Thursday, July 07, 2005
Checking In With the Archbishop
Remember Dr. Rowan Williams, the present Archbishop of Canterbury? He's the guy who said the Asian tsunami should make all Christians question the existence of God. "It would be wrong" if faith were not "upset" by the catastrophe, he said, adding that prayer provided no "magical solutions" to the grief and suffering experienced.
He's also the guy who, in a speech, slammed web-based media for “paranoid fantasy, self-indulgent nonsense and dangerous bigotry." He described the atmosphere on the web as a free-for-all that was “close to that of unpoliced conversation."
I remembered this guy from those stories, so I was curious what his take would be on today's bombings in London. Here, in full, is the news release that is posted on his web site.
Archbishop of Canterbury: Statement on London Terrorist Attacks
Thursday 7 July 2005
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, has spoken of his horror and grief following the explosions in London this morning. Speaking whilst on an interfaith visit to West Yorkshire, Dr. Williams said:
“The appalling events in London this morning have shocked us all. So I want first and foremost to extend my personal sympathy and condolences to everyone who is suffering and grieving at this time.
“All those caught up in this tragedy -- and that includes of course the emergency services whose selfless dedication and commitment is so vital at times like this -- all are in my own prayers and in the prayers of a great many people.
“As it happens I have spent this morning with Muslim colleagues and friends in West Yorkshire; and we were all as one in our condemnation of this evil and in our shared sense of care and compassion for those affected in whatever way.
“Such solidarity and common purpose is vital for us all at this time of pain and sorrow and anger.
“We in the faith communities will have to continue to stand and work together for the well being of our nation and for our shared understanding of the life that God calls us to. I hope that we shall all keep that vision alive at this deeply sad and testing time.”
Excuse me. Do I, as a Christian, have a "shared understanding of the life that God calls us to" with the people who most likely committed these acts of terrorism in the name of their religion? Can I "stand and work together" with people who believe God smiles down on them for blowing the lid off a crowded bus?
If these Muslim pals of the Archbishop are truly against what happened today -- and I hope they are -- then they need to do more than just agree with him, in effect, that "This is sad. Let's talk to each other more." Those Muslims need to speak out and pointedly disavow the actions of any cult, religious faction, movement or government that condones terrorism. And if, indeed, this bombing ends up being linked without question to al Qaeda, then these agreeable Muslims need to speak out specifically against al Qaeda, in my humble opinion.
The Archbishop is right about one thing, though. This is a "sad and testing time," for sure. The ones who are sad are those who value freedom and see this as a slaughter, not an act of heroism. And the thing being tested is their patience.