Archbishop is duty bound to speak his mind

From: JW Slack, Swinston Hill Road, Dinnington, Sheffield.

With reference to the three letters criticising the Archbishop of Canterbury for his comments on the coalition Government (Yorkshire Post, June 11), I would suggest that the relationship between religion, politics and the Crown in this country is unique.

The Queen is head of the Church, and the Archbishop has the difficult task of supporting or criticising policies according to the main principle – loving your neighbour as yourself – and his obvious duties to God as the real spiritual guide.

Over decades, I have read manifestos at election time, full of promises, and seen the cut and thrust of debate, and now we find ourselves almost financially bankrupt and the gap between rich and poor is still widening.

The rich appear relatively unaffected; the House of Lords is now overcrowded while many professionals working with the young, old, sick and mentally ill are seeing cuts in services.

Remember, the birth of Christ was seen by King Herod as a threat to his dynasty, resulting in the slaughter of the innocents (still common in the East) and when Christ returned from exile as a former refugee and as an adult teacher, his ministry revolved round ordinary people, the sick and those held in low esteem.

He warned of the dangers of using wealth above all and demonstrated his anger by turning over the tables of the money lenders in the temple.

He was seen as a threat by the religious leaders of the day and with the reluctant aid of Pilate, he was crucified and conveniently put in the category “dead” – or was he?

We are free to choose what we believe, but if the Archbishop believes there is injustice in the system, he is perfectly entitled, and, in fact, duty bound to speak his mind.

The search for the Big Society may well be stalling or hindered by the bloated minority.

Charity should begin at home

From; Carole-Ann Withers, Hungate Lane, Hunmanby.

DESPITE the financial difficulties this country is suffering, David Cameron, unbeknown to us, pledged £814m to help the vaccination of children in poor countries (Yorkshire Post, June 14).

While I am deeply sorry that these children need help, I do believe the adage that “charity begins at home”.

Apparently, we have a “moral obligation” to offer this monumental amount when many of our charities are also desperate for funding and our country is in the middle of a recession.

When was this matter decided and why the secrecy until the deal had been done?

And why must Cameron feel that he has to match the figure promised by the Gates Foundation when, financially, we will never be in their league?

From: Peter A Rushforth, Sutton Drive, Cullingworth, West Yorkshire.

WHAT is David Cameron hoping to achieve by spending £814m on a global immunisation programme? Worldwide fame?

Here we are, with the country in financial difficulties, and he is giving away more money than any other country.

It may seem a worthwhile cause but surely it is a case of putting the cart before the horse.

Yes, the injections will save children’s lives but surely it would be better to concentrate on contraception and the sterilising of the women in these African countries.

Travelling expenses

From: Catherine Walls, Garforth, Leeds.

I WAS disgusted to learn recently that the Lord Mayor of Leeds had offered to travel to some official functions by bus, and that the council had rejected his offer.

The Lord Mayor is evidently aware of the financial constraints the council is under in the current economic climate and is trying to do his bit to help.

The council, however, believes that the importance of his role means he should arrive at functions by car – it is evidently more concerned with keeping up appearances than with finding ways to cut costs which don’t impact too heavily on taxpayers.

Council officials using public transport would be a strategy which would not only save money, but would also be beneficial for the environment and would set a good example to residents of Leeds and councils elsewhere in the UK.

I feel that the council has squandered an opportunity. As a Leeds council taxpayer, I would be far more impressed seeing the Mayor using public transport than by seeing him arrive in a chaffeur-driven limo.

Dressing down for a duchess

From: Malcolm Naylor, Grange View, Otley.

When the Duchess of Cambridge goes out, accompanied by two security officers, and spends £4,000 on one dress for a lavish banquet, the public should ask where this money comes from while the rest of us are suffering in a time of austerity

It certainly does not come from what her husband earns as an Air Force officer.

This ostentatious flummery should be seen in the context of closures of hospital wards, (as has happened at Wharfedale General, in Otley), and care homes, day centres, libraries, outrageous tax increases and means-tested care charges that are being heaped upon us.