Monday 11 February 2008

Unsuitable for the job.

So there's been loads of fuss about the Archbishop of Canterbury's rather nasty comments about Sharia law. What particularly struck me was not so much the particularity of his argument with regard to Islam as his almost condescending attitude towards that quaint old British "equality before the law" thing:

Dr Williams said the argument that "there's one law for everybody" was "a bit of a danger"


But, at the end of the day, I'm an atheist. Williams doesn't speak for me and, let's face it, there are many matters over which he really ought to disagree with me if he's to do his job properly, starting with the existence of God and working up from there. His post is not a democratic one, and quite right too: it is often the job of religious leaders to take unpopular positions like this one. He'd have generated a controversy if he'd proposed a total ban on abortion, but that wouldn't mean he was wrong to do so. It's his job to advocate what he thinks God thinks is right, not what's popular. They are rarely the same thing.

But his job is also a political one: he's not just any old Christian, he's kind of in charge of the Church of England. So this is just totally unacceptable:

The Archbishop of Canterbury received the backing of the prime minister today as a "man of great integrity" as he prepared to address the Church of England's 550-strong national assembly and counter the furore prompted by his comments on sharia law.

Rowan Williams has torn up his original address, choosing instead to respond to the criticism he has faced since raising the questions of the possible adoption of some aspects of Islamic law in Britain. Originally he was expected to speak about the political turmoil in Zimbabwe and the ordeal of Christians living under Robert Mugabe's regime. But officials advised last night that the intense media interest prompted by his speech last week should now be challenged head-on at the opening of the synod this afternoon.

Last night Williams was still working on the revised speech.

This man gave a speech in which he claimed that the imposition of Sharia law in the UK is inevitable and probably quite a good idea, and he honestly had no idea that it would generate much of a controversy. Only days afterwards did he realise he was going to have to talk a little more about it. This is nothing but sheer bloody incompetence.

No comments: