Democracy is usually thought of as an achievement of the secular enlightenment.
But the best defense of democracy is one based on a Christian understanding of what it is to be a human being in society, well described in words of Reinhold Niebuht, "Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary."
Lord Richard Harries
Gresham Professor of Divinity since 2008, Lord Harries was the Bishop of Oxford from 1987 to 2006. Prior to that, he was the Dean of King's College London, where he is now a Fellow and an Honorary Professor of Theology. He is an Honorary Fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge and of St Anne's College, Oxford.
He also holds a number of other prestigious positions in other top British Universities. In 2006 he was made a Life Peer as Lord Harries of Pentregarth of Ceinewydd in the County of Dyfed and sits on the crossbenches.
Professor Harries is greatly concerned with social, political and inter-faith issues. As Bishop of Oxford, he was the Chairman of the Church of England Board for Social Responsibility between 1996 and 2001, and the Chairman of the Council of Christians and Jews between 1992 and 2001. He chaired the House of Bishops' Working Parties on issues surrounding Sexuality and Terrorism. He has been a board member of Christain Aid, a member of the Royal Commission on the Reform of the House of Lords (The Wakeman Commission), and a founder member of the Abrahamic Group in Oxford.
One of the many interests of Professor Harries is the question of medical ethics - an area in which he has published numerous articles and held a number of top positions. He chaired the Lords Select Committee on Stem Cell Research, was a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics from 2002 to 2008 and he chairs the Ethics and Law Advisory Group of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).
Professor Harries has published 24 books and numerous articles, covering a wide range of interests. These include: Art and the Beauty of God (Mowbrays, 1993), Christianity and War in the Nuclear Age (Mowbrays, 1986), Is there a Gospel for the Rich? (Mowbrays, 1992), After the Evil: Christianity and Judaism after the Holocaust (OUP, 2003), C. S. Lewis: The Man and his God (Collins, 1987), and a collection of his contributions to 'Thought for the Day' on Radio 4's Today Programme to which he has been a regular contributor since 1972, In Gladness of Today (Harper Collins, 1999).