Sunday, February 10, 2008

Lord Carey: 'Shari'a is a view I cannot share'

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey has uncharacteristically entered the fray and said that his successor has ‘overstated the case for accommodating Islamic legal codes… His conclusion that Britain will eventually have to concede some place in law for aspects of Shari’a is a view I cannot share’.

Lord Carey unequivocally states: ‘There can be no exceptions to the laws of our land which have been so painfully honed by the struggle for democracy and human rights. His acceptance of some Muslim laws within British law would be disastrous for the nation.’ And the Head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, has echoed these sentiments, saying: ‘I don't believe in a multicultural society. When people come into this country they have to obey the laws of the land,' (though even he was making a plea for religious exemptions from ‘the law of the land’ just a few months ago).

But Lord Carey said that Dr Williams should not be forced to resign over his remarks, adding: ‘He is a great leader in the Anglican tradition and he has a very important role to play in the Church.’

To talk of a ‘great’ leader ‘in the Anglican tradition’ is becoming something of an oxymoron, for Cranmer is inclined to believe that greatness is an elusive leadership quality in the Anglican Church, and to bestow it upon Dr Williams is like talking of ‘excellence for all’. Superlatives are being debased by their normative applications.

When Rowan Williams was enthroned as Archbishop of Canterbury five years ago, his supporters believed that his academic, mild-mannered, thoughtful but determined approach was exactly right for an Anglican church which faced schism over homosexuality and the ordination of women. Five years later, the entire Anglican Communion is profoundly disappointed. The schisms have deepened, not merely because of the Archbishop’s personal support for women bishops, but because of his appalling handling of the issue of gay clergy. One day Canon Jeffrey John is Bishop of Reading, the next day he is withdrawn; one day gay bishops are coming to the Lambeth Conference, the next day they are not. Instead of leadership, there has been vacillation, hesitation, and a lot of wooly theology.

And while his pews have been emptying, and while the numbers attending Roman Catholic churches have surpassed those attending the Church of England for the first time since the Reformation, Dr Williams has busied himself attacking the Iraq war, berating the United States of America, and preaching of ‘humanity’s selfishness’ as he adopts the Mother Earth save-the-planet zeitgeist which Pope Benedict XVI has been clever enough to repudiate.

Yet he insists that his Radio 4 interview (and Cranmer is NOT talking of the actual lecture) was an attempt ‘to tease out some of the broader issues around the rights of religious groups within a secular state’. But his language was unclear and his thinking was muddled, and he failed to understand that it is not what one actually says that is important, but what one is perceived to have said. And his suggestion that the British state should recognise different kinds of justice, including shari’a, because that would enable people with different religious convictions to feel ‘loyal’ to British society, is absurd. It is, as has been widely observed, ‘a recipe not for the social cohesion and unity which he says he craves, but for separatism and conflict. Far from overcoming cultural conflict, its primary effect would be to enforce division by emphasising it’.

Yet he insists: ‘An approach to law which simply said there is one law for everybody and that is all there is to be said… I think that’s a bit of a danger’.

A danger for whom? Should ‘female circumcision’ be permitted because it is a cultural norm in parts of Africa? Should the bruises and beatings endured by Victoria Climbié be tolerated because they are consistent with the principles of African discipline? Where is the debate about matters of concern such as the practice of many Muslims in Britain of marrying first cousins, leading to a high proportion of babies with birth defects?

It becomes increasingly difficult to maintain religio-cultural opposition to such practices when the Government has sold the moral pass on polygamy: husbands with multiple wives in the UK are now entitled to state benefit payments for each wife. It is, of course, Muslims who will benefit, while bigamy and polygamy remain illegal for everyone else.

In the midst of all this moral confusion and relativism, it is the job of the Archbishop of Canterbury to maintain the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law; to assist Her Majesty, as she promised in her Coronation Oath, to govern the British people ‘according to their laws and customs’

As the Bishop of Rochester observes, shari’a is quite antithetical to British traditions, and so Dr Williams is causing the Supreme Governor of the Church of England to compromise her oath, which was sworn before God, and is guilty of leading the weak astray (Rom 14:21); potentially causing his brothers and sisters to stumble (1Cor 8:13), for he is eating food offered to false gods, and thereby discrediting his ministry and his office (2Cor 6:3).


Anonymous mary tudor said...

My Majesty's parting, parting shot last night...

parting, parting shot...

My Majesty knew this already but...

Carey is a weasel


09 February 2008 23:48

Latest developments: My Majesty usually has little time for Martin Amis, but even he can see through the gutter press lynch mob and the contemporay Pharisees who are gleefully feeding them their knocking copy.

