The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams argued recently for a ‘modified’ Sharia law for Muslims in Great Britain.
What does he mean exactly? On the surface it puts everyone’s knickers in a knot, but it leads the way to other kinds of questions. How does anyone in the West consistently follow their religion in a culture of pluralism? The Archbishop is not foolish enough to think that Britain is a Christian nation (despite what is ‘on the books’), and it is certainly not a Muslim nation–so what is it? A secular nation.
In the West, how does a Muslim follow the Koran, how does a Jew follow the Torah, how does a Christian follow the Gospel without all kinds of state and cultural interference? I think this is what Rowan is wrestling with, he is not trying to make Britain an Islamic state.
2 thoughts on “Sharia, Torah…?”
What he actually said in his lecture (the only sentence with the word ‘unavoidable’):
“It is uncomfortably true that this introduces into our thinking about law what some would see as a ‘market’ element, a competition for loyalty… But if what we want socially is a pattern of relations in which a plurality of divers and overlapping affiliations work for a common good, and in which groups of serious and profound conviction are not systematically faced with the stark alternatives of cultural loyalty or state loyalty, it seems unavoidable.”
Discussion about what he said.
Lots of stuff to think about here. I could write a long essay on this subject. One point: I think we can say that our law is superior, without saying that we are superior. If an Islamic woman is about to be beaten, or raped, or genitally mutilated, then she must be protected by our western, secular, superior in this regard, law. If this woman is told to handle it within her community, where she will not be protected, then this is outrageous, and a denial of the gospel of Christ.
Lots to think about.