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Before the New Jerusalem: Workers gather at London docks in hopes of finding work in 1931 © Fox Photos/Getty Images

Justin Welby: how to build a new Beveridge

Coronavirus has exposed the inequalities in our society. A new settlement must be founded on the values of cohesion, courage and stability

By Justin Welby   June 2021

An apocryphal riddle for theology students goes thus: “Could God create a rock so heavy that God couldn’t lift it?” The problem of course, is that if God can’t, then he’s not omnipotent. If God can, he can’t lift it, and so he’s not omnipotent.

We face a few paradoxes of our own in 21st-century Britain. How is it that we are richer than ever, but the use of food banks hit new records last year? How do we have so many ways to communicate, and yet feel more atomised and isolated? We live in a time of unprecedented peace, but it feels like there is greater conflict. We feel caught between the powerful and the painfully vulnerable. It’s a bit of a catch-22: the sense that we can’t go back as we were, but we don’t agree on how to move forward. The rock needs to be…

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