What did the Archbishop actually say?

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109 comments on “What did the Archbishop actually say?

  1. Terry Tee says:

    Hmm … I fear that I am in error in 37 above, or at least have over-simplified the situation of the Beth Din. Here is what it says about the London Beth Din on the latter’s own website:
    In Jewish Law, Jewish parties are forbidden to take their civil disputes to a secular court and are required to have those disputes adjudicated by a Beth Din. The London Beth Din sits as an arbitral tribunal in respect of civil disputes and the parties to any such dispute are required to sign an Arbitration Agreement prior to a hearing taking place. The effect of this is that the award given by the Beth Din has the full force of an Arbitration Award and may be enforced (with prior permission of the Beth Din) by the civil courts.

  2. Lumen Christie says:

    Who cares anymore what Rowan says?

    He is a Post-Christian with NO moral authority as a “Christian” leader.

    Is Anglicanism dead? Think about it.

  3. Dale Rye says:

    The Lambeth Palace statement is exactly the way I read the interview and the lecture, even to the obvious analogy with how a monolithic secular social and legal system might (and ultimately will) treat Christian objections to abortion.

    Who cares what he says? I do, because he is one of the few Christian leaders who seems capable of comprehending that Constantinian Christendom is dead. We need to deal with it, not pretend it didn’t happen. His lack of tact and PR sense is deplorable, but his head is in the right place, not buried in a sand dune.

  4. azusa says:

    “His lack of tact and PR sense is deplorable, but his head is in the right place, not buried in a sand dune.”
    Wrong on the second point. Williams has forgotten (if he ever really understood) that the task of a Christian leader is to win the world to Christ (and to die in the attempt), not to negotiate the terms of surrender. Williams is not the great intellect he was touted to be. He is profoundly confused and wrong on so many things.
    Dale, your loyalty is touching but sadly misplaced.

  5. John316 says:

    Doesn’t the Beth Din function as a legally recognized and binding arbitration for Orthodox Jews in America and England in civil cases, divorce, contracts, etc.?
    Could it be that this is what +++Rowan is suggesting for Muslims?

  6. Hakkatan says:

    Abp Williams was speaking as a scholar among scholars. If he were simply a professor of theology, his remarks probably would have been noted, but would not have caused all the uproar that we are hearing.

    The trouble is that he forgot that he is not simply a scholar. He is a bishop; indeed, the foremost bishop in England and the leader of the Anglican Communion. He may have spoken as a scholar, but he was heard as a leader — and those whom he leads do not want to go where he was heard to say things should go. He failed to make an important distinction, and that will have tremendous and unfavorable results.

  7. Hoskyns says:

    The uncensored, unChristian tone of this blog’s reaction to the Archbishop’s latest admittedly misguided remarks has persuaded me to give up T19 for the remainder of Lent (at least), after being a daily reader for several years – pretty much since the blog began. Sorry to say it, folks, but whatever may be the way forward for the one holy catholic, apostolic church, it’s not found in reactions like yours.

  8. Dale Rye says:

    Re #4: That is precisely what he is suggesting, and about all that he is suggesting. In both cases, the losing party in the religious court has or would have recourse to the secular courts to enforce standards of due process and fundamental citizen rights.

  9. John316 says:

    This also brings to mind Covenant Marriages in the U.S. which have been around since the 90s in some states at least.

  10. Jerod says:

    #2, I agree in large part. As I posted yesterday, the Archbishop is addressing a very important matter in the UK. It takes a great deal of foresight, creativity, and intellectual prowess to undertake such a monumental enterprise. This is what courageous academics do: they raise important issues, assert thoughtful proposals, and begin a conversation. (#5, your point is a salient one, in this regard). As to his PR abilities, I would hesitate to go as far as #2. The British press is a nasty counterpart. Note, for instance, that “inevitable” was not his word, but the interviewer’s. It is also important to note his heavy qualification of sharia to exclude its egregious forms and rights abuses. (Much negative reaction, I believe, would be forestalled if people would move beyond headlines and poorly written news stories to the actual text of his lecture.)

    Also, I would also like to reiterate my comment from yesterday that certain respondents give the Archbishop his due respect and credit. (Thankfully, this thread has not grown quite so acrimonious). I am growing quite tired of boorish one-liners alleging ineptitude or irrelevancy. Such folk, I am afraid, tend to say more about themselves than the Archbishop. His task is a difficult one these days, with liberals who have arrogantly endangered the well-being of the Communion on the one side, and reactionary conservatives on the other. I believe that Bishop Tom Wright was correct when he told his House of Bishops around the time of Dar es Salaam that we are lucky to have Rowan as our Archbishop. We are indeed, (and I, myself, am a convert to that position). This is a growing concern of mine, as I have witnessed derision on the pages of this forum aimed at the Archbishop, the Instruments of Communion, and the Communion generally, steadily increase over the past months. Such derision is just as counter-productive to righting the course of this Communion as anything else.

  11. Virgil in Tacoma says:

    One of the problems of a great intellect is that it’s almost impossible to convey its meanings to the general public (whose intellectual capacities vary greatly). But the highly theoretical elements are attached to practical concerns of society and must be listened to if we’re going to solve the social problems that are present.

    There are no ‘cliff notes’ available for the complex phenomena around us, so we must often attempt to understand that which is hard to understand. St. Paul’s theology is an example of this point. He has been interpreted in so many obtuse ways, that the St. Paul of scripture in almost unintelligible.

    Whether Abp. Williams is correct or not about his assessment, we should appreciate the great intellect he brings to the philosophy and art of problem solving.

  12. C. Wingate says:

    You know, the more I read the hyperbolic bloviating being thrown around here, the more I think, “If there were but one bishop whom I could swear my fealty to, it would be Rowan Williams.” Well, not exactly– I think I could just as well, and perhaps a bit better, put myself under N. T. Wright. But then, there’s no difficulty in them being bishops within the same church.

  13. robroy says:

    [blockquote]Whether Abp. Williams is correct or not about his assessment, we should appreciate the great intellect he brings to the philosophy and art of [b]problem solving.[/b] [/blockquote]
    Problem solving??? His art of problem solving is to ignore its existence. This latest gaff together with the Islamic magazine interview last month relegates him to an appeaser to radical Islam in the eyes of the entire world minus Dale Rye. He is hopelessly compromised and should heed the mounting calls for his resignation.

  14. Ephraim Radner says:

    Now that people are calming down just a little, I wonder what folk think about the more fundamental problem Williams was addressing (whether he did so well or poorly): how do we make room for particular religious beliefs and practices within an increasingly secular society, where the “rule of law” is also increasingly impervious to and arguably intolerant of these particular religious beliefs? Equal Opportunity laws have already been used in the US, for instance, to sue pastors, bishops, and dioceses over hiring and firing practices related to the sexual/moral practices by the complainant; Dale has brought up the issue of abortion; in the UK and Massachussetts the Catholic Church has bowed out of the adoption business because of laws directing them to consider same-sex couples as adoptive parents; and so on. The challenge is both terribly important, and terribly complicated practically and in terms of its implications. And in societies where religious pluralism is both a given and a protected given, the answers one may wish to give in the face of this challenge must inevitably take into account more than one set of religious concerns. By my reading, Williams is here arguing for something in general that is favorable to more traditional Christian concerns. And in doing so, he is attracting to himself the wrath of what one British commentator called the “pseudo-liberals”. I am a little surprised that he is also garnering the reactive disdain of conservatives. Anyway, what of the issue itself?

  15. jkc1945 says:

    Whatever he said, and however he meant it, shari’a law is the camel’s nose in the tent. Make no mistake about it, ‘radical Islam’ is an oxymoron. All of it is radical, its intent is to make the world Islam, and its understanding is that there are multiple ways to do that; it can happen either by proselytization, by coercion, or by outright force, at whatever level is required. Allah says so. And if the Archbishop doesn’t get that, he better get it, very very soon.

  16. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    I think one needs to look at this new statement in a little more detail. It links both the BBC interview transcript and the lecture. It was the words of the interview in particular which were contentious.

    In this statement only one quote from the interview is given, and that from the interviewer to which it is said that the Archbishop assented. In fact he gave a much fuller reply than just assent. That was uncontentious. The statement then deals purely with the lecture which is less controversial.

    What the Archbishop actually said in the interview which caused controversy includes the following, and it is this which he said which is not dealt with by the statement, and which is relevant to the issues of Islamic women being subject to Sharia law and its operation alongside English law:
    [blockquote]CL I suppose more often than not, that is what Sharia is equated with, is it not?

    ABC That’s what it’s associated with and I noted in the lecture that there are some Muslim scholars who say you can barely use the word Sharia because of what people associate with it, which for a practising Muslim is quite difficult because they don’t see it in that light; and I think one of the points again that’s come up very interestingly in recent discussion between Muslim and other legal theorists is the way in which take for example the role of women; in the original context of Islamic law, quite often provisions relating to women are more enlightened than others of their day; that you have to translate that into a setting where actually that whole area, the rights and liberties of women has moved on and the principle, the vision, that animates the Islamic legal provision needs broadening because of that.

