After ten years at the helm of the Church of England, Rowan Williams will step down as Archbishop of Canterbury at the end of 2012 to accept a position at Cambridge University.
What I remember most about Williams were his remarks in February 2008 endorsing the introduction of Sharia law for Muslims in the United Kingdom because it was “unavoidable.” Williams justified his remarks in saying that some aspects of Sharia law were already being practiced in the U.K. and that Sharia courts were no different from the Beth Din established by Orthodox Jews. Except that Orthodox Jews aren’t calling for British common law to be replaced by the Halakha much less establishing zones where the Halakha is enforced. It is not uncommon for those walking the streets of London to see posters that read, “YOU ARE ENTERING A SHARIAH CONTROLLED ZONE – ISLAMIC RULES ENFORCED.” One of the rules is that all music and concerts are prohibited.
After Williams backtracked, Melanie Phillips wrote, “The man doesn’t even have the courage of his lack of convictions.” Ouch!!!
As to who will succeed Williams, well, bookies in Britain believe it will be Dr. John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York who writes a regular column in The Sun. It’s amazing what British bookies will bet on. Then again if Britain adopts Sharia law then there are no more bookies. You could say that all bets are off.
Well, it appears that Sentamu isn’t a shrinking violet. In 2006, Sentamu criticized the BBC for being too timid to be critical of Islam all the while taking liberties with Christians. He said, “They can do to us what they dare not do to the Muslims. We are fair game because they can get away with it. ‘We don’t go down there and say, “We are going to bomb your place.’ That is not in our nature.”
Sentamu, who was born in Uganda, has been a critic of Zimbabwean strongman Robert Mugabe and in 2008 called for Mugabe to be removed from power. Unfortunately, Sentamu has engaged in moral equivalence when it comes to Israelis and Palestinians. On balance, however, I think Sentamu will be more assertive than Williams in promoting Anglican values. But even if that is the case that might not translate into increased church attendance which has been steadily declining.