Should we ever applaud a church leader making a political statement?

I ask because of reports in the UK that the Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Church of England, is ready to slam the government's Big Society programme, saying it will be an excuse to cut state support for the vulnerable.

Like most liberals I'm inclined to give him a cheer. But I'm also slightly troubled by the thought that if he was supporting the programme I'd be thinking it wasn't his business to go public with it; and just last week I complained about the CofE, or at least a group within it, coming out against gay marriage.

We're on safer ground in the UK than in the States, as churches are not such a political force, and the CofE is generally a pretty harmless institution. But I wonder whether people think that churches have any legitimate role in politics, or if they should just butt out?

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