Rev Dr Sam Wells, Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields

What can we learn from the Rwanadan genocide? We learn that we should watch out for the signs of imminent genocide and avoid doing it.

(I was going to use a quote from the Big Book of Magic Stuff that tells you not to commit genocide, but it turns out it’s quite in favour of genocide, especially when the Invisible Magic Friend tells you to do it.)


7 thoughts on “Rev Dr Sam Wells, Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields

  1. What a whitewash! This was utterly awful.

    Either Wells is utterly ignorant of the course of the Rwandan genocide, or he’s a casuitical revisionist.

    One of the many sickening elements of that horrific tragedy was that it wasn’t only ‘soldiers and militias’ that murdered, but civilian communities who were encouraged to kill, with the complicity of the Christian churches – the Tutsis being non-Christian. In a large number of communities it was the Priests and church leaders who endorsed the call to murder their Tutsi neighbours; and actively encouraged the killing.

    And Wells didn’t even acknowledge this, let alone make comment – despite his call for “attention to detail.”

    And just using words like sin, evil, forgiveness, and reconciliation, does not constitute ‘a faith perspective,’ which – once again – was completely absent.


  2. This was dreadful.
    Wells used & defined his religious language (Sin, Evil – apparently capitalisation reifies a word & probably links it to an IMF – so Hitler committed genocide but Wells’ IMF commits/permits Genocide) but, as Liverpudlian says, it doesn’t necessarily mean any ‘faith’ is driving the discussion.


  3. “it’s quite in favour of genocide, especially when the Invisible Magic Friend tells you to do it.” Or even when the IMF is doing it himself. Noah’s Flood for example.


  4. Can’t do much more than echo the comments above – and I’m sure there’s more to follow.

    Wells mentioned the classic point about evil flourishing when good people stand by and do nothing – so what does that make his deity? Wells really fancies himself as an astute and insightful thinker and may well appear that way to himself and his flock; all he does in reality is beg questions at best and repulse at worst – as in this case.


    1. There is that word again. Insightful. Yes I agree that Wells probably regards himself as astute and insightful but he is in fact, by virtue of his faith in fanciful and confected myth, as hidebound as his favourite book. And yes the Rawandan Genocide was made worse by the actions of some catholic priests. Wells chose the wrong topic today because as anyone could point out the Rawandan Genocide is the kind of atrocity with which the OT is larded. And Wells and all religious other clerics and apologists really need to admit that what they preach causes hateful tribal division, and division of course is the them and us driving force which fundamentalists and extremists exploit to claim power, wealth and dominion. Tribalism really is primitive driver of irrational damaging behaviour and its all about us every day examples being the xenophobic desire for Brexit, using Brexit to undo decades of hard work to put an end to sectarian violence in Northern Ireland and the persistent efforts for Scotish independence. And the most extreme recent case was that of a bunch of warlords and bandits to roll back history by establishing with extreme bloodlust terrorist violence to re establish a caliphate and secure revenge for centuries old religion driven hate.


  5. Agreed, this was a shocking performance. Wells seems to have persuaded himself that Sin and Evil are entities that have some form of independent existence, rather than labels that we stick onto certain aspects of human behaviour. This is highly convenient for people such as himself, who can disclaim responsibility for the many bad things done in the name of their religion by blaming them on sinful or evil individuals (or perhaps on evil spirits…maybe he believes in them as well). Whatever, his failure even to mention the complicity of the RCC and other churches in the atrocities that were committed was disgraceful.

    The very next item on the Today Programme had Martha Kearney in Jerusalem and Hebron, reporting on Netanyahu’s plan to annex Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Some of the viewpoints on display showed the malign influences of religion hard at work, even as Wells was speaking. There would probably be ethnic and cultural conflict across Africa and the Middle East, even without religion; but religion certainly makes everything a whole lot worse.


  6. I think that the catholic church had some nuns holed up in a convent in Belgium. It seems that they were enthusiastic participants in the Rawandan genocide. The church thought they were better suited to deal with them, rather than the courts.


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