Thinking Anglicans

Rowan Williams visits Bethlehem

The visit of British church leaders to Bethlehem is widely reported. See for example the Telegraph report ‘Bethlehem wall’ shock for Williams. The BBC has had Church leaders in Bethlehem visit and Israel barrier saddens Archbishop. The Evening Standard has Bethlehem wall is ‘deeply wrong’ says Archbishop. The Guardian had ‘We are facing the hardest Christmas yet’.

ACNS release with excellent photos (click on them to enlarge) Church Leaders Pledge Support for Christians in Bethlehem.
Lambeth Palace release, including full text of RW’s remarks, Archbishop – Bethlehem’s troubles remembered.

Update Saturday morning
The Times has published an article by Rowan Williams published under the title Pray for the little town of Bethlehem together with a news article Christians suffer for Iraq, says archbishop, a leader Symbols and Substance and a related report ‘All my staff at the church have been killed – they disappeared’.
The Lambeth Palace press release is here: Archbishop – Middle East Christians need support.

For more material about the visit, see this special website.

For a partial transcript of this morning’s Radio 4 Today interview go here. For the BBC audio of this interview go here.

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PluralistCheryl CloughLeonardo RicardoMerseymikeGöran Koch-Swahne Recent comment authors
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Pluralist
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It is all the more devastating that a nation that embodies the misery of the ghetto has created one for a people it fears and, for many in the country, demonises. Geopolitics under Bush and Blair has been an utter disaster, and even now, despite the Iraq Study Group and its findings, Blair continues to follow his master’s voice and therefore his trip aborad achieved nothing.

Cheryl Clough
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There are tears of frustration for the whole region. Incidents where border guards behave no better than Nazi zealots. Families and communities that nurse grudges and vendettas, blind to the acts of kindness and compassion. People who fear capitulating to the other means being attacked by their own (literally) or becoming part of the disenfranchised deprived easy access to food, medicines and the things of infrastructure that many in the “modern” world take for granted. No one group is without blame. No one group has the moral high ground. All are victims. Even the perpetrators of violent acts (whether that… Read more »

Steve Watson.
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Steve Watson.

I haven’t even had a sherry but am discombobulated by Rowan Williams’ remarks. The US and Britain invade Iraq, and local Islamofascists murder or drive out Christian Arab citizens (along with untold numbers of Muslims), so it’s “our” fault? I need to go lie down …

Göran Koch-Swahne
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Who else, dear Steve?

Literally millions of people all over God’s Earth took to the streets to say that this was Evil and wrong.

It was the first World wide expression of opinion.

Didn’t impress the perpetrators very much, did it?

Merseymike
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Merseymike

Comments such as that of Steve Watson are really so unhelpful – talk about pouring petrol on the flames.

I don’t think there is any obvious solution to the situation. Having Christians speak in that sort of way is not going to bring one forward – given that both sides will need to compromise and that appears very much off the agenda at present.

Leonardo Ricardo
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Leonardo Ricardo

“I haven’t even had a sherry but am discombobulated by Rowan Williams’ remarks. The US and Britain invade Iraq, and local Islamofascists murder or drive out Christian Arab citizens (along with untold numbers of Muslims), so it’s “our” fault? I need to go lie down …” Steve I’ve not had a drink of anything stronger than flavored water for 28 years (I previously over did *it* a tad)…and my mind is boggled with this NONSENSE too…when will real/contemporary SPIRITUAL LEADERS (personally I wouldn’t include Pope JPII or Lord Carey, Jerry Falwell and their bigot chums) with popular support (mostly, even… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Leonardo commented “…serious Godly work can’t be assigned to bigots and thieves…” I was thinking about this theme yesterday and thinking that the greedy and self-righteous and power mongerers can not lead us into peace. They will only accept peace if they are in ascendancy. But when conflict comes from at least two major players (and in many parts of the world it is more a scramble to work out who the major players are at any one point), then peace can not come through military victory. Because at least one, and often more than one, can not be ascendancy.… Read more »

Pluralist
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This is the central problem, isn’t it. As everyone gets behind their own stockade, and regionalism, nationalism and religious extremism develop, what happens is that a group of clerics dressed in black go and support the Christians. Now, on the one hand, that is comfort for them, but on the other, it is more of the same stockade, like everyone keeps digging furiously. Rowan Williams’ words are, as ever, a bit of this and a bit of that, with the criticism of Western policy picked up (rightly so) but indeed religion by some in those parts is one nasty affair.… Read more »