Predictably enough the gruesome 'Reform' boot boy Venables is the latest provider of knocking copy

10 February 2008 at 12:47  
Anonymous mickey said...

Your Grace makes many valid points, however the notion that English/British culture is enshrined in the law troubles me.

The Blair government introduced more than 3,000 new criminal offences but in no way could it be said that most, or any, of these laws enriched our culture. Indeed, the correlation may work better the other way around, ie. fewer laws = a stronger cultural identity.

I very much hope that the current debate continues and extends to address these broader issues. However, I suspect it will soon be knocked off the front pages by the latest turn in the Britney/Amy sagas.

Should your Grace be finding the Sharia situation exasperating in extremis, might I suggest some energetic gardening. On a fine day such as today I find it to be a thoroughly therapeutic tonic.

10 February 2008 at 12:52  
Anonymous Bert Rustle said...

William D. Rubinstein - professor of modern history at the University of Wales-Aberystwyth - argues that with his political pronouncements Dr Rowan Williams follows in the footsteps of a long tradition of left-wing clerics in the Church of England A New "Red Dean of Canterbury"?

... Dr Rowan Williams follows in the footsteps of a long tradition of left-wing clerics in the Church of England, perhaps best exemplified by Rev. Hewlett Johnson, the Red Dean of Canterbury. The major difference today, argues Prof. Rubinstein, is that the likes of Hewlett Johnson never rose above the "middle management" of the Church of England - Rowan Williams has risen to the top of it. ...

10 February 2008 at 13:39  
Anonymous mary tudor said...

Bert Rustle said...
William D. Rubinstein - professor of modern history at the University of Wales-Aberystwyth - argues that with his political pronouncements Dr Rowan Williams follows in the footsteps of a long tradition of left-wing clerics in the Church of England

Now we are getting near what this is really about - conservative evangelicals (and I can think of alternative but unprintable descriptions) hate - and I use the word advisedly - Williams for his liberal catholic beliefs. They are content to make Faustian pacts with forward in faith types but 'liberal' and 'catholic', expecially in combination pushes their hate buttons bigtime. They never have, and never will, accept him and will do all they can to undermine him until he is replaced by one of their own.

Afternoon Yosser!

He hasn't helped himself by compromising his own beliefs in a series of attempts to placate them. There is no point - they are beyond placation.

Then we have the gutter press. they hate him because of his left wing politics. My Majesty notes that Cranmer quotes the ridiculous Carey at length but doesn't mention what he was writing in (very sneaky your - um - grace), namely Murdoch pornsheet the 'News of the World'. So the second Faustian pact is made between the ecclesiastical lynch mob and the gutter press.

My Majesty heard a story as regards Carey's elevation to Cantuar. It may or may not be true but if it is not it ought to be. After Runcie it was the evangelicals' 'turn'. It was agreed that the obvious candidate was David Sheppard, but how to get him past Thatcher with his left wing politics as two nominations had to be put forward to her? Answer: also nominate the biggest 'blethering nincompoop' on the bench of bishops.

Thatcher being Thatcher, the blethering nincompoop got the job.

And a disloyal blethering nincompoop he turns out to be.

10 February 2008 at 14:16  
Blogger Dave said...

Amen Amen Amen
My spin:-
The papers and TV are full of what the Archbishop of Canterbury did or didn't say about Sharia law. I watched BBCNews24's Dateline London and one of the panel said that he'd read what Williams had said very carefully and still couldn't make out what he'd said, because what Williams had done was read out an essay complete with footnotes.
How can it be that the Christian Church could get itself in such a mess? How could it have got itself saddled with a leader who is so obviously and visibly lacking in leadership and communication skills?
I hunted around on my bookshelf and dug out my copy of "The gagging of God" by Gavin Reid. This was published by Hodder & Stoughton back in 1969- that is- almost 40 years ago. Gavin wrote back then (and I quote from the back cover" "The greatest threat to the gospel is not Communism, apathy, humanism, impurity of doctrine or wordly compromise. It is this breakdown of communication..."
I skimmed through the book in about 45 minutes, noting all the passages that I'd highlighted from the previous reading about 7 or 8 years ago. The author's opinion is that everything changed when Nixon and Kennedy debated on live TV before the election that saw Kennedy elected. Nixon had the best arguments and spoke better but looked badly in need of a shave and sweated profusely. Kennedy, the weaker speaker but with the looks of a matinee idol had the better image. We all knew who won. Nixon learned his lesson and was ready for the TV when he sttod again in 68 and won the election. When Thatcher became leader of the Conservative Party the image makers had to make her speak more slowly and deeper before she was electable. When Kinnock took over from Foot (a very clever man an excellent orator but dreadful on TV) they made him grip the lectern rather than wave his arms about as he was used to. Scargill lost the miners strike not because of what he said or believed (history has born that out) but because of the way he looked and sounded. So, in the modern age, image is everything.
Read what Gavin Reid said in 1969 about Archbishop Ramsey:-
"Dr A.M. Ramsey was chosen as Archbishop of Canterbury doubtless because of his experience, scholarship and humanity, but he has almost been a public relations disaster. What has saved him has been his obvious kindness and sincerity. A future Archbishop, however, must be able to handle the mass media infinitely better."
Almost forty years on and what has the church learned? Nothing.
When your predecessor damms you with faint praise- it's time to find a quiet cloister somewhere. The sooner the Church appoints York or Rochester to the top spot then the better for the wider church. Even they may not be savvy enough to cope with the modern media, but they're a darn site better than the incumbent.

