Tag Archives: Archbishop Canterbury

US Bishops Blamed For Anglican Discord

Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, blamed liberal North American churches for causing turmoil in the Anglican communion by blessing same-sex union and consecrating gay clergy. “If North American churches do not accept the need for a moratoria(on same sex blessings and the consecration of gay clergy)we are no further forward. We continue to be in grave peril.” He addressed his words to 670 bishops who had attended the 10-yearly gathering of clergy at the Lambeth Conference as one fourth of those attending made their anger known about what they termed to be the stifling of more conservative voices from African and Asian churches. They attacked the “patronising attitude of the west towards the rest of the churches.”

The reality for Anglicans is the presence of opposing viewpoints regarding the rights of women and those who are gays and lesbians. Churches which reflect the views of conservative African and Asian members are hostile to any attempt to allow gays or women to become clergy and they do not wish to recognize gay unions. Jon Bruno of Los Angeles expressed the view of most liberal members when he said: “I can only say that inclusion is a reality. For people who think that this is going to lead us to disenfranchise any gay or lesbian person, they are sadly mistaken.”

Gay Bishop Rips Archbishop Of Canterbury Silence

Gene Robinson, an American gay bishop, accused Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury of remaining silent in the face of attacks upon gays and lesbian members of the church. “God is very disappointed,” says Robinson, at the failure of Williams to confront critics within the church who viciously condemn gays. Robnson was asked why Williams will not speak out against figures like Peter Akinola, the virulent anti-gay leader of the Nigerian church. “You would have to ask him,” responded Robinson, “I think he will have to answer to God about that.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury has been supportive of efforts by Muslim clerics to impose Sharia law in Great Britain, but, apparently, lacks the courage to confront anti-gay elements within his own church.

Not only is God disapponted in Williams, so are thousands of his own parishoners. And, unlike God, they can vote with their feet to leave the church.

Muslim Arranged Marriage Questioned In UK

A few days after the Archbishop of Canterbury urged the people of Great Britain to allow sharia law to serve as a legal process for Muslims in the nation, the nation was shocked by revelation of a sharia decision that validated a forced marriage. Three senior judges will be asked to support or reject a lower court decision which invalidated a sharia marriage. A 26 year-old man with learning disabilities was married to a woman in Bangladesh over the telephone. His family asked the Appeals Court to set aside a lower court decision which demed the marriage illegal since it is ‘so offensive to the conscience of the English” legal system.

Perhaps, the Archlbishop of Canterbury might dismiss this example of a forced marriage as the exception to the rule, but this is a blatant example of two people being forced into a marriage against their will. The Archbishop forgets that sharia law was made by men to support the rights of men, not women. In too many cases decided by sharia courts, the male gets custody of children and women must go meekly into the night.

British Female Muslim Blasts Archbishop Of Canterbury

The recent statements by the Archbishop of Canterbury urging Great Britain to allow use of sharia law has aroused a fury of anger among many British Muslims. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, writing in the Independent, told him in clear terms why his proposal was an attack not merely on women, but on society. “What Rowan Williams wishes upon us is an abomination and I write here as a modern Muslim woman. He lectures the nation on the benefits of sharia law–made by bearded men for men– and wants the alternative legal system to be accomodated within our democracy in the spirit of inclusion and cohesion. Pray tell me sir, how do separate and impenetrablel courts and schools and extreme female segregation promote commonalities and deep bonds between citizens of these small isles?”

She criticizes Williams for telling the nation that Muslims want exceptionalism rather than equality and asks a simple question– would the Archbishop wish his daughters to be governed by such laws? Ms. Brown points out that throughout the world where sharia rules such as in Saudi Arabia women are second-class citizens. She recalls a Saudi female friend whose husband divorced her, and kept the children. Ten years ago, few Muslim women in Europe wore the headscarf, but now it is common. “Many women, gay men, and dissidents,” notes Ms. Brown, “come to Britain to escape Islamic tyrants and their laws.”

One can only wonder exactly which benefits did the Archbishop of Canterbury believe would ensue to Muslim women if a group of elderly bearded Muslim men decided divorce cases? Ms. Brown quotes a colleague, Taj Hargey, an historian and Islamic theologian: “Sharia is nothing but a human concoction of medieval religious opinion, largely archaic and outmoded and irrelevant to life today. Most sharia contradicts the letter and spirit of the Koran and distorts the transcendentl text.”

British Archbishop Expects Sharia Law!

The Archbishop of Canterbury created a firestorm of controversy when he said the introduction of sharia law for Bitish Muslims was “unavoidable.” he told a BBC audience Muslims should be able to choose whether to have matters such as marital disputes dealt with under sharia law or the British legal system. A spokesperson for Gordon Brown said concessions to sharia law could be made on a case-by-case basis.” But, Brown made clear “British law should apply in this country based on British values.” The Archbishop argued giving sharia official status would help maintain social cohesion because some Muslims do not relate to the Brtish legal system. “It seems unavoidable and, as a matter of fact, certain conditions of sharia are already recognized in our society and under our law, so it is not as if we are bringing in an alien and rival system.”

The Archbishop undoubtedly means well and is reaching out to establish friendly relations with other religions. Inherent in his ideas is the belief one can pick and choose which of the sharia laws would be OK and which would violate British law. In theory, this may appear feasible, but, in reality, it will only result in constant litigation and increase separation between groups. The Archbishop is opening the proverbial Pandora’s box. An assumption of his comments is that “British Muslims” are a group with shared views. Does such an entity exist? For example, Turkey, a basically Muslim nation, is being torn to pieces because a portion of the Muslim community is against allowing women to wear the headscarf in a university but the majority supports it.

No one can “speak for Muslims” anymore than in America one can “speak for Jews.” In a modern society groups differ within themselves and there is no mechanism to identify a single leadership who represents the entire group. Amercan Catholics are divided over issues of birth control, would a “Catholic perspective” allow the Catholic Church to decide what is policy in certain religious issues such as abortion?

If one decides to live in Great Britain then the individual has decided to abide by laws of the nation. Sorry, there is no other alternative unless one seeks to foster turbulence, confusion and violence.