Friday, April 18, 2008

Middle East Christians becoming ‘museum pieces’

While the Pope is busy doing his Broadway stint on the world stage, Cranmer is delighted to learn that the Archbishop of Canterbury has been filling the spiritual void in Westminster Cathedral left by Tony Blair and Mark Thompson, and has delivered a lecture on ‘The Spiritual and the Religious’.

All good stuff – a bit of Bono, a mention of secularism, a nod at politics, rationalism and transcendence, with a hint of free-market religion as a logical consequence of Protestantism, a reminder of the centrality of the Eucharist, a wave to Herr Ratzinger and his ‘ecclesial communities’, all built on the foundation of a repudiation of violence and the imperative of love.

But all of this will be quickly forgotten by all who attended, and completely overlooked by the media. While the former prime minister and the Director General of the BBC had the content of their lectures broadcast far and wide, the Archbishop of Canterbury will be largely ignored, not because his speech was incomprehensible or obscure, but because he is Anglican.

As if to prove Cranmer’s point, The Daily Telegraph mentions not a word of his lecture, but instead focuses on comments made before he gave his address, in which he spoke passionately of the plight of Christians in the Middle East.

And these were no fence-sitting, pussy-footing, beating-around-the-bush kind of comments either. Dr Williams noted that ‘Christians had traditionally played a leading role in social, cultural and intellectual change in the Middle East’, and that now they are increasingly seen as a ‘foreign and aggressive presence’ as a result of British and American foreign policy.

Cranmer will set aside Dr Williams’ perceived cause (though it is not, of course, unrelated), because the Archbishop forthrightly spoke of an extremist form of ‘unfriendly’ Islam which is ‘filling the void left after the peak of Arab nationalism’. There was now a risk that the Middle East could become religiously ‘monochrome’, dominated by this form of Islam, and this would render the region’s historic Christian communities nothing more than ‘museum pieces’.

Dr Williams continued: ‘The indigenous Christian community throughout the region has suffered from being associated with the American global project, and indeed the British global project as part of the American global project. There is an urgent need for people in the UK to wake up to the fact that Christians in the Middle East are living through a time of change more dramatic and more costly than anything that has been seen for a thousand years and more. There is a quiet but numerically huge exodus of Christians, especially but not exclusively educated Christians, from the whole region. The remaining Christian communities are left exposed to violence or extremism in many countries, and the societies they live in are deprived of some of their most creative and resourceful citizens.’

He added that Christian communities in the ancient heartlands of faith often ‘felt ignored or forgotten by their Western fellow Christians’.

Quite so, quite so.

And Christian communities in England often feel ignored or forgotten by their fellow English Church leaders.

12 Comments:

Blogger The Heresiarch said...

Woolliams: The indigenous Christian community throughout the region has suffered from being associated with the American global project, and indeed the British global project as part of the American global project.

Oh dear, oh dear. Even when he seems to grasp the point, he misses the point. Woolliams spent the first several years of his archiepiscopate steadfastly ignoring the plight of middle-east Christians, preferring instead to concentrate on the suffering of veiled Muslim women at the hands of Jack Straw. And now, when (having visited the place) he has been forced to recognise that Christians in the Middle East aren't having a particularly good time of it, what does he do? He blames the Americans. And the British.

Of course, Christians in the Middle East were being oppressed long before the invasion of Iraq. But because there wasn't a convenient blame-the-West angle to the story, Woolliams couldn't give a damn. Now he does give a damn, but he still can't bring himself to apportion blame where it belongs. For those of his cast of mind, it just doesn't compute.

I hope His Grace will feel able at some stage to remember me in his prayers, as it were.

Yours, H.

18 April 2008 at 10:15  
Blogger Dark_Heretic said...

Your Grace,

The Heresiarch seems to have hit the proverbial nail on the head. How sad an indictment it is when those who are meant to stand up, be counted and lead us; cannot or simply will not.

Dark Heretic

18 April 2008 at 11:56  
Anonymous silas marner said...

"There is an urgent need for people in the UK to wake up to the fact that Christians in the Middle East are living through a time of change more dramatic and more costly than anything that has been seen for a thousand years and more. There is a quiet but numerically huge exodus of Christians, especially but not exclusively educated Christians, from the whole region. The remaining Christian communities are left exposed to violence or extremism in many countries, and the societies they live in are deprived of some of their most creative and resourceful citizens."

Sound like what's been happening in Britain for the past 30-40 years. Would it be too much to ask Dumbledore to give a speech about Britain's Exodus?

18 April 2008 at 12:26  
Anonymous Cinnamon said...

"the Archbishop of Canterbury will be largely ignored, not because his speech was incomprehensible or obscure, but because he is Anglican."

No, the man is a fool and it becomes apparent the moment he opens his mouth, that is why he is widely ignored, no-one likes listening to a certified idiot.

And he might look like a bishop, but he doesn't act like one. The shepherd bit is not only about leading the sheep, it's also about fending off the wolves.

18 April 2008 at 12:39  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

When this fool was in pakistan,groveling and apologising for the crusades,as a result of the natural disaster in kashmir,Christians were being forcibly evicted from thier homes to make way for dispossessed muslims,he said not a word in thier defence,yet now from the safety of lambeth palace he is all mouth,it is high time that we had another bonfire.

18 April 2008 at 12:40  
Anonymous Vincent McKenzie said...

He is obviously taking different medication these days. Short term memory loss really is a swine.
Humble apologies once again Your Grace, but just another self righteous pig, and bastard that refuses any responsibility for the present shambles.

18 April 2008 at 14:27  
Blogger dizzyfatplonka said...

Secularism in its truest form would make an ideal world, let politicians live by their beliefs seperate from the rest of us.

Why should they be allowed to force their beliefs on everyone else but religions can't.

I would prefer to live in a Nation of spiritual people than a Nation of politicians anyday!

Not a theocracy mind you, a theocracy is a religion hijacked by politicians.

18 April 2008 at 14:39  
Anonymous John Jones said...

I have just read that article and it bears no relevance to mine or anybody else's life in the world of employment, bills, debt, speeding cameras, council tax, terrorism, pensions, tax credits, alcohol abuse, feral kids, drug addicted morons, inflation, interest rates, job security, schools, children, illness, NHS incompetence, etc etc etc.
Who exactly is supposed to relate to the ramblings of this fool? Maybe he should stop reading sociology books and try delving into the Bible? He might even convert to Christianity, God knows, we sure could do with a Church leader right now.

18 April 2008 at 15:00  
Anonymous woman on a raft said...

Obliquely related: h/t politics home for flagging the Reuters story that Spiritualists have been protesting to the government about new consumer rules which are to be applied to them.

Spiritualists say they are a religion and that should not come under consumer regulation. Regardless of what one might think of the adherents and the associated new-agers which often seem to appear in the same venues, it is worth asking if this is a further attack on faith.

'The British Humanist Association, a charity which campaigns against religion and supernatural beliefs, said stricter regulations were overdue because the current laws don't work. "It is misleading for spiritualists to claim that, as ‘religious' practitioners they should not be regulated under consumer laws," said Chief Executive Hanne Stinson.'

Leaving the jokes for someone else, if the spiritualists have to carry the burden of proof as defendants - not prosecutors, who normally carry it - then the same rules are in place to apply to any church. It looks like the BHA would be only to happy to oblige Canterbury to describe itself as holding 'performances' unless it can prove, in court, the existence of and communication with, God.

18 April 2008 at 17:09  
Anonymous Jill said...

It would seem that The Telegraph's Religion Correspondent, Jonathan Petre, has been sacked. This could account for there being no mention in the Telegraph!

18 April 2008 at 19:04  
Anonymous hear o isael said...

your grace
he makes a point but the wrong way round for me , so called peacefull islam , you know the faith that preaches respect and tolerance , has been furnishing armed gangs to loiter outside iraqi churches , trying to snuff out the older churchs goverment power in the lebanon.

I keep waiting for the day when the owness is on islam to show us it is not the medieval rooted cult of hate with force of arms, that it seems to transform itself into at the drop of a hat .

the american project was a reaction to 9/11 , 9/11 was in turn an attack for an involvement in the middle east in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

for a religion that supposedly brought some enlightenment , it s clerics seem all to keen to worship lead and semtex before dialogue .

i can remeber when T.Blair sent and uk islamic cleric peace envoy to iraq , within a short time he was shot and dismembered, one of there own faith!!

they just add to the view that islam is nothing without suicide death bringers , tanks and proclaiming that all will submitt willingly or not to allah .

FITNA is a signpost for both christianity and islam , the clerics bury there heads , and do not criticise.only a substantive movement by the clerics to try and stop the poison would be a way forward .

wether they can see the benefit of the christ is another matter , but the bishop raises an important issue to offer prayer for, the very people of the very cradle of my faith , whose ancestors spread it throughout the meditereanian , we should feel for there peculiar suffering !!

18 April 2008 at 20:07  
Blogger Jeremy Jacobs said...

Wow, The Archbishop worrying about Christians in the Middle East without blaming Israel. That must be a first.

19 April 2008 at 01:26  

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