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View Diary: Canterbury Archbishop Wants Sharia for UK Muslims (146 comments)

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  •  Sure He Is (0+ / 0-)

    Maybe Williams isn't popular. But his position shows his agenda is to increase his political and legal power over people to the exclusion of British law.

    He's got to come from further behind than the US dominionists, but that doesn't mean he isn't politically compatible with them on the basics of theocracy, even if just the thin edge of the wedge they all wield.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 11:41:48 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Williams is "old" Labour, not even "new" Labour (0+ / 0-)

      and certainly not Tory.  He is a politically liberal theologian.

      His reasons for supporting the view described here are I imagine attributable to an interest in tolerance aund understanding, not in appeal to a theocratic way of life.

      •  Medieval Labour (0+ / 0-)

        His reasons for saying what he said are that the effect would give him more power over Anglicans to the exclusion of universal law for all Britons.

        You can imagine what you want. That's how theocrats operate. The facts show objectively that Williams' policy increases British theocracy. And the facts are what show that he's really old guard, to before the Church was forced to yield to secular authority.

        And hence he's willing to admit that what he asks would allow sharia to abuse women, undermine a pillar of western democracy... His priorities clearly do not put "liberalism" at the top.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 12:38:17 PM PST

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        •  No, really (0+ / 0-)

          First, he's not asking for more power over Anglicans. He's asking for other religions to get the treatment that the C of E already gets. (so it's not even a case of piggy-backing)

          Second, I'm not 'imagining what I want'. It simply is the fact that religion is much more marginal to politics in the UK than the US.The point is not that Williams is marginal so there's no need to worry. It is that the context is so different that you've taken him to be saying something he isn't saying.

          I'm a British citizen and not a Christian - so not an apologist. And I'm a secularist too - I don't like Williams' proposals at all. But I think you've misread his agenda. He really isn't a dominionist.

          •  Which Exceptions (0+ / 0-)

            You:

            His reasons for supporting the view described here are I imagine attributable to an interest in tolerance aund understanding, not in appeal to a theocratic way of life.

            Me:

            You can imagine what you want. That's how theocrats operate.

            You:

            I'm not 'imagining what I want'.

            Yes you are imagining what you want. You're imagining Williams' reasons, which you say are to cut Muslims in on the exceptions Williams' official church gets. What exceptions are those? And why is that anything but theocracy, which should be reversed, not shared with new beneficiaries?

            As I've pointed out several times, Williams objectively said that he wants secular law to step aside in favor of religious law. You disagree with mere assertions of the reasons you imagine Williams has, but for which you have no evidence, while there's actual evidence of the contrary reasons of expanding church power - and thereby Williams' power.

            The point is not that Williams is marginal so there's no need to worry.

            No, the point is that complacency as deep as yours is exactly the fertile soil in which theocrats go. As a completely secular American, I can warn you from experience that theocrats exploit that complacency to sneak in thin edges of wedge issues to create precedents. They take the long view. Especially the Primate of a 1400 year old church like Williams'.

            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

            by DocGonzo on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 03:15:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ok I'll concede on the verbal point (0+ / 0-)

              I did indeed use the word 'imagine'.

              Now on to issues of substance. Both of us are trying to infer Williams' intentions from his words. You infer that he is trying to promote a dominionist agenda. I infer that he is trying to do something else. The article - and indeed the speech don't tell us what Williams' agenda is, and on your hypothesis, even if Williams said something about his intentions, we would do well to distrust his words.

              My inference as to Williams intentions are based on my knowledge of the context in which these remarks were made. This knowledge derives from the fact that I am a)a British citizen, who is b) fairly well informed about the politics and culture of my own country and has c) spent a considerable part of my life living in a  British city with a sizeable Muslim minority and d) while not being a member of the church of England or any other church, has been sufficiently close to people in the church working in these areas to have some idea of issues that actually arise, and where various figures stand on them.

              Your inference appears to be based on a presumed parallel between the political dynamics of Britain and the USA.I've given you some evidence that these parallels don't exist, which you don't seem to have absorbed. Fair enough, maybe it's natural for an American to assume that eveywhere is like America, and (for example) that Britain is a republic. But it ain't necessarily so.

              One way in which your misunderstandings come out is in your insistence that Williams church benefits from 'exceptions to the law'. That is simply not the case.
              Unlike in the USA, we do not have a constitutional separation of church and state. The things which the Anglican church benefits from are not 'exceptions to the law' - they ARE the law, and have been for as long as there has been a church of England (slightly under 500 years, not 1400). For example, the Education Act of 1944 required the school day to start with 'an act of worship of a predominantly Christian character'. This was not an exception to the law, it WAS the law, and continued to be the law until very recently (long after we had large Muslim communities in the UK)

              Now, there are a number of possible responses to the privileged position of the Church of England. One would be to disestablish the church - that is, to get rid of its privileged position under the law. Now oddly enough, I think the evidence suggests that this is not the best way to undermine the cultural clout of religion. Two pieces of evidence here are the situation in your own country, which has a constitutional separation of church and state, and the situation in the country I live in, Turkey, which also has a fairly heavy-handed secularist state. Its part of the conventional wisdom that no-one who was not a fairly conventionally practsising religious person could be elected in either place. In Britain, the reverse is the case: Tony Blair is the only openly religious prime minister that the UK has had in some time, and he was widely mocked for his public professions of religious belief.

              Another response would be for the Church of England to fight a last ditch battle to preserve its privileges. It simply hasn't done so, despite receiving a certain amount of encouragement to do so. This makes me think that stealth theocracy is not on the agenda.

              A third approach, is to try to make the law extend the privileged position it accords to the Church of England to other religions. So for example, the state should support Jewish and Muslim schools as well as Christian one. This has actually happened.

              I'm not a big fan of this idea. But one doesn't have to be either a stealth theocrat or complacent to see it as a productive way forward. notice that over schooling, legal accommodation with the Muslim community - for example by suspending the requirement that the daily act of worship in shools should be Christian does not involve coercion (except insofar as schooling involves coercion)

              It's not very surprising that the head of the Church of England (the legally privileged church) should not be an advocate of the first of these approaches - though I suspect that if he were a stealth theocrat he might be. (evidence: churches with theocratic tendencies have historically been supporters of a separation of church and state. That's why there are so many of them in the USA - American theocrats are the institutional descendants of people who were on the receiving end of state persecution in England for several centuries).

              Williams has in the past opted for the third approach rather than the second (he didn't for example argue for the privileged position of Christianity in British schools to be preserved when the 1944 Education was replaced). That's part of the context in which I interpret his remarks, and part of the reason why I think he's not trying to impose his beliefs on others.

              As for complacency: as things stand, an atheist can run for political office in the UK on the same terms as everyone else - not in the formal sense that we have no legal religious test, but in the sense that very few people would make their vote depend on a candidates avaowal or non-avowal of religiuous beliefs. While that remains the case, I think Britons got the right to be complacent.  

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