    CL So for example one of the examples you give where Sharia might be applied is in relation to marriage; what would that look like; what would that mean for example a British Muslim woman suddenly given the choice to settle a dispute via a Sharia route as opposed to the existing British legal system?

    ABC It’s very important hat you mention there the word ‘choice’; I think it would be quite wrong to say that we could ever licence so to speak a system of law for some community which gave people no right of appeal, no way of exercising the rights that are guaranteed to them as citizens in general, so that a woman in such circumstances would have to know that she was not signing away for good and all; now this is a matter of detail that I don’t know enough about the detail of the law in the Islamic law in this context; I’m simply saying that there are ways of looking at marital dispute for example within discussions that go on among some contemporary scholars which provide an alternative to the divorce courts as we understand them. In some cultural and religious settings they would seem more appropriate.

    CL Is part of the challenge that Sharia is regarded as it is? For example the European Court of Human rights says quite simply that it’s view is that Islam, is that Sharia is incompatible with democracy and therefore it would be very difficult to see it incorporated in any meaningful way?

    ABC That’s a pretty sweeping judgement and again I think it seems to me to suggest that the court is regarding Sharia as a single fixed entity and a great many Muslim jurists would now say that this is not how you need to see it; case by case within an overall framework of the principles laid down in the Quran and the Hadith. So I think there is a real question about how the discourse of human rights relates to traditional idioms of Islamic law; a real discussion, and there’s a lot of literature about that, but I don’t think we should instantly spring to the conclusion that the whole of that world of jurisprudence and practice is somehow monstrously incompatible with human rights simply because it doesn’t immediately fit with how we understand it, and as I said earlier, it’s not something that’s absolutely peculiar to Islam. We have orthodox Jewish courts operating in this country legally and in a regulated way because there are modes of dispute resolution and customary provisions which apply there in the light of Talmud. It’s not a new problem, not to mention the issues as I mentioned earlier the questions about how the consciences of Catholics Anglicans and others who have difficulty over issues like abortion are accommodated within the Law; so the whole idea that there are perfectly proper ways in which the law of the land pays respect to custom and community; that’s already there.

    CL And your concern is that that is in some ways under threat; the ability of religious people to be true to their faith as well as true to their role as citizen in the secular state?

    ABC I think at the moment there’s a great deal of confusion about this; a lot of what’s been written whether it was about the Catholic church adoptions agencies last year, sometimes what’s written about Jewish or Muslim communities; a lot of what’s written suggests that the ideal situation is one in which there is one law and only one law for everybody; now that principle that there’s one law for everybody is an important pillar of our social identity as a Western liberal democracy, but I think it’s a misunderstanding to suppose that that means people don’t have other affiliations, other loyalties which shape and dictate how they behave in society and the law needs to take some account of that, so an approach to law which simply said, ‘There is one law for everybody and that is all there is to be said, and anything else that commands your loyalty or your allegiance is completely irrelevant in the processes of the courts’. I think that’s a bit of a danger.

    CL And that is why Sharia should have its place?

    ABC That is why there is a place for finding what would be a constructive accommodation with some aspects of Muslim law as we already do with some kinds of aspects of other religious law.[/blockquote]
    I can perfectly well understand why Lambeth Palace have issued this statement or clarification; I would probably have done the same if I were them.

  17. nwlayman says:

    The reason he isn’t listened to is he is *not* a particularly useful minister. He waffles in every point of his beliefs, which are a moving target. He is misunderstood because he understands very little himself. Other than that, hey, GREAT scholar. Too bad he only gets a few years in office like Katherine Schori! If only they could both serve in their jobs til retirement. Wouldn’t that be a debris field to pick through.

  18. Virgil in Tacoma says:

    The problem here is the problem of authoritarianism: solve a problem by imposition of a groups mores on a society. The alternative (that which takes liberty seriously) allows for dialogue and “compromise.” If we are going to live in a free society, we have to allow for compromise, if we want an authoritarian society, then we will flee from compromise.

  19. chips says:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/02/women_and_children_first.html I would suggest that the Archbishop read Oliver North’s editorial on our opponents use of women and children as ordinance delivery devices (this is the nature of the foe we are up against).
    In answer to +RAdners question as to why the +ABC is attracting the wrath of liberal it is because Sharia is more anathema to their vision of equality than anything conservatives have promoted since the dark ages. Women as chattel and stoning of homosexuals are present day tennants of sharia – not so much with orthodox Jews of the 21st century.
    Conservatives are reflexively horrified because giving sharia any standing in Christendom while large scale muslim immigration is continuing is cutlural suicide.
    The west/christendom needs deep throated leaders which will defend our values both secular and moral – we do not have to accept Political correctness (the biggest lie since Hitlerism and Stalinism) – we do not have to go gently into that good night – which is really what the +++ABC is suggesting.

  20. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    btw interestingly over 60% of Muslims polled say that they do not want Sharia law in the UK in any form; most Muslims responding in the UK today say that they do not want and have not asked for any introduction of Sharia law. One rather extremist Sunni organisation which has been criticised for its extremism in the past has advocated it. I think you will find that many Muslims who have come to Britain have been attracted by the fact that they will have their rights protected in English rather than any other law. They have no more desire to be subject to religious courts than any other Christian would including myself.

  21. Katherine says:

    If what the Archbishop favors is something like the Jewish tribunals, in which “the losing party in the religious court has or would have recourse to the secular courts to enforce standards of due process and fundamental citizen rights,” as Dale Rye says, then of course this would be far, far less controversial. But that is not what sharia is, and the broad principles of law and justice which have allowed the Orthodox Jews to adapt and to submit their decisions to the civil law if necessary do not pertain to sharia. Sharia is not a set of broad legal principles. It is a rigid medieval legal code which cannot be altered. The idea that women will be free to seek justice after a sharia ruling is naive.

    We should not surrender our hard-won modern sense of justice because we fear that someday we will be in the minority.

  22. FrKimel says:

    For a more positive appraisal of +Rowan’s lecture, see the remarks by Ben Myers.

  23. phil swain says:

    I think the Pope’s approach is better than the ABC’s approach. The Pope is calling Europe to rediscover its Christian identity(that’s not Constantinian nor Christendom -see the 2nd part of “God is Love”). It appears to me that the ABC is calling for an accomodation to secularism which will allow religions to operate privately, but not in the public square.

  24. Irenaeus says:

    “This also brings to mind Covenant Marriages in the U.S.” —#8

    There’s at least one huge difference. The rules that apply when a covenant marriage breaks down are not hugely biased against the wife.

  25. C. Wingate says:

    22: Phil, I don’t think that’s an accurate assessment. Right now, the pope’s arrangement is that he can act as if had authority to dictate to nations, and the rulers of the nations can utterly ignore him. Indeed, one of his issues is the undisguised anti-clericalism in parts of “Catholic” Europe. RW’s insistence here is that on some of these issues, the state has to give way, to a degree, to religious authorities. That degree is not the wildly exaggerated concessions that some here are representing it as, but it’s more than a lot of secularists are willing to concede.

  26. Jerod says:

    Indeed, #24. It seems as though the Archbishop views this as a means to stem the secularization of Europe, which is still not as severe in the UK, but that is quickly changing. This is not a privatization of religion, but a formula for a clearly established and mutually-beneficial relationship between religion and civil government. It prevents religious extremism and total secularization. His recognition of the increasingly pluralist environment is critical for any such proposal. I look forward to continued conversation in the UK on the matter.

  27. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    Oh dear, the Church of England website appear to have been confused as well when they put up the following article:
    [url=http://www.cofe.anglican.org/news/pr1308.html ]Archbishop – UK law needs to find accommodation with religious law codes[/url]. It also appeared on the Archbishop’s website.

    Here’s the latest on this one from the [url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7235550.stm]Williams ‘shocked’ at Sharia row [/url]

    I sincerely hope that we will be able to move on from this and that lasting damage has not been done to the witness of Anglicans in countries where they live under Sharia law oppression. I am with #3 The Gordian when he says “the task of a Christian leader is to win the world to Christ”.

  28. Oldman says:

    Today, I put aside all the arguments, pro and con including mine about what the ABC said. From my own experience living in Muslim states, I think the ABC, in a sort of fuzzy way, tries to deal with a small part of the Sharia, ie, marriage and inheritance whereas the Sharia actually deals with almost every aspect of Islamic life. Some of those are far more violent than others.

    I took the time and Googled Sharia Law. I suggest posters and the ABC do the same and see really the depth and breadth of the Sharia.
    Here’s one link to start the process, but don’t stop there: http://www.americanthinker.com/2005/08/top_ten_reasons_why_sharia_is.html

  29. RoyIII says:

    “I wonder what folk think about the more fundamental problem Williams was addressing”? E.R. I think the Archbishop is the problem. He is showing himself incompetent to lead a world-wide church by these statements, his antisemitism, and his inability and disinterest in healing the breaches in his Anglican Communion. He is disparaging centuries of rule of law in the UK and demeaning his church. I am done with him and his AC. I am going back to Christianity. Godspeed all!

