Grim and Appalling–Let the Debate Begin
Rowan Williams wants a debate, a vigorous public debate about what ails us in the 21st Century. Pope Benedict XVI would like that. So would Rick Warren. Debating is better than gnashing teeth in the dark recesses of one’s mind.
Okay, what kind of a debate? How about Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas? That was a vigorous public debate. Or how about Charles Sumner and Preston ‘Bully’ Brooks? Very vigorous and in public too! Freedom versus slavery! “A nation cannot exist half-slave and half-free,” said Lincoln and Bully Brooks let loose with an antebellum 9/11. The debate was settled by other means during the American Civil War.
But the issue has resurfaced on a larger scale in the 21st Century—can the modern world exist half-slave, half-free? Or should one make that three-quarters-slave and one-quarter free? Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, thinks it is time for a debate though he did not quite frame it in those terms.
Williams studied theology at Christ’s College at Cambridge and at Wadham College at Oxford. He knows more about religion than the average bootblack, probably as much as Jerry Falwell did, more than Lincoln and Sumner, more than Bill Maher and Gary Busey. He’s a theologian and an Archbishop and should be given credit for it. He is also a poet. Nothing on the order of “There was a young lady from Worcester,” but he must be pretty good because he’s won several prizes. Lincoln with his “Four score and seven years ago” and Sumner with his “I mean, the harlot Slavery” would have stood in awe of Williams’s ability to versify. But when it comes to slavery, Williams is a dunderhead. Maybe that is why he wants an open debate—so he can learn something. No one is too old to learn—not even a theologian and Williams, at least, is giving credit to where he believes credit is due.
“I think Islam has made a very significant contribution to getting a debate about religion into public life,” he told the Muslim News.
Well, it certainly has tried! The question is why it has taken the dhimmis and the Archbishop so long to respond. The July 7, 2005 London bombings would have been a great place to start. Lincoln waited till Fort Sumter and by then it was too late. Of course, Jefferson Davis was as rigid in his beliefs as Osama bin Laden, Muqtada al-Sadr, Ali Khamenei and Ali Khan in theirs. Once a debate passes the Sumter watershed things get out of hand and quite ugly.
“And I think it’s very right that we should have this debate and discussion between Muslims and Christians and others in public,” said Williams.
Yes, it is time to take the discussion out of the side streets and back alleys and the taxicabs where it is being conducted and into the light of day! It might have prevented Adrian Dubiel from being hit twice in the head with a baseball bat by Muslim cabdriver Amran Khan. It might have prevented the March 14, 2009 rape of a 16-year-old girl in an alley by an illegal immigrant from Afghanistan. It might have prevented an English cleric from being beaten up a few yards from his place of worship by Muslim youths shouting, “This should not be a church, this should be a mosque, you should not be here.” It might have prevented William Townsley’s 14-year-old pooch, Snoopy, from being stomped in a park by a gang of ’Asian’ youths. (Townsley was told, “We’ll do to you what we did to the dog.”) It might have prevented a teen-aged Army cadet from being harassed and head-butted while walking to a training session in Carter’s Green. It might have prevented the numerous death threats that forced Michael Nazir-Ali to resign as Bishop of Rochester. It might have deterred Muslim students at Queen Mary University from physically preventing Hindu students from using the school’s multi-faith center.
It might have…it might have…it might have…
Could it have prevented Anjem Choudary from saying homosexuals should be stoned to death? The chances are no. Could it have prevented Istiaq Alamgir from insulting British soldiers home from Iraq and comparing them to Nazis? Again, the chances are no. Could it have prevented 45 Muslim doctors from planning terrorist attacks on the United States? The chances are no. People far gone in hatred can be difficult to dissuade. .
Yes, it is time to get the debate about religion back into public life. There are those that can be saved from a career of ‘senseless’ violence.
But, wait, isn’t there a movement in the United Nations in the opposite direction to limit, to squelch, to shut off religious debate, to criminalize criticism of religion, especially of Islam? Didn’t the UN’s Human Rights Council approve a resolution calling on member states to provide legal protection against the very thing the Archbishop is suggesting—a free and open discussion of religion? Yes, it did!
Acts resulting in defamation of religion or inciting religious hatred could be criminalized. Someone could write an article about Mohammed and Ayesha for a newspaper and go to jail for defamation of religion or draw a picture of the Prophet and be pursued through the streets by a mob shouting “Allahu akbar” and go to jail for defamation of religion. Someone could quote from the Qur’an and be accused of religious hatred. That’s what happened to a couple of Evangelists in Australia.
From the religion of peace and tolerance:
Bukhari: V1B1N6 “Just issue orders to kill every Jew in the country.”
Qur’an: 5:37 “The (Christians) disbelievers will long to get out of the Fire, but never will they get out there from and theirs will be an enduring torture.”
Qur’an: 8:12 “I shall terrorize the infidels.”
Tabari: I:280 “ Because Allah afflicted Eve, all of the women of this world menstruate and are stupid.”
Ishaq: 489 “We are men who think there is no shame in killing.”
Kill…terrorize…no shame…defamation of religion…incitement to religious hatred. Don’t shout “Allahu akbar” in a crowded theatre. How could the Human Rights Council come to such a pass? This is not what the founders had in mind at Dumbarton Oaks in 1944.
How on earth did Rowan Williams get to be an Archbishop? Was it time in grade? Did he know somebody? Was it his poetry?
“Certain provisions of Sharia are already recognized in our society and under our law,” he said. See? It is as easy as that. There is nothing to worry about.
There is a debate going on within Islam between primitivists and modernists, says Williams, a developing system of Islamic jurisprudence. They are experiencing growing pains. “In some of the ways it has been codified and practiced across the world it has been appalling,” said Williams, “and applied to women in places like Saudi Arabia, it is grim.”
Grim! Grim and appalling! Those are the words. Townsley’s pooch, the 45 doctors, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali…grim and appalling.
It wasn’t the Harvard theologians that debated Jeff Davis, it was Abe Lincoln—and it was grim and appalling. It takes more than kind words to make a slave-master release the death grip he has on his human property. Lincoln talked about slavery; Williams is talking about religion. Old Abe would have made a better Archbishop of Canterbury.
Short URL: http://www.archive2012.faithfreedom.org/?p=5071