Weasel Words

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THE SPINE FEBRUARY 12, 2008

Weasel Words

 The Archbishop of Canterbury sure did make a mess the other day when he pronounced his divine insight that British law should in some instances defer to Shari'a law. Of course, he never quite stipulated in what areas he was so eager for Commons to devolve its powers to the mullahs.  And, moreover, he never quite explained who would decide which of Shari'a's multiple fiats were to be imposed on Muslim inhabitants of Britain and how this would be decided.  What about corporal punishment of wives and women...and children, for that matter?  I assume that "honor killings" of wives and daughters and cousins and of gays, in general, would still be frowned upon by the church. But, still...In any case, the immediate response from the religious and secular public was either incomprehension or outrage. Somehow, the Brits understood that what was being traduced by the Reverend Rowan Williams -- oh, so casually and oh, so vaguely -- was the tremendum of English law. It is, of course, no longer surprising that the mainstream Protestant churches no longer see themselves as bearers of honorable traditions. But what do they do to their own history and legacies is their own business.

So why not go back to the old compromise between church and state?  The church should stick to its own business. It certainly should not trample onto the ground where society and Islam are in struggle.Oh, yes, the ruling body of the Anglican Church met yesterday and gave cheer to the archbishop.  According to an article in Tuesday's FT, the archbishop then took "responsibility for any unclarity...and for any misleading choice of words