  30. Nikolaus says:

    First, in my opinion, it is not his role to opine on the introduction of a foreign legal system. Second, as with the Beit Din, any foreign legal system must be subservient to domestic law. The problem I have is that Muslims have an established history of ignoring domestic law in the very matters where Williams proposes Sharia can be used. Furthermore, the Beit Din, British and American legal systems share many of the same fundamental principals. Thus they can work together. Sharia does not.

  31. Daniel says:

    Perhaps, by itself, Rowan’s remarks about sharia law would not be enough to tip the scales; but, when you combine it with his interview in the 12/07 issue of Emel magazine about the 9/11 hijackers not being evil, he has got to go – right now! We are either Western democracies whose morals and laws are informed and guided by our Judaeo-Christian heritage, or we are not. For all you proponents out there of secular states with no religious influence I offer up the examples of the French Revolution, the Bolsheviks and those wonderful folks over in China and Cambodia during the 20th century. The body counts of these states really tell the story.

  32. Oldman says:

    Nikolaus, That’s my experience also. I don’t think those who enforce Sharia break it into parts like the ABC did. They do not. It’s all or nothing, even though dietary laws are the ones least adhered to once the Muslim crosses the border.

  33. pendennis88 says:

    #13 – “how do we make room for particular religious beliefs and practices within an increasingly secular society, where the ‘rule of law’ is also increasingly impervious to and arguably intolerant of these particular religious beliefs?” Well, barrels of ink and truckloads of paper have been expended in the law reviews alone on this subject. It is an appropriate one for academic debate. Our US Constitution, of course, set up a tension between the free exercise of religion and not allowing the establishment of a religion as having governmental powers. The law has been wavering between those two things practically since the First Amendment was adopted. Since the Supreme Court has been unable to coherently explain the relationship between the two, I’m sure I can’t. But in the checks and balances of a democracy, things seem to manage reasonably well if not perfectly. (Though I think it exaggerates things to say that “Equal Opportunity laws have already been used in the US, for instance, to sue pastors, bishops, and dioceses over hiring and firing practices related to the sexual/moral practices by the complainant”. Terminated lay employees may be able to sue for discrimination in some cases, but a terminated cleric generally cannot. Note the difference between respecting a decision to hire and fire your priest versus a decision to hire or fire the janitor at the church publishing house.)

    Of course, all of this debate bears a tinge of “other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, what did you think of the play”? The larger context is important. I do not believe that entering this debate was something that an Archbishop of Canterbury need have done, nor was it wise for him to do so. And to do so in a manner suggesting that greater deference should be afforded sharia law, when the idea has real consequences that disturb many people, and without thinking those consequences through, was a grave error in judgment.

  34. Dale Rye says:

    Re #20: Now I do not claim to be an expert, but the description of sharia in both the Archbishop’s lecture and the [url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7234870.stm]BBC piece linked here[/url] is that it is, in fact, “a set of broad principles,” and not “a rigid medieval legal code which cannot be altered.” Like the English Common Law in the days before statutes regulated almost everything, it is a way of reasoning based on foundational principles that must be applied on a case by case basis by persons trained in the law, with precedent as a strong influence but not absolutely determinative. New circumstances can, and have, brought about new rulings. There are, of course, those who have fossilized sharia into an inflexible code, just as there were common law judges that did so. Important judges and scholars both within and outside the Muslim world, however, regard fossilization as an anomaly in Islamic history. If we refuse to listen to those folks and regard only extremists as the legitimate voice of Islam, we are inviting the Muslims living among us to come to the same conclusion.

    Re #22: The Archbishop is certainly not calling for a religious “accommodation to secularism which will allow religions to operate privately, but not in the public square.” He is, rather, quite explicitly calling for a secular accommodation to religion that will allow religions to operate in the public square, not just privately. That was the entire point of the exercise. Anglicans (like Lutherans and Calvinists, but unlike Anabaptists) have always insisted on the place of faith in the body politic. If we corroborate in driving one religion out of public life and into being a purely personal matter, we cannot be surprised when we are next.

    Re #29: If it is not the role of the Primate of All England to comment on a matter of critical concern bearing on the relationship between an increasingly secular England and its religious minorities (which now include Christianity), whose role was it? To suggest that he cannot properly comment on such matters is to force Anglicanism out of the public square and into the purely private domain… precisely what #22 suggests is a bad thing. The Archbishop’s specific suggestions may not have been helpful, and the controversy certainly isn’t, but he had every right to weigh in on a matter that so intimately affects the ability of Christians to participate in English society on their own terms, rather than on terms dictated by the state.

  35. Oldman says:

    #33. “Now I do not claim to be an expert, but the description of sharia in both the Archbishop’s lecture and the BBC piece linked here is that it is, in fact, “a set of broad principles,” and not “a rigid medieval legal code which cannot be altered.”

    Dale, that was certainly untrue in both Islamic countries I lived and worked in. Of course, as always, people figure ways to get around strict laws. One country where I lived, the Religious police rounded up people all the time who were doing things like drinking alcohol and women not properly dressed. One of the countries certainly would not agree with your “a rigid medieval legal code which cannot be altered.”
    The Sharia when it was enforced was very rigid and was never altered. Winked at perhaps, but never altered..

  36. phil swain says:

    C. Wingate, my reading of the ABC is that he’s takes as a given that England is multicultural(which is another way of saying that England is no longer England). His model for dealing with this understanding is to have a secular realm which is walled off from religions and vice- versa. Because secular realms have a tendency to be totalitarian the ABC is advocating tolerance for religious views. But the price for this tolerance is that religions must operate in the private sphere. For example, all religions should be allowed to follow their beliefs about marriage, but no religion has a right to argue that its beliefs should have public sanction. You can call the ABC’s position either multiculturalist or accomodationist.

    The Pope does not accept the multicultural model. He’s urging Europe to return to its Christian identity. This no longer involves an established church, but it does require that the public realm recognize its source in God.

    If the English people think that the naked public square is going to protect them from either the totalitarian impulses of secularism or jihadism then I think they’re tragically mistaken. The source of a liberal and tolerant society is Christianity.

  37. C. Wingate says:

    re 30: Well, as usual, one can read the article online (link courtesy of our friends at Wikipedia, who have a thing about demanding citations for controversial claims), and nobody should be surprised that he didn’t say any such thing. Indeed, the only reference to 9/11 that I found is in the following passage:

    I ask him if American has lost the moral high ground since September 11th, and his answer is simple: “Yes.”

    That is it; a passage follows in which he discusses the war/occupation in Iraq and British participation in it, but the passage I quoted is the only one which mentions 9/11.

    But again: nobody should be surprised. When Williams says something supporting the orthodox cause, it gets ignored; when he says something even faintly out of step with the neo-con/evangelical line, it gets distorted beyond reason. I knew he hadn’y said any such thing before I even looked up the citation, because it isn’t consistent with what I’ve read of him. He simply sin’t the kind of off-the-wall liberal radical that infests American academia; indeed, he is their enemy. Thus far, every time I’ve been told what he says by one of his detractors, the claim has turned out to be incorrect. In every case. DOn’t you think there’s a message in this?

  38. Terry Tee says:

    # 4 John 316: The Beth Din does NOT function in the way that you suggest. Its decisions are binding within the orthodox Jewish Community (strictly speaking, all congregations that belong to the United Synagogue) only because the participants CHOOSE voluntarily to submit to its decrees. What RW is proposing is that sharia decisions should be seen as the equivalent of statute law and thus upheld by the civil authority. FYI several Jewish spokespersons have reacted with horror to what he is proposing; and they resent the parallel of the Beth Din being dragged in. This is an immensely damaging speech for inter-faith relations. Even moderate Muslims have been saying it is counter-productive. For coverage in UK press read timesonline or telegraph.co.uk

  39. C. Wingate says:

    re 35: RW’s point is more subtle than that: he is saying that British culture is multicultural, because (at least within the walls that house Big Ben) it is no longer based in Christianity. In the controversial speeches and interviews, he’s saying, “you secularists in Parliament make allowances for the Jews, and you make allowances for us; but you don’t make allowances for the Muslims. You aren’t honoring your own supposed values.” And he does have them dead to rights, because (I suspect) they historically have to give some deference to the church; and they have to give some deference to the Jews or get accused of antisemetism; but it’s not only OK but politically expedient to play off antimuslim sentiment instead of trying to engage the moslem communities and integrate them into British society.

    The pope can call for a restoration of Christian identity, but given the degree to which continental culture is based on rejection of that identity, he comes perilously close to the bloggish sin of reckoning saying the right thing as unto righteousness. There isn’t a chance that he can accomplish that without convincing people to be Christians first; until then, he’s preaching to empty churches. That’s not to say that I think the C of E is doing a great job of evangelizing. I have to think that it’s being ineffectual, because I haven’t been shown otherwise. But as long as the pope is basing his moral suasion on his throne, he has no influence.

