|The Archbishop And Islam
||[Feb. 12th, 2008|08:30 am]
The Archbishop of Canterbury is a beardy, religious guy. When he speaks about sharia law becoming "unavoidable" in Britain and "clarifies" this remark by looking forward to "a helpful interaction between the courts and the practice of Muslim legal scholars in this country" he's standing up for beardy religious guys everywhere.
His defenders go on about him being a deep thinker (he's certainly not a clear one) but his instinct that beardy religious guys should stick together (or to use his own language, that "it is not inappropriate for a pastor of the Church of England to address issues around the perceived concerns of other religious communities") is shallow.
Anglicanism and Islam belong to different worlds. An Anglican theologian- like the Archbishop himself- is a product of the Reformation and the Enlightenment and has been required by his training to question and test his faith; the Muslim theologian isn't and hasn't. The similarities- beards, robes, bookisness- are all on the surface; the differences- core beliefs and intellectual methods- are- or should be- fundamental.
But the archbishop makes a habit of siding with closed minds against open minds. He's also done it in the argument in his own communion over gay priests. His speech to synod- which I've quoted above- goes on to criticise the Episcopal Church of America as "patronising... manipulative (and) insensitive" for appointing a gay bishop but has nothing to say against the gay-bashing clergy of West Africa.
There's a name for this atavism- when an intellectual chooses to side with the enemies of his own high culture. It's this- trahison des clercs.