Friday 2 April 2010

Well said, Archbishop

...and that's not a headline you'll often see on this blog. But the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has actually said something quite sensible. In his Easter ecumenical letter, he draws attention to the very real persecution of Christians in some parts of the world, describing the 'butchery, intimidation...and harrassment' suffered by believers in places such as Egypt, Mosul, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. This continuing reality, said Williams, should remind Christians who live in 'more comfortable environments' of the need 'to keep our own fears in perspective': 'It is all too easy, even in comfortable and relatively peaceful societies, for us to become consumed with anxiety about the future of Church and society'.

Coming only days after senior Church of England figures, including Williams' predecessor George Carey, sent a letter to the Sunday Telegraph complaining that Christians in Britain were being discriminated against, the Archbishop's statement is seen by some as a rebuke to religious leaders who encourage this kind of persecution complex and victim mentality. Instead, citing the example of murdered Salvadorean archbishop Oscar Romero, Williams suggested high-profile Christians would do better to use their influence to defend the rights of the poor and campaign for political change.

So two cheers for the Archbishop of Canterbury. There'll be a third cheer when he follows the logic of his own thinking, joining the dots to realise that almost all the examples of real persecution that he cites happened in countries dominated by one faith and where there is no separation between religious and secular law. Whereas what he describes as more 'comfortable' environments for believers tend to be those in which liberal secularism holds sway. Perhaps he'll remember that next time he's tempted to call for the introduction of Sharia in Britain.


Minnie said...

I cheered x 3 (but then I would do that, wouldn't I ;-)?).
Excellent post, Martin - well said. One of the things I appreciate about local chaplain is that he makes a point of referring to Christians who are persecuted in countries dominated by, er, A N Other religion in his homilies/ prayers. The perspective is much-needed,so Archbishop Rowan's speech is an important one.
O/T, but have just had link to my blog (Holocaust Memorial day post, which you yourself linked to) from crazed Christian fundamentalist in Portland, Oregon, who has gone on the attack (on the assumption that I must be Jewish since I acknowledge that memorial day)! While I'm perfectly happy to be mistaken for such, it happens to be untrue. But. You. Could. Not. Make. It. Up ... (sigh). Proof positive these people don't (?can't) read: in the post I say my additional means of marking the day is by going to Mass. Bit of a clue there, non? Apols for rant, M. Er, happy holidays to you & the Marginalia.

Martin said...

God save us from fundamentalists of all stripes, eh, Minnie? That's my prayer this Good Friday. Best wishes of the season (spiritual or secular, however you choose to take it) to you and yours too.

Minnie said...

Cheers, Martin - couldn't think of a better theme myself!
Oh, and I forgot to add that I both liked and agreed with your elegant extension of the logic of The Beardy One's address. It really is the only solution.
Bonne fete!