  40. Terry Tee says:

    Pause for light relief: the Church of England website cited above, which gives the press release about the archbishop’s BBC interview, also contains a hyperlink thus:
    ‘How to be Heard in a Noisy World – Church Publicity Made Easy’

  41. phil swain says:

    #33, I think you misunderstand the “whole point of the exercise”. The ABC is saying that a secular society should allow Moslems their marriage laws even if those laws conflict with the nation’s laws( at least to some extent). I think the ABC is asking for something different then tolerance or whats point. We all agree on tolerance. The ABC is saying that in a multicultural society religiously informed views should be allowed their private space, but the price that they pay is that they have no right to urge those views on the public. Obviously, if the public were to adopt those views then the society would cease to be multicultural.

    The ABC believes that the battle for Christian England has been lost and now its time to seek a favorable accomodation( you allow us our space and we’ll allow you your space). He may be right about the battle being lost, but I think he’s mistaken to believe that either secularism or jihadism is going to allow him that private space. Since he’s not going to get that private space he might as well fight for Christian England.

  42. Terry Tee says:

    How in tarnation did my entry jump to the top? It should be around 41 or 42.

    [i] The time stamp has gotten messed up and I don’t know how to fix it. [/i]

    Elf Lady

  43. phil swain says:

    BTW, at the First Things website, Father Neuhaus has just posted a note about Aidan Nichols book, “Realm, An Unfashionable Essay on the Conversion of England”. With God all things are possible.

  44. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    #40 Terry Tee [or maybe #39 or #41
    The site also has ‘100 ways to get your church noticed’.

  45. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    Oh dear – I’ve been watching the BBC news – many of tomorrow’s newspaper front pages say the ABC should resign – they are really going for him.

  46. Dale Rye says:

    Re #38: I am getting really tired of this whole thing. There is clearly no point in continuing to respond to people who have only read the BBC headline and not what the Archbishop actually said.

    He is [b][i]NOT[/i][/b] proposing that sharia be given the force of statute law. He is proposing that private parties to a civil dispute (including divorcing couples) who are both devout Muslims and who both choose to have the issues arbitrated by a sharia court operating according to its own principles should be allowed to do so. This would apply only if the referral is genuinely voluntary and would include the right of appeal to the secular courts if either litigant regards the decision as violating the same standards of fairness that would apply to any other resident of Britain. In the absence of an appeal, the decision would be an enforceable settlement of the dispute. That is precisely the authority of the Beth Din, as I understand it.

    As a wiser man than I has said, perhaps “The less said, the sooner forgotten,” but I am just having a really hard time letting blatant misrepresentations go by silently. I can imagine that the Archbishop himself is in shock that an easily-misinterpreted sound bite (actually, just an assent to a statement made by an interviewer) could be blown up to this degree.

  47. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    Newsnight has a program which can be watched now here:

  48. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    They’ve had John Richardson and Rod Thomas of Reform and the Bishop of Hulme on the program and apparently 3 General Synod members are calling for his resignation – all just prior to the start of the CofE General Synod – this has become a huge CofE issue unfortunately

  49. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    The BBC had 17,000 emails – most critical in 24 hours

  50. John316 says:

    The ABC appears to be a victim of the headline writers. I don’t find that he ever “called for” sharia law. He just said that he sees it as inevitable, and already co-existing in certain areas.
    For instance, I’m not calling for Hillary to be president, but it indeed may be inevitable and we can certainly discuss how that presidency might look.

  51. dwstroudmd+ says:

    Poor ABC, he won’t nuance himself out of this one. He did not do so in the full speech or interview, either. Dhimmi is as dhimmi does. His performance as ABC for the AC is precisely indicative of his action/inaction in this for the good of jolly ol’ E. And, if he succeeds in ignoring the matter as well as he has in the AC, then gets up a Draft Sharia Covenant, by the time he gets anyone on board, the whole of the UK will be under full Sharia.

    Best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour – on both sides of this coin.

  52. pendennis88 says:

    #46 – I’ve read it. While some may exaggerate what Williams has said, it is not fitting to cite that in an attempt to minimize the grave error that he committed by what he did say. A nuanced but greater deference to some theoretically benign form of sharia law is not only not well-thought through, but has dangerous implications when put forth by the Archbishop of Canterbury. It will not suffice to explain it away as some sort of intellectual exercise. To do so only serves to point out that the person who does that sort of thing may be unfit to be the Archbishop of Canterbury and fit instead for some other position.

  53. mugsie says:

    #7, How you profess we should react? Do you think we should accept this evil RW is promoting? Do you think we should just put our heads in the sand and do and say nothing??? The Bible clearly warns us about wolves among us and to be ALERT to them and REJECT them!!!! I believe the Bible and I’m standing FIRM!!!!


  54. Dale Rye says:

    Re #53: I believe in the Bible, too, including the parts about bearing false witness against your neighbor. The man simply did not say what he is being accused of saying. Repeating those falsehoods is hardly a Christian act. Who is it that is known as the Father of Lies? …oh, yeah.

  55. mugsie says:

    #23 states:
    [blockquote] It appears to me that the ABC is calling for an accomodation to secularism which will allow religions to operate privately, but not in the public square. [/blockquote]

    I agree with this. NO WHERE in Scripture are we to conform to the laws of the land or to any form of “religion”. No where are we commanded to “allow religions to operate privately” or even not privately. Christianity is NOT religion. It’s TRUTH! God has set forth for us in His breathed, inspired Word of the Bible how we are to be transformed and allowed into His Kingdom. No conformity to any “religion” of the world will be accepted by Him. Our command is to DEFEND THE GOSPEL!!!! The ABC’s comments here do not DEFEND THE GOSPEL! I cannot ignore that fact!


  56. mugsie says:

    #27 states:

    [blockquote] I am with #3 The Gordian when he says “the task of a Christian leader is to win the world to Christ”. [/blockquote]

    I’m trying to say the same thing. The laws of “secularism” and “religion” are irrelevant. God’s laws are already laid out clearly for us in Scripture. THOSE are the laws we are commanded to follow. Our Great Commission is to “win the world to Christ” as you state above, NOT to accommodate the ways of “religion” and the “secular world”.

    The ABC is commanded by his position of leading the church to only teach and support the TRUTH as God gave it to us in Scripture, NOT to compromise and attempt to accept the ways of the “world” and “religion”.


  57. billqs says:

    #46. In exactly which current Muslim countries that operate under Sharia law is the woman truly allowed a “choice” in divorce situations? There’s a good reason that in America you might get married in a church, synagogue or a mosque, but if you get divorced it must be handled in a court of law. If he was concerned that Muslims currently may not be married in mosques in England, he should have made that his point. It would have been far less controversial and far more indicative of a major leader who has to realize that he must watch not just about the intent of what he says, but also the larger ramifications of it. He is the senior prelate in Britain and also the Chief Primate of the worldwide Anglican Communion. In parts of the communion Anglican Christians are suffering and in some cases dying under the yoke of sharia law. Why he cannot see that and guess at the ultimate harm done by his actions is precisely why people should legitimately question his ability to effectively lead as the Archbishop of Canterbury.

  58. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    Hey Mugsie – you are quite right but I also think what you said about not a good idea being here is also right – God’s in charge.

    For the Archbishop this has blown out of all proportion and I think he needs some proper advice as I gather the Nigerians are upset as well. Perhaps hands up and an apology might help without accepting that the reporting is necessarily fair.
    So why not time-out on this one Mugsie and try a palette-cleanser in another place.
    Meantime prayers with AB Rowan this evening.
    God Bless.

  59. mugsie says:

    #54, where am I bearing false witness? RW did NOT state clearly that supporting sharia law in ANY form is contrary to Scripture. That’s what he needed to do as the head of a CHRISTIAN church. I meant what I said. The Bible states clearly that wolves are among us and to REJECT them! For an leader of a CHRISTIANTo even CONSIDER allowing sharia law to exist in any form

  60. Observing says:

    Rowan is not going to survive this one. This is the front page news in most of the papers in the UK tomorrow, and is leading all the television news.

    [blockquote] [url=http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23436203-details/Sharia%20law%20row:%20Archbishop%20is%20in%20shock%20as%20he%20faces%20demands%20to%20quit/article.do?expand=true#StartComments] With [/url] the Church of England plunged into crisis, senior figures were said to be discussing the archbishop’s future.
    Williams: [url=http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article778163.ece] Victory [/url] for terrorism [/blockquote]

    [url=http://news.sky.com/skynews/picture_gallery/0,,30000-1304746,00.html] See front [/url] pages of tomorrows papers – “Archbiship faces calls to quit” “Sharia backlash” “Bash the Bishop” “muslim courts already here” “Williams faces calls to resign”

    Immediate impact of his comments:
    – increased racial tensions
    – overall consensus is that all religion needs to be removed from law.

    So he’s achieved the exact opposite of what he intended. News reports are full of lay members reporting they have lost faith in his leadership. One or 2 bishops standing up and trying to defend his comments, but failing miserably.

  61. mugsie says:

    I must have hit the wrong key and sent my post before was done. My last statement should have read, “For a leader of a CHRISTIAN church to even CONSIDER allowing sharia law to exist in any form is going against God, and supporting a FALSE god, even if it’s to a supposedly “small” degree.

    Red flags are flashing strong in my face with what RW has just done. He should have done nothing but publicly defended Christianity against all else.


  62. mugsie says:

    #58 Pageantmaster, I’m afraid I don’t follow you here

    [blockquote] you are quite right but I also think what you said about not a good idea being here is also right – God’s in charge. [/blockquote]

    What did I say about “not a good idea being here”? I do agree that God’s in charge. I don’t doubt that for one minute. I also believe he doesn’t expect us to put our heads in the sand and say and do NOTHING! He expects us to reject evil. I am clearly stating that where the ABC entertains considering that which is not Biblical is to entertain evil.

    As to your comments, “time out on this one and take a palette-cleanser in another place”, on what do you base that statement? Are trying to gag my freedom as a Christian to DEFEND THE GOSPEL?


  63. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    Hi Mugsie – I read your comment on the SF ‘Bishop’s backlash’ thread. I am not trying to stop you doing anything – but tomorrow’s another day, or it certainly is for me.
    All the best

  64. mugsie says:

    #63, Pageantmaster, I just went back and re-read my comments on SFIF, and I still don’t get what you were referring to when you stated “not a good idea being here”. My comments have all been consistently stating that I believe that what RW has just done by even REMOTELY entertaining thoughts about allowing sharia law to be allowed in England, or ANYWHERE for that matter, is just plain wrong and not Biblical. I’ve consistently stated that his job as leader of a CHRISTIAN church is to defend only CHRISTIANITY, and NOT any form of RELIGION. I stand by all those statements.

    And you’re right. Tomorrow is another day. One that I pray will bring forth from Rowan Williams some integrity by showing that he was wrong here, and to either step down and let a true Christian lead the AC, or else to repent and get himself back in line with Scripture. My concern is that his recent actions (last year especially) really don’t show any evidence that he’s interested in getting back in line with Scripture. However, I do know God is in charge. He could be working out his plan in many ways here. Maybe it was God’s intent all along to remove RW from the ABC seat. Maybe he is using him like Pharaoh and is hardening his heart to test His people and to set the true followers of Christ free from the heretical thrust of the AC in the last few years. Maybe he’s doing all this because it was HIS plan for GAFCON to occur, and this is paving the way for a new TRUE church to rise up and lead the true followers. I don’t really know. These are all guesses. NONE of them could be right. I would never be one to try to predict what God has planned for our church. All I’m saying is that these are scenarios that have occurred to me. Only God will reveal His plan in HIS time.

    All I do know for certain is that Rowan Williams has not been leading the church in a true Biblical way. Whether that is from God’s own intervention, or not, only time will tell.

    My prayers are for ALL the AC right now.

  65. John316 says:

    From[url=http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article3338104.ece]Timesonline Saturday, Feb 9:[/url]

    [blockquote] [b]Why have his comments prompted such a furore?[/b]
    Sharia is controversial in the West because – as the Archbishop put it – it calls up “all the darkest images of Islam”. He added: “What most people think they know of Sharia is that it is repressive towards women and wedded to archaic and brutal physical punishments,” such as stoning, flogging and amputation.

    Timing is another factor: his comments come during heightened tensions over fundamentalist Islam’s link with terrorism, along with growing concern that English law, influenced by political correctness, is bending over to favour or accommodate minority ethnic beliefs, practices and sensitivities in a way that it would not for mainstream Christian ones.

    Another reason is that Dr Williams, a highly erudite man, expresses his thoughts in nuanced and complex language that is not easily accessible and open to widespread misunderstanding. Many commentators are unclear exactly what he said, and even those who attended his lecture agreed that they would have to go away to digest its contents. [/blockquote]

  66. robroy says:

    Dale, for Dar es Salaam, Rowan Williams allocated only four hours for the “American question.” The rest of the time was for ndaba (Zulu for shootin’ the sh*t). The primates over-rode this silliness and worked day and night to pass unanimously the DeS communique which included a firm deadline, again over RW’s objections. So what did he do? He underhandedly subverted the unanimous will of the primates. He proved himself untrustworthy…yet again.

    Now, in time of crisis, his untrustworthiness manifests properly as a lack of trust of the guy by the man in the streets. Where I am from, this is called getting your come-uppance. He is unfit to be a leader of the Anglican Church.

  67. mugsie says:

    This statement concerns me:

    [blockquote] When the question was put to him that: “the application of sharia in certain circumstances – if we want to achieve this cohesion and take seriously peoples’ religion – seems unavoidable?”, he indicated his assent. [/blockquote]

    The word “cohesion” is defined as: a tendency to stick together. How on earth can the ABC give assent to the idea of “achieving cohesion” with sharia law or ANY religion and still lead a CHRISTIAN church? To “take seriously peoples’ religion” if you are an authentic Christian is to reject religion. God made no allowances for any “religion” in Scripture, but instead very strongly rejected it. He demands that all created humans be obedient to HIM. All other gods are FALSE gods. The sharia law is what the Muslims believe. They do not accept Christianity. They worship Muhammad, and believe in the Qur’an, NOT the Bible. How can a leader of a Christian church even REMOTELY entertain thoughts of cohesion with people who believe in this? It all just doesn’t sit well with me. I have alarms ringing off in my head telling me “this is WRONG!”


  68. John316 says:

    [url=http://www.pr-inside.com/archbishop-of-canterbury-says-he-made-r429710.htm]Archbishop of Canterbury says he made no proposals for Shariah law[/url]
    2008-02-09 01:03:09 –
    LONDON (AP) – The archbishop of Canterbury said Friday he never proposed the creation of a parallel Islamic legal system in Britain, as anger and embarrassment continued to simmer over statements he made seen as backing Islamic law Rowan Williams said in an interview aired Thursday that some aspects of Shariah law- a venerable Islamic code of conduct- already fit easily within the existing British legal system, and he agreed when the interviewer asked if its implementation was inevitable.

    Britain’s media took the statement as broadly backing Shariah law, which delighted some British Muslims _ and outraged almost everyone else.

  69. mugsie says:

    #66, Robroy, this is what concerns me too. I simply cannot find where Rowan Williams has stood and DEFENDED Christianity and Christ’s church. He’s done everything possible to AVOID any action DEFENDS the GOSPEL. Yes, he clearly did let his whole church down when he stated in New Orleans that October 30th was never a “deadline”. It was quite common knowledge in the public, beginning right after the DES conference, that October was interpreted by the greater majority of the church to be indeed a deadline. If he never meant it as such, he needed to speak up then. His silence back then, and his profound statement during the press conference in New Orleans is what concerns me on that issue.

    Back when he called the meeting in New York, I had hope. When they met in Tanzania, I had hope. After the conference in DES, I REALLY had hope. I was thinking, FINALLY, TEC is being called to account. FINALLY, they are being forced to either repent or leave the church. I was so hopeful then. I was still putting my trust in Rowan Williams to lead the church. However, after following the meeting in New Orleans so closely and, especially the statement about “no deadline” I really began to doubt. Even the obvious lies to the media from Bishop Bruno about SSB in his Diocese, when that very weekend one was being publicized, really concerned me. Bishop Bruno was challenged right there by the media on that issue. Why did RW not do anything about that?

    Then the situation where Katherine Jefferts Schori is filing lawsuits left and right in the US and deposing clergy left and right, and RW is doing nothing about it. These folks she’s attacking are faithful followers of Christ. They are DEFENDING the GOSPEL. Yet, RW is not supporting them.

    There is just way too much to state here that has caused me to lose my trust in him as leader of this church. How can he explain all this inaction? He’s never even tried! That’s what concerns me. Then, on top of all that, to entertain thoughts of forming a cohesive relationship with sharia law believers? That’s an outright rejection of the authority of Jesus!!! I just don’t know where it will end. How far will he go? I don’t believe it’s wrong at all for many to call for his resignation. He’s just not doing his job. He’s not leading the church. What else are we to think?

    All we can do is pray that God will reveal His plan in this very soon,

  70. Observing says:

    An excellent editorial in the Times
    [blockquote] [url=http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/leading_article/article3337882.ece] There [/url] are already senior clergymen who have privately decided that it would be in the best interests of the Church if it were to be placed under new management. There are many more who believe that if a bargain can be struck at the Lambeth Conference, such a settlement would have more chance of survival if the Archbishop were to retire soon afterwards. [/blockquote]

    I don’t think the current furore has much to do with Rowans comments about Islam, its basically the first shot across the bows to let him know “its time to go, and go soon”. He is being isolated, and there will be more leaks of anything likely to reflect badly on Rowan ahead. Its the British way…you lose enough support, and the wolves are set loose. Basically, he has failed to keep the communion together. GAFCON is seen as a failure in his leadership. The only hope for unity is to move him out of the way and put someone else in charge. The Global South won’t even talk to him anymore, he has betrayed them too many times. To get them back on board, they need a new man at the helm. Goodbye Rowan…..bow out gracefully before you are dragged too far through the mud…

  71. mugsie says:

    #68, I don’t take his comments as “broadly backing Shariah law” but I definitely take them as entertaining thoughts of cohesiveness with it in English Law. He assented to that statement. He did not elaborate and state boldly what needed to be said, that NO level of Shariah law should be approved of. And when I look back at his actions (or lack thereof) over the last year or so, to defend the CHRISTIAN church, I truly question what is going through his mind.