What is a leader? Someone who leads.
How can you tell if you're a leader? People follow you.
I know that the church is made up of seriously flawed people who can't lead and won't follow but that's true everywhere. I thought that Christians claim to have a hot line to God, so surely they can discern true leadership quality?

I sat on a hard chair in a northern church and listened to the communication officer for a large international Christian ministry bore me rigid for almost two hours. It wasn't just my bum that was numb. I was brain dead by the end.
People (especially communication officers/PR people etc) assume that communication is all about what you say, about how you say something, about what spin (yes the church is good at spin) is put on it. But surely that's only half the story?
Surely communication is as much about what is heard as what is said?

Isn't this the nub of the problem with the Archbishop and Sharia law?
Isn't this the nub of why Christians fail to get the message across?
Too much emphasis is placed upon the delivery (or lack of it) and none on the reception.

Now all this is just shouting into the wind unless I get some feedback, so please feel free to contradict/ agree/argue or whatever.

10 February 2008 at 14:27  
Blogger The Heresiarch said...

The Coronation Oath's a bit of a muddle though, isn't it. Her Maj also promised to govern her other realms, which in those days included Pakistan and apartheid South Africa, as well as New Guinea where they were still eating each other, "according to their laws and customs".

But take Pakistan. Arguably the "laws and customs" of those of her Pakistani subjects who subsequently migrated to Britain were those of Sharia, so that by not tolerating Sharia courts she is currently in breach of her Oath, and Dr Williams was merely pointing this out in his usually clear and forthright way.

Of course, by agreeing to the advice of her ministers to sign away most of her prerogatives to the EU she is in significant breath of her Coronation Oath anyway.

10 February 2008 at 14:33  
Anonymous William Lamberton said...

I am saddened by Mary Tudor's attitude in this debate. Militant Islam in a threat to all of us whether or not we are of the Romish Church, the Episcopal tradition or the faith of John Calvin. Indeed across the channel it is a threat to the Church of Martin Luther.
I listened to what would be called the shortform version Rowan Cantaur's lecture on the BBC News and was convinced this was disaster ignoring the lessons of Islamic/Christian Conflict since the 7th Century.
The are times when the churches of Christ must work together

10 February 2008 at 15:44  
Anonymous bloody mary said...

William Lamberton said...
I am saddened by Mary Tudor's attitude in this debate.

Can't please 'em all - I just tell it like I see it. If you disagree then fine but at least argue to the points made.

10 February 2008 at 15:55  
Blogger Dave said...

Yes Islam is a threat. Why we can't come out and say it is another matter.
The current problem is a lack of unity on the Christian side. I've heard tales that the Military Police spent their time during the last war trying to stop the squaddies and the sailors from killing each other outside the pubs. They were reduced to shouting "He's not your enemy! The enemy is across the channel!" While we all fight each other the enemy is digging in. We need strong leadership in the churches (I don't mean dictatorship either. To continue the wartime theme, Churchill was a leader but not a dictator)
Martin Luther King showed that it is possible to win a war without resorting to violence. So how about a peaceful protest by refusing to obey the preposterous diversity and political correctness laws that are preventing us from speaking out in unity about the widespread slight into dhimmitude?

10 February 2008 at 16:01  
Anonymous Simon Icke said...

Dr Rowan Williams’s is the acceptable liberal Anglican Church leader despite his ineptness……..

This is not the first time Dr Rowan Williams has made a mockery of his so called leadership of one of the main stream Christian churches in England & Wales. During his five years of office he has proven himself to be completely out of touch with the feelings of the vast majority British people let alone British Christians or even the majority of Anglicans.

His muddled academic views reflect no one else's except his own and his merry band of academic liberals who live in their own little world but sadly have a disproportionate amount of power in the running of the Anglican Church. This latest faux par by the Archbishop should be the final straw and he should be encouraged to resign forthwith before he makes any more embarrassing or as this time; dangerous remarks in public. However, the woolly liberal clerics and other similar hangers on that run the Anglican Church will make sure Dr Rowan Williams clings to power, no matter how inept he is as a Christian leader not only because they have a vestige interest in the Church being led by such a weak Christian but they also couldn't bear the thought of an Evangelical Christian leading the Anglican Church, God forbid!


