Why won’t Archbishop Williams stand up to bigots?

Why does Rowan Williams bow down before those belligerent African Anglican bishops and their conservative supporters who view homosexuality as “unnatural” and a “sin”? By doing so he is not only betraying the spiritual welfare of gay Anglican communicants but also undermining any claims his church has to be established asks Will Self in The Evening Standard, UK.

The Archbishop may assert that there is scriptural authority for the denial of equal opportunities to gay Anglicans, yet this is the same Old Testament fundamentalism that leads to denying the discoveries of Galileo or Darwin – not something he subscribes to at all. Besides, his is an explicitly political church – he owes his own appointment to a prime minister – and Britain is a nation where gay rights are enshrined in law, including the right to same-sex union. If Dr Williams wants his church to remain the official state religion in this country, he and his male bishops should get with the programme when it comes to the full recognition of women and homosexuals, instead of insisting that there be a moratorium on any further ordinations of openly gay priests, let alone – gulp! – women bishops.

But, most worryingly, the Archbishop’s position gives ammunition to those regimes where institutionalised homophobia and misogyny have truly tragic consequences. Two of the bishops who’ve been vocal in their lambasting of the liberals hail from Uganda and Nigeria, states where punitive laws against homosexuals are still on the statute book: a man was sentenced to death for being gay by sharia courts in northern Nigeria only last month

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  1. Richard Lyon

    It’s not just a matter of Rowan Williams trying to placate the Africans. In the UK he publicly supported the Roman Catholic archbishop is his drive to obtain an exception to equal rights law that applied to gay adoption. The notion that he is a closet liberal who is just seeking unity in the Anglican Communion really doesn’t hold up.

  2. Paul Woodrum

    The same needs to be asked of our American and Canadian bishops who seem to keep gulping the Canterbury Kool-Aid. So far the strongest word I’ve seen used to describe the ABC’s support of bigotry is “troublesome.”

    Or maybe like Chamberlain and Churchill +Rowan is devoted to preserving his last little vestige of the Second British Empire, a true colonizer for Queen and country to the end.

  3. B. Snyder

    I’m sorry, but: nobody has “stood up to bigots.”

    Except for the Anglican Church of Canada, not one national Church in the Anglican Communion has disassociated itself from the actions of the Primate of Nigeria, for instance, when he attempted to get his gay countrymen jailed – people who had committed no crime.

    Not one. So let’s not point the finger at Rowan Williams. The Anglican Communion is the problem, not Rowan Williams.

  4. Episcopalians need to accept that our church now lives in a post-Anglican world. Williams ran Lambeth just as he wanted. What’s next is a mysterious doctrinal statement called the “Covenant,” acceptance of which will determine which national churches are “good friends” with Canterbury and which are “historic but distant friends.” General Convention is unlikely to approve whatever Covenant comes about, which will put us in the “distant” (post-Anglican) category.

    This may be a good thing if it allows us to refocus on mission and our own American traditions, rather than being stuck with centuries-old Anglophilia. We need to empower our own Native American, Spanish-speaking, African-American and Asian ministries, without leaving behind our legacy as America’s First Church. We can also do a lot more with our Latin American partners who continue to stand with us.

    Lambeth has never been important to the people in the pews; this one wasn’t, and if another one is ever held (I doubt it), that one won’t be either. Why should we send 600 bishops on carbon-spewing, oil-burning airplanes, when the whole thing can be done by video conference? The retreat and renewal aspect can be held in our own monasteries.

  5. B. Snyder

    Second try at posting this.

    I’d like to point out that no church in the Anglican Communion, with the lone exception of the Anglican Church of Canada, had anything at all to say about Peter Akinola’s attempt to imprison innocent gay people (and anybody who supported them) in Nigeria. The sound of silence from Anglicans the world over was deafening.

    So it might be convenient to blame Rowan Williams for his “bigotry” – but Rowan Williams is really not the problem. The Anglican Communion is the problem.

  6. All the brilliant clergy in our Anglican World can use the simple words of Rodney King:

    “Can’t we just get along.”

    (words that came from someone who was almost beaten to death by “officials” sounds a bit like “love them anyway” by Bishop V.G. Robinson)

    Yes, sit them all down and announce that we’re going to “all get along.”


    (if you don’t want to do “love us anyway,” we’ll save a place for you at the Communion rail)

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