  72. Irenaeus says:

    When the date-and-time stamp gets messed up, responding to others’ comments by comment number alone can become reminiscent of . . . Gandalf’s disorientation of the trolls’ debate over how to cook Bilbo and the dwarves.

  73. robroy says:

    Mugsie, #69: I could not agree more. The orthodox are suffering from lack of hope caused endless and purposeful delays. Hopelessness leads to despair. Despair is from the evil one. The root cause of the delays is none other than Rowan Williams. Perhaps, the good Lord is delivering us from him.

  74. John316 says:

    Cohesion that he is referring to is the cohesion of British society. Integration. Not joining the two religions together, but rather pulling together the different parts of society.
    We work on it all the time here in the states so that my Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Catholic, and Evangelical friends can all work together to defend our shores as well as enjoy a strong economy.
    E Pluribus Unum.

  75. John316 says:

    Jewish Beth Din could be archbishop’s model[/url]
    Saturday February 9, 2008
    [blockquote]The Archbishop of Canterbury’s message was not that there should be one law for Muslims and another for the rest. What he seemed to be positing was that the secular legal system should accommodate the traditional sharia councils which exist around the country, dealing with family and other disputes. One model could be the Beth Din, the rabbinical courts set up by a UK statute more than 100 years ago, which means they are recognised within the legal system.

  76. dwstroudmd+ says:

    Observing, you may be more correct than first appears on the surface.
    Watching this unfold over the past 24 hours has been to watch the train wreck of Anglicanism over the past 5 years (THANK YOU, ECUSA/TEC/GCC) compressed into one day of biblical judgment on the ABC’s ill-timed and ill-judged comments in an interview. No doubt his Grace is having more of Lent than he ever dreamed possible. And the furor is merely gaining steam as tomorrow’s headlines show rather poignantly. For one so amazingly concerned with right
    contextualization, he demonstrated a remarkably poor reading of his own. This is no surprise to Anglican Communion watchers, but clearly an unforgiveable effrontery and surprise to the Brits when faced with it on their own turf.

  77. robroy says:

    The BBC has an interview with Nigeria’s bishop Ben Kwashi of Jos. Anglican Mainstream has a portion of the transcript [url=http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/index.php/2008/02/08/archbishop-ben-kwashi-our-people-are-in-shock-that-an-anglican-archbishop-is-calling-for-sharia-law/ ]here[/url]. (I followed a link on SF [url=http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/9943/ ]here[/url].) Bp Kwashi knows Sharia much better than Rowan Williams. He says this:
    [blockquote]BBC: The Archbishop was very clear that he did not want to see those sorts of inhuman punishments, he called them, implemented in Britain. Is there a danger that this argument is getting confused?

    BK. It is not confused at all. Because once you ask for the first step of Sharia law you are going to get to the last of it. By 1960 when Nigeria got Independence, it began as penal code. Once it came to this generation they upgraded it to full blown Sharia. So it is only a matter of time when you begin from somewhere that you get to the real thing.[/blockquote]
    Those that have ears, let them hear.

  78. John Wilkins says:

    After reading the comments, and reading Rowan Williams – they are generally in different universes.

    The calls for him to resign – or that he isn’t a Christian – are ridiculous and uncharitable. He was careful, and interpreting Sharia in its best, most idealistic form – the way that Islamic scholars would interpret it (not necessarily how its practiced). It is the form of honorable argument I would assume others would use when attacking Christianity – its best form, rather than a straw man.

    i admit, conservatives should worry if he resigns because he is the only one who is defending their views – but with a sophistication they can’t recognize. I am stunned by his brilliance and his deep understanding of Islamic Law – without being a bigot.

    And to expect that we could understand these debatable subjects (which I think he would be willing to debate) through the English Media gives a lot of credit to the media.

  79. robroy says:

    One of the British Tabloids has a game where one can have fun by throwing a wet sponge at the face of the ABC. [i]Maybe that will wipe the smug smile off his face…[/i] reads the subtitle. Find it here:


  80. Katherine says:

    Thanks to robroy for posting the Nigerian bishop’s comments. This is the reality.

    Dale Rye, I have read the Archbishop’s complete remarks and I understand what he was trying to say. My point, and the point of others here, is that the Archbishop seriously misunderstands sharia. What he is proposing is not realizable because he doesn’t understand what he’s dealing with.

  81. Katherine says:

    And may I suggest a difference between the Beit Din and sharia? The Orthodox Jews do not proselytize, and they do not belong to a religious movement which, when strictly observed, requires violent conquest or subjugation of all other religions and peoples. Jews in England are right to be outraged at being compared to Jew-hating fundamentalist Islam.

  82. robroy says:

    And might I state that both Katherine and Bp Kwashi understand much more clearly then any of us here the implications of the ABC’s irresponsible ruminations for those who try to carry the Christian message to the muslim world.

  83. Dale Rye says:

    If the Church of England is going to allow [i]The Sun[/i] to pick its Archbishop, I hope she looks good on Page 3.

    Seriously, whom do you people think that Gordon Brown would be able to pick to replace +Rowan who would be any more acceptable to a broader slice of an increasingly deeply divided Church of England than the current incumbent? If Canterbury is rendered vacant due to a nationalistic surge of “England for Englishmen” sentiment whipped up by the gutter press, how likely do you think it that a Ugandan-born black man would be a politically viable candidate (or would be willing to subject himself to the inevitable abuse)?

    Once you look past +York, the next most visible bishop has dual Pakistani citizenship and has offended most of his brother prelates. The other bishops who are strong enough and bright enough for the job (+Durham comes to mind) have also made enough enemies among their fellows to make their task impossible. The PM would have to go with an unknown or inoffensive bishop who had no recorded views on any important subject other than the Mothers’ Union.

    What kind of leader would that sort of man make? What leads you to think that any politically possible appointee would be any more effective at handling this crisis than +Rowan, given that any Archbishop of Canterbury must have a top priority of limiting damage to his own national church?

    As I was telling Americans (reappraisers and reasserters alike) nearly 10 years ago, the likely proximate outcome of provoking outside intervention into our internal struggles would be to have the rancor spread throughout the Communion, and the possible ultimate outcome could be the destruction not only of TEC but of several other provinces (including the Church of England) as well, to say nothing of the Communion. I hoped I was wrong.

  84. Katherine says:

    Dale, if you’re right, then the Communion and the Church of England are gone, and that’s what I think anyhow. I’m not happy with this outcome, as you are not.

  85. seitz says:

    #78 writes, “conservatives should worry if he resigns because he is the only one who is defending their views – but with a sophistication they can’t recognize.” I am afraid there is deep truth in this, quite apart from the issue under discussion.

    Having lived in the UK for the last ten years, this is a problem that must be faced. Jack Straw was almost crucified for stating a view about Muslim dress. +Nazir-Ali was roughed up for his remarks a couple of weeks back. Now +Rowan is tied to the bumper and dragged through the streets. But the discussion must be had. The British context is not Nigeria and it is certainly not the US, and the specifics of the challenge need to be addressed in a very difficult context, with an established church, large percentages of Muslims, and the specific legal system of Britain where +Rowan, +Nazir-Ali, and Jack Straw all face into responsibilities.

    One conclusion to be drawn is that this lecture was tailor-made to bring down bottled up rage from every quarter, uniting liberal Press and angry conservative both — the first for hating the church in general, and +RDW’s position on homsexuality; the second for seeing in +Rowan the source of all the problems with a Communion fighting to come of age. This appears to be the Perfect Storm for +RDW.

  86. robroy says:

    Hmmm, there was a poll just a few weeks ago in England. Who was the most popular religious leader? It wasn’t the old ditherer, the arch-obstructionist but rather #2 in command. ABp Sentamu very wisely is keeping mum right now. He will make a very fine ABC. But I would prefer anyone over the man that subverted DeS, the last best hope for the Communion.

  87. seitz says:

    Sentamu–the AB of York who, it is said, gave +Akinola a very tough ride in DeS, questioning his association with certain US leaders. Why do you think +RDW made it possible for him to attend these meetings? They are very close. On this particular score, Sarah H is very much on target. He is probably more ‘liberal’ on any number of issues than is +RDW.

  88. Bob G+ says:

    Ok, has anyone actually read the text of his lecture? Really, has anyone actually gone to the source to better understand what was actually said and intended by the Archbishop rather than jump to conclusions and rely on secular tabloid-journalism to be their source and foundation of judgment?

    [url=http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/1575]Here is his lecture[/url]. Why don’t we all read it and than come back when we are better informed – and I say this to myself, also. I’m off my soapbox, now, and realize that some here have actually read it, but I posit that most have not taken the time. It’s easier just to make assumptions, whether they are right or wrong.

    Here is the first paragraph of his lecture: [blockquote]”The title of this series of lectures signals the existence of what is very widely felt to be a growing challenge in our society – that is, the presence of communities which, while no less ‘law-abiding’ than the rest of the population, relate to something other than the British legal system alone. But, as I hope to suggest, the issues that arise around what level of public or legal recognition, if any, might be allowed to the legal provisions of a religious group, are not peculiar to Islam: we might recall that, while the law of the Church of England is the law of the land, its daily operation is in the hands of authorities to whom considerable independence is granted. And beyond the specific issues that arise in relation to the practicalities of recognition or delegation, there are large questions in the background about what we understand by and expect from the law, questions that are more sharply focused than ever in a largely secular social environment. I shall therefore be concentrating on certain issues around Islamic law to begin with, in order to open up some of these wider matters.”[/blockquote]

  89. seitz says:

    AMEN, Bob +G. It amounts to something orwellian when what is said becomes what is said about what is said. I fear this is the true dark underbelly of rabid cyber communication. All proportion goes. One sentence is extracted, paragraphs dismissed, larger point totally lost. BBC and Press ramps the entire thing up, fellow Christian Bishops jump in, not to call for constraint and prudence, but to indicate that what is said about what is said is the fact.

  90. Bob G+ says:

    I tell ya, any religious conservative worth his/her salt and concerned about secular State dominance or the ability of the Courts to determine for religious folk what is legitimate conduct or belief (like the courts determining that Christian organizations have to hire homosexuals under discrimination laws or that abortions must be performed in Church related institutions) should be lining up behind the +Rowan and shouting, “AMEN!”

    Read his lecture! This episode has been completely distorted by the media and Christians who with knee jerk reactions have drawn conclusions and made statements that show that they have obviously not read what Rowan actually wrote/intended.

  91. Ephraim Radner says:

    The notion that Rowan Williams “single-handedly” destroyed the Dar es Salaam agreement, which continues to be stated here as if this were some agreed-upon fact, is not only silly, but is a moral evasion. The collapse of Dar es Salaam was a very nicely collective affair, in which RW no doubt played a role, but in the end, probably a less prominent one even than that of some others.

    There was, it quickly appeared, no common will to prosecute the agreement up front. That included many Western primates who were present, but also a number of GS primates, especially Nigeria. The setting up of CANA right beforehand and the demand that Dar somehow recognize this (though it did so at best only negatively) and its active expansion and then the formal pursuit of a host of African consecrations of American bishops, and the presence of West Indies at one of these consecrations, along with the unrelenting engagement of litigation by 815 in the face of a willingness by their opponents to participate, the comments and manifestoes of the Common Cause, the unceasing attacks on Dar’s principles by many liberal bishops, including primates, around the world, the immediate attacks on Williams even as the meeting was in session and afterwards, and yes, RW’s confusion about what to do, and reluctance to do or say anything… all of this, ALL of it, exposed Dar es Salaam as something very few Priamtes themselves or their motivated constitutencies, really wanted. To act decisively into the midst of this would not, arguably, have brought order, but further chaos. During the Dar meeting itself, certain Primates were communicating, contrary to the agreement they had made amongst themselves, with allies and constituencies elsewhere, creating a morass of misinformation and misapplied pressures outside of the meeting that, as it became known to other primates, effectively robbed the gathering of what little common trust existed going in.

    I myself believe that the Dar Communique was indeed a relatively good one on paper, and still deserves respect as a guidepost. But as an actual “Agreement”, it appears in retrospect that it was never that at all. Those who continue to propagate the canard that Canterbury is solely to blame for this simply do not understand the depth of the human disease that has enwrapped the Communion’s political leadership all the way around. And not understanding it, it is unlikely that any cure, even for those fleeing the infection but who are already contaminated, will ever be applied.

    One of the most evident things we are seeing in the present outcry regarding Williams’ lecture is that at least 80% of it is driven by a prior animus against the man — “prejudice” — and less than 20% by a reasonsed consideration of the problem that the lecture addresses and the actual content of its argument.

  92. dwstroudmd+ says:

    Read it. No reason to change my assessment. But then, in the absence of Sharia, we can agree to disagree, Bob G+. Read about how successful this ABC’s policy has been in Wales in the matter of hirings? Over-acceptance as a policy is known as dhimmitude in this matter.

    Even the ABC is not sure what he said now. How many explications can one man give? Each seems worse than the last. Too bad his lucidity failed in the legal minds attending to him, too. He has, alas, regardless of his intentions, to live in a largely illiterate world which will only hear his approval of Sharia.

    If you can get the spirits of Sharia back in the box, I’d suggest alacrity.

  93. John Wilkins says:

    #92 – whose problem is it then? has there been other misunderstood prophets? It only demonstrates the truth of our faith: You’ll be crucified for speaking honestly, forthrightly, and with love. he was arguing against the most rational, best form of sharia – not against what it is on the ground. This is what a good scholar does. We have similar issues here in this blog (and I also stand condemned) – we create straw men on the other side and pretend to shout them down.

    We should be defending him for his bravery in confronting the issue, not succumbing to the mob. Remember that the +ABC is the sort that will change his mind with a good argument. He’s not pretending to be God, no matter that conservatives or liberals would desire him to do so. our condemnation of the ABC demonstrates our own sin, not his.

  94. seitz says:

    Good to see a sane and sober account from The Economist, above on T19.

  95. Mike Watson says:

    Re #91: Dr. Radner, I am sure that you are correct in saying that Rowan Williams was not single-handedly responsible, and I also am sure that you have good background knowledge that most don’t (certainly that’s proven to be the case heretofore). But even taking into account all of the other factors you recount in #91, I am left with questions.

    How should the unrelenting engagement of litigation by 815 in the face of a willingness by their opponents to participate be understood as a reason contributing to the non-prosecution? It seems it should have contributed to the urgency instead. And surely the fact that those sued were willing to “participate” (i.e., defend themselves) should not be a factor. More generally, “the unceasing attacks on Dar’s principles by many liberal bishops” was fully to be expected, and that some of them were liberal Primates means only that some of them had their fingers crossed when they signed on.

    I can see how the setting up of CANA and the consecrations arguably undercut the prospects for the Pastoral Council and the Pastoral Scheme, as might the lack of trust occasioned by the breach of secrecy at the meeting (although secrecy at these meetings seems rarely maintained and one wonders whether the agreement on secrecy was truly the Primates’ initiative or that of the ACO). Perhaps the thinking is that that no agreement could have been reached by the Primates on their two designees on the Council.

    But do those things explain what happened to the evaluation of the TEC House of Bishops’ response to the Primates’ request for reassurances? It seems to me that all that should have been required for such an evaluation was an exercise in intellectual honesty. Instead, we had the interposition of the JSC (presumably unilaterally by the Archbishop), the writing of an obviously flawed report by the ACO staff, which then solicited seriatim approval and issued it in the name of the JSC without even a telephonic meeting of the JSC itself, and the diminution by the ABC of the significance of September 30 date established by the Primates. What should have been straightforward then having been clouded by the JSC report, the Archbishop then initiated another polling process of the Primates (adding the ACC even though the request had been that of the Primates), not to ask them to assess the response of the House of Bishops to the Primates’ request, but whether they are “able to accept” the report of the JSC. It seems to me harder to understand this sequence as flowing from distrust and disagreement among the Primates, and therefore it seems that the ABC’s level of responsibility may be relatively greater as to the portion of the communiqué relating to the requests to the House of Bishops than as to the portion dealing with the Pastoral Council and Scheme.

    That said, I am still hopeful that the Archbishop can see his way clear to moving toward a resolution of TEC’s relationship to the Communion, if only provisionally as you mentioned in another thread. For that reason among others, I hope he won’t become immobilized by this latest controversy.

  96. Ephraim Radner says:

    Mike, I do not dispute your sense that the contortions gone through with the HoB response, involving the JSC and so on, constituted a further erosion of the whole process’ credibility; and that Lambeth and the ACO were a part of that. However, part of the problem at the time was that there was not sufficient primatial support for doing what appeared to many of us to be obvious, viz. judging the HoB response inadequate. This included, it should be said, some Global South primates. Why was that? Because it was felt by a significant number of them that TEC was being singled out for discipline, even while others in the Communion were contravening common agreements. The rising and cascading mutual resentments were poisoning things. One can argue as to whether this was a fair reaction. But the political reality within the Communion surrounding the HoB meeting, one of extremely fragile alliances that had more or less crumpled, placed any kind decisive response in what seemed a lose-lose position. The movement towards the JSC, then the Primates, then the ACC — as you noted, not really ever an expected part of the process — was an attempt to gather common support. It didn’t work. Indeed, I think it was a miscalculation. But the felt need to do this derived from something far larger than, indeed quite different from, Williams’ desire to deep-six the Dar agreement.

  97. robroy says:

    Ephraim writes,
    [blockquote]Mike, I do not dispute your sense that the contortions gone through with the HoB response, involving the JSC and so on, constituted a further erosion of the whole process’ credibility; and [b]that Lambeth and the ACO were a part of that.[/b][/blockquote]
    No, it wasn’t “Lambeth and ACO”, it was Rowan Williams who involved the Joint Standing Committee rather than primates standing committee. It was Rowan Williams who specifically involved the primates AND the ACC in the evaluation process. It was Rowan Williams, who, instead of asking simple, direct questions about the TEC response, rather couched the evaluation process in terms of the very flawed JSC report. And yes, Rowan Williams knew it was flawed because of ABp Anis’ critique of it had already come out. It is very telling that a full third of the primates and two thirds of the ACC did not participate in this sham. The clear intent of Rowan Williams was to create a muddle so that nothing definitive would occur in light of the obvious rejection by the TEC HoB.

