting as an instrument of social control) whilst at the same time reminding the government of the limits to its authority and its responsibility towards the weaker members of society.
Rowan Williams is therefore fulfilling the church's historic role in challenging the governments' systematic attack on the welfare state, for which, as he says, no-one voted, and in such a hasty manner that there is time neither for proper thought nor public discussion.
However, I find the Archbishop's language as aggressive and unhelpful as is much parliamentary debate. He writes of "anger" and "plain fear." True, a minority may be angry and fearful, but the vast majority seem to be either supportive (those who welcome what Williams rightly describes as "the quiet resurgence of the seductive language of 'deserving. and 'undeserving' poor"), indifferent or resigned.
Combative language, and the hysterical jeering of "U turn" when the government does have a re-think, do not encourage the public to engage positively with the political process. Rather it is a turn off: it remains "old politics" rather than the "new politics" we were promised.
Politicians, the Archbishop and the media would do well to bear in mind item 17 of the Quakers' "Advices and Queries":
Listen patiently and seek the truth which other people's opinions may contain for you. Avoid hurtful criticisms and provocative language. Do no allow the strength of your convictions to betray you into making statements or allegations that are unfair or untrue. Think it possible that you may be mistaken.
Here endeth the lesson.