10 February 2008 at 16:50  
Anonymous Sir Henry Morgan said...

" Yes Islam is a threat. Why we can't come out and say it is another matter. "

I say it all the time and to anyone who will listen. It's not just a threat to the various versions of Christianity though: it's a threat to Hinduism, Judaism, Sikhism. Buddism, Satanism (an offshoot of Christianity, which invented Satan), Atheism - every ism and ist there is is threatened by Islam. At least you Christians and Jews can either convert, submit to Dhimmi status, or be killed. I'm an atheist - I'll just be killed, along with the others. How many deaths did Islam impose on Hindu and Buddhist India? Some 80 million, on top of the tens of millions of slaves transported Westwards.

I'm afraid we're going to have to slot Islam for our own sakes - whatever slotting Islam takes.

10 February 2008 at 16:59  
OpenID yokel said...

Let's go back to simple basics for a simple basic Yokel.

The Church of England professes to be a Christian church. God caused the Bible to be written. Christians believe the Bible is the Word of God. Could the Christians please be led by someone who also believes that the Bible is the Word of God?

The Bible is clear on the imperative of ONE law both for the citizen and the stranger in our midst. We do NOT need the Druid Williams to obfuscate. He'd be better off writing European Treaties, at least we all know what those are.

10 February 2008 at 17:10  
Blogger Dave said...

Reply to Simon Icke's reply
I agree (I think). Do you mean vested interests?
Vestige interests imply vestigial and I understand that to mean something else entirely (no dictionary to hand)

10 February 2008 at 17:36  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

Dr Carey says Rowan Williams "should not be forced to resign". Well, he can't be forced to resign, which, in Carey's own case, was a pity.

10 February 2008 at 19:47  
Anonymous Simon Icke said...

Yes Dave 'vested' interest, thank you!


(PS I'm looking for a proof reader, interested?)

11 February 2008 at 08:39  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

"MLK won a war without resorting to violence"go and ask the prostitutes that he beat up for fun,and if he was so "saintly" why have the FBI slapped a fifty year injunction on releasing thier reports on him.
All this boils down to the same dillema of the western world,that they would rather talk and blather than act,nit-picking is the road to inaction,and we seem to have the worlds experts in this country.

11 February 2008 at 12:05  
Anonymous irenelancaster said...

Like her namesake, Bloody Mary knows little of contemporary Christianity, and even less of contemporary Judaism. The present-day Pharisees are rabbis of every hue and as far as I see they have stayed out of this quagmire.

This is a mess of the Anglican Church's making and nothing to do with any other group.

11 February 2008 at 14:46  
Blogger Jeremy Jacobs said...

dave wrote:

"Yes Islam is a threat. Why we can't come out and say it is another matter".

Is it really a threat?

11 February 2008 at 22:48  
Blogger andrew holden said...

I don't find much in what the Cardinal says about Islam and our society that Rowan Williams would disagree with - so why is this such a big deal? Yet again enemies of the AoC are trying to misrepresent and distort.

As for not wanting multiculturalism - well that's OK but they only alternative on offer will be a totalitarian secularism. Britain is not going to endorse Roman Catholicism and even the Anglican establishment is in it's last days. If the Cardinal doesn't want the kind of multiculturalism where conscience is respected then he'll be out on a limb in a secular wasteland which will have little time for things like opt-outs for Catholic doctors and nurses vis-a-vis abortion!

16 February 2008 at 16:57  
Blogger andrew holden said...

Yet more misrepresentation and this time from a former Archbishop! Et tu Brutus - and all that. I imagine precious George would have been really thrilled if Runcie and done this sort of sniping from the ranks of the retired!

Of course the AoC was NOT suggesting support for polygammy, female circumcision, chopping off of heads, hands or feet - but to admit his argument was a little more nuanced than that would be to spoil a good story and put an end to a good bit of Archbishop bashing. My God they'll be suggesting ++Rowan should be burnt for heresy next!!!!

All he was actually arguing for, when all is said and done, was the accommodation of conscience WITHIN the law of the land. Any society that doesn't do that is verring towards totalitarianism. Supplementary jurisdictions already happen for many and Muslims have as much right to them as anyone else. This is not to set up Sharia Law within the UK because a supplementary jurisdiction (as opposed to a parallel one) is subordinate to the main jurisdiction of the Law of the Land which remains true to our more specific Christian heritage and is the guarantor of the wider human rights of all citizens.

I really would have expected former Archbishops to 'get' the importance of this - especially those who have themselves paid the price for conscience's sake!

16 February 2008 at 17:14  

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