EPISODE 41

If we ever needed Bishop Bell again, we need him today!

George K.A. Bell (1883-1958) was Bishop of Chichester in the Church of England during the Second World War. Bell became controversial — highly unpopular — because of a speech he made in the House of Lords on February 9, 1944, opposing RAF Bomber Command’s ‘carpet bombing’ of German cities. Winston Churchill’s War Cabinet regarded such bombing as the way to end the War. Bishop Bell regarded it as a war crime.
Today Bell’s speech is regarded as one of the high points of Christian witness in England during the Twentieth Century. At the time, not one colleague of Bell’s in the Lords supported his stand. Not one. He was also pilloried by the press — which proves that journalism can swing with the times, ‘like a pendulum do’. As one result of his speech, the Bishop received no further preferment in the Church, and was famously blocked as the most qualified candidate to succeed William Temple as Archbishop of Canterbury.
Today’s episode of ‘PZ’s Podcast’ exposits Bishop Bell’s speech. It is a wonder! Remember, although the speech is canonical today, it was universally abhorred at the time.
I wonder how George Bell would have regarded the use of un-manned drones to conduct targeted assassinations from the air. For his sake I’m glad he’s dead.