An Archbishop’s Folly

Once in a while, the strain of leading a large group of individuals intent on believing the unbelievable, becomes too much to bear. Mental lethargy and incompetence take over and the mind conjures weird, twisted, ideas better left to slink and suppurate in the dank, dark, cellars of the subconscious.

Britain’s Protestant Christian leader, the “Very Reverend” Archbishop Rowan Williams, known more colloquially as the “Mad Welsh Druid” or “Merlin’s Dad”, has, to put it kindly, recently flipped his lid by proclaiming Sharia law would inevitably become a part of the British judicial system.[1]


The national furore accompanying this statement has not yet penetrated the bastion of American self-indulgence that efficiently filters out happenings not directly related to matters solely US, but let me assure my American readers such outspoken statements do not ride well on the saddle of English liberalism, let alone within the citadel of conservative indulgence that passes for the Upper House of the British Parliament.

Westminster is not amused.

One result of the Archbish’s folly has been to highlight a little known fact about certain aspects of British justice – it doesn’t apply to Jews. Suddenly, the working people of Britain have for the first time been made aware of Battei Din,[2] Jewish courts covering civil issues as diverse as business and divorce. They’ve been around for centuries, but until now most Brits had no knowledge of their existence.

What’s good enough for Jews, quoth our good Archbishop, is equally relevant to Muslims.

One would find it hard to disagree with him on that point; the crux being why Jews have been allowed to circumvent the common law of the land for so long, and with apparent impunity. Why are Jewish religious courts operating in a secular kingdom with adequate secular laws and a secular civil and criminal court system established long before the Jewish Beth Din? [lit: “house of judgment”]

A common problem to arise within institutional religious organizations is the idea that somehow the only law we commoners understand is the law of their god. They argue that civil law is based on these divine rulings and as such one god’s law is as sacrosanct as another’s, at least when their officials are speaking to each other and not slitting each other’s throats.

Without a god, they say, we would be as the wild beasts, unable to socialize ourselves and conform to any regulation for the common good. The ten commandments are the pillars of our judicial system.

Of course, this concept is ridiculous. I don’t have a problem not coveting my neighbor’s wife; she’s short, fat, and eighty-two years old. Likewise, without graven images Hollywood would be out of business. And, what would Americans do if they kept the Sabbath holy and couldn’t go shopping on Sundays?

Man is perfectly capable of forming his own laws without any assistance from some mythical divinity, helped along by clerics in long dresses and toting candles. They should confine themselves to churches and leave the law of the land to secular governments.

Archbish Williams has been championing the cause of Islam in Britain of late, attempting in his own good Christian way to bridge the gap between east and west. It does seem, however, that this latest utterance is a perfect example of a bridge too far…….

The media is screaming for his blood; government ministers are muttering the “resignation” word; public opinion is straining at the leash, and – Holy Horrors! – the Church of England synod is planning an early meet to discuss the issue.

Meanwhile, Muslim leaders in Britain can barely disguise mullah-ish joy behind their jilbabs, and the rabbis continue to smirk contentedly into their Judaic whiskers.

[1] – Sharia row persists for Williams (BBC report)

[2] – Wikipedia

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6 Replies to “An Archbishop’s Folly”

  1. Can of worms, Pandora’s box, tee-hee!

    Even if the Archbishop were to resign, he has opened up the can, the box – the issue won’t go away.

    Reading about this gave me a feeling similar to watching a Harry Potter film. 😉

  2. TOB – I guess being the hotline to God can cause one to say things without feeling the need to judge the consequences. Silly man!

    Twilight – ah, but Harry Potter really could do magic. Old fogies like Williams and Ratzinger just pretend that they can.


  3. I love how some of these old toads wade in with blinkers strapped on tight and the spectacles all fogged up.
    I like to think they mean well, but that old inner cynic yawns at me.
    YAY for Pope Harry the First!

  4. WWW – I’m sure they mean well. Unfortunately, no-one sees well when they’re blinkered and with fogged up specs. Williams has been described in Britain as ‘one of the greatest thinkers in our nation’. How can he be a great thinker when his mind is closed by a mythology he insists is truth?

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