Tuesday, 31 October 2006

more on what RW said about veils

Last Saturday’s opinions linked here included Rowan Williams writing in The Times that A society that does not allow crosses or veils in public is a dangerous one.

On Sunday, he was interviewed by Roger Bolton on the radio. You can listen here (7m 21s Real Audio).

When Dr Rowan Williams returned to the UK after his visit to China, he said he felt he had stepped into the middle of what felt like a general panic about the role of religion in society. He wrote in the Times that “The proverbial visitor from Mars might have imagined that the greatest immediate threat to British society was religious war, fomented by “faith schools”, cheered on by thousands of veiled women and the Bishops benches in the House of Lords”. …Roger asked him whether it really felt like that.

Yesterday, Andrew Brown wrote about the article on Commentisfree. Read Respect underwritten by fear.

Ruth Gledhill wrote about this also, see Loving religion, til China and Europe meet.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 31 October 2006 at 12:58pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

Ruth Gledhill mentioned that ABC had been criticized for failing to meet or advocate on behalf of the underground church.

One of my observations in the last few months is that certain parties are quick to scream censorship and repression when their agenda can not be openly and easily communicated. But there are groups that then quickly act to squash and discourage dialogue within their own spheres of influence. This gives an impression that it is not censorship that they are concerned about, but that they are the ones being censored.

This leads into some other contemplations that there are parties calling on scriptural authority based on legalistic precedents laid down over the centuries. There have been multiple moves on multiple fronts to orchestrate "blocked ears" resistance to discussions on inclusion and tolerance, accountability to Creation or the poor, fairness to women and minorities, visions of how to live cooperatively in pluralistic societies. Even justifying laws that would imprison souls for five years, simply for advocating on the behalf of others.

If we take a legal perspective, we see that in countries such as Australia, the UK and the US we have the idea of a Supreme Court. The idea being that there are times where the way the law has been interpreted is seen as unjust and the parties appeal to this higher authority. I remember getting a high distinction for one university paper where I posited that Australia's High Court can influence how the constitution is interpreted, where the precedent is required. (A dramatic example is the ex-Prime Minister Menzies' first legal case when he was fresh out of law school).

Back to our current issues, if the millennium since Jesus' life and crucifixion have seen waves of Christians being oppressed or oppressing (the word pogrom springs to mind), then maybe there is a problem with the precedents that have been established. If we find ourselves complaining about being the victim or then going on to be the persecutor, then may be our scriptural interpretations need a breath of fresh air.

Those who are resisting on the basis of historical precedent are asking us to remain with paradigms that inevitably evolve into oppression. It is time to recognize that evolving pattern, and set a new precedent, appealing to a higher authority than conservative mediocre representation has given us to date.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Tuesday, 31 October 2006 at 5:07pm GMT
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