    As I have said before, RW’s hostility towards DeS was made manifest by: 1) allocating only [i]four hours[/i] for the American question at DeS, something gratefully ignored by the primates, 2) Opposition to the deadline being written into the communique (this opposition was described by none other than Drexel Gomez), 3) his severely undermining the communique by the early invitations in the summer even though he and the Lambeth Council website stated previously the invitations would go out in the late Fall, and 4) his statement at the meeting that the deadline wasn’t a deadline.

    [i] Edited by elf. Off topic.Please return to a discussion of the current post, not Dar es Salaam [/i]

  98. robroy says:

    [i] Off topic. Refers again to DeS. [/i]

  99. seitz says:

    #97 is nothing but a string of opinions. Why are we being subjected to this endlessly — it has nothing to do with the thread and only demonstrates the point Radner was making: that the opinionated contempt festival re: +RDW so drives things that it even highjacks a thread which has nothing to do with DeS. This is just tiresome ranting. We have heard it all before. Enough already.

  100. Sarah1 says:

    RE: “#97 is nothing but a string of opinions.”

    Right — like Dr. Radner’s opinions above regarding RW and DES. Since it’s off-topic, I wonder why yours and Dr. Radner’s are allowed, but not Rob Roy’s rather provable “string of opinions”.

  101. seitz says:

    Sarah–do you have a view on the matter? You appear to intimate one.

    I did not turn the matter to DeS. Radner did–but in the context of saying that those who loathed +RDW were simply leading with that, and not engaging the issue on its face. Is that in dispute? To have the DeS idiosyncratic views of some continually placed before us grows tiresome, to my mind. There is little evidence that +RDW is the single-handed bogeyman made out to be, and much evidence that DeS was itself a coal face for all, with key Primates not participating, and so forth. Is that in any serious doubt? This is not the land of opinions.
    So yes, #97 is a string of hard opinions, now constantly replayed. If there is proof to establish them, bring in the principals. Otherwise, let’s move on to the work before us, something that Radner and others are doing with long hours, hard work, and even patience on blogs.

  102. seitz says:

    And I might add: Radner has spent six hard days with Drexel Gomez working on covenant matters. Does it ever strike you as presumptuous that Robroy, Radner’s parishioner in Colorado, feels he is in a position to correct his former rector on what Gomez means and intends in respect of the Communion, DeS and so on? I do. Having just returned from London, I would hope that blog pundits like Roy might think through the implications of their knowledge, second and third hand as it is. Mike Watson seems to respect this, and Radner was responding to him — only then to be jumped by his former parishioner seeking to sort him out on the Archbishop of Canterbury, +Gomez, and DeS. And this on a thread to do with +RDW’s statement in recent days, miles away from DeS.

    No, if there is a complaint against elf monitoring, it might be better directed at why the gratuitous bile of Niagra Falls is allowed to flow, detached fully from the content, letter, chapter and verse of what the ABC said. That may not be something with which we agree, but at least the debate should proceed from there and not from stored up animus against Rowan Williams.

  103. The_Elves says:

    [i] We are BEYOND off topic. Please don’t make me close down this thread. [/i]

  104. robroy says:

    Perhaps my reasoning wasn’t clear. I believe the thread is about what Rowan Williams actually said versus the public outcry. Ephraim wrote, [i]”One of the most evident things we are seeing in the present outcry regarding Williams’ lecture is that at least 80% of it is driven by a prior animus against the man—“prejudice”— and less than 20% by a reasoned consideration of the problem that the lecture addresses and the actual content of its argument.”[/i] This is absolutely correct. If this had been a first incident, the public outcry would have been minimal and short-lived. Perception is reality versus the mundane specifics on how to incorporate aspects of Sharia law into British common law.

    I would state that there three significant events from the history that negatively colored the public “animus.” 1) Rowan Williams [url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/02/07/nwilliams307.xml ]angered victims of 9/11 by saying that Al Qaeda terrorists “can have serious moral goals” and arguing that the 9/11 terrorists should not be called evil.[/url] 2) the recent, embarrassing interview with the Islamic magazine viewed by most as pandering to the Islamists. See the excellent commentary [url=http://pajamasmedia.com/xpress/rogerkimball/2007/11/25/rowan_williams_public_embarras.php ]here[/url], and also 3) his recent subversion of the DeS communique.

    Now someone who lost loved ones in 9/11 or 7/7 attacks would be most affected the first two examples. As an orthodox American Anglican, the last example most definitely prejudices me against the ABC as I will freely admit.

    I hope this represents the kind of passionate, yet rational discourse that Kendall wishes to foster on this blog.

    [i] Slightly edited.[/i]

  105. Bob G+ says:

    This is the underlying problem we face within Anglicanism – certain groups of people don’t want their preconceived notions or beliefs challenged, they want to believe what they want to think supports their agenda or theo-ideology. +Rowan presents a paper about the necessity of secular British governmental structures making provision for communities of faith and their ability to order themselves and maintain their beliefs without State interference – for Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc.

    There results wild misinterpretations of +Rowan’s comments in the lecture and interview, perpetuated by a virulent tabloid press and within the particular battles going on right now within British society. Rather than good Anglicans making sure the public understood the true intent of +Rowan with regard to a much-needed debate in ENGLAND, many Anglicans of a certain sort jumped on the secular-press bandwagon and excoriated the ABC. They aid and abed the opposition!

    This is a real problem I’ve witnessed over my years within TEC and Anglicanism. I grew up in the American-Evangelical tradition in the U.S. and am thankful for it. When I became Anglican I noticed so many similarities with Anglican-Evangelicalism, yet realized early on that they were not the same thing. Too many American-Evangelicals migrated to Anglican-Evangelical parishes and were not instructed that there are definite differences between the two faith traditions. For instance, TEC and Anglican Provinces are Episcopal/Catholic in their structure – we are a Church of bishops and not “Congregational,” like most American-Evangelical churches. This has implications for every bit of our actions and the living out of the faith within this Church. This misunderstanding by former American-Evangelicals of Anglican-Evangelicalism is so apparent here on this blog. Likewise, within Anglican-Evangelicalism there is acceptance of and respect for the Anglican tradition of difference/comprehensiveness in theological perspective and Biblical interpretation, which is rarely present in present-day American-Evangelicalism (particularly of the politicized, culture-wars crowd).

    So, what we have now is the infection of Anglican-Evangelicalism with the worst of politicized American-Evangelicalism (terribly supplanting the very good aspects of that tradition). One characteristic of the politicized American-Evangelicalism is the insistence that their particular theo-ideology must prevail because it is the only Truth of God (no room for any other possible interpretations or applications), therefore the end justifies the means and they cannot listen to “reason” because it is of the world. +Rowan writes, seculars misunderstand, but because the misunderstanding plays to the game-plan of the politicized group, they too run with it and make their own, regardless of whether the understanding is wrong, thus spreading misinformation or whatnot. This group of people does not want the truth, because it doesn’t fit with their agenda. This is harsh, I know, but it is what I see happening all too often these days and within our current troubles. They have become just like too many pseudo-liberals within the Church, only on the opposite side of the spectrum.

    It is a sad day for the cause of Christ when ideology takes the place of humility and relationship – when people would rather believe and perpetuate misunderstanding or even a lie than accept the truth. They would rather condemn +Rowan and perpetuate the wrong interpretation than correct the misunderstanding.

  106. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    Bob G+
    This has become a domestic UK political issue, it is not just about Anglicanism, it has become an issue about how we are going forward and what the national church concerns itself with.

    I disapprove totally with the way the issue has been dealt with by the media and that includes the BBC [from looking at the transcript issued by the BBC and that issued by Lambeth it looks as if the BBC may have heavily edited the ABC’s words an that may be an issue] – but the overwhelming view has been expressed in the UK by politicians, churchmen, citizens and Muslims that they do not want Sharia law recognised in any form, at all, in English law. They want to be subject to English law for marriage, divorce etc; that is not to say that people cannot voluntarily go along with the advice of Muslim elders, churches, Jedi Knights or anyone else.

    The ABC will be addressing our General Synod this afternoon [UK time] when it is reported that he will be explaining precisely what he meant.

    We will be all ears.

  107. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    Let’s hope he does not dig himself further in.

  108. Bob G+ says:

    Pageantmaster – I’ve been arguing the very same thing, but it becomes an Anglican issue when Anglicans all over the world respond, react, and castigate the ABC, and use the situation to their advantage and as their explanation for why the Anglican Communion is in the situation that it is – like what is happening on this American blog. A problem, too, is that some of the proclivities of American-Evangelicalism have crossed the pond.

    My fear is that even in his explanation/clarification, those who don’t want to hear anything that counters their already determined perception of what he said and is saying and what fits within their agenda will not listen and will come up with all kinds of negative explanations.

  109. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    Thanks for your response Bob G+ – be interesting to see what the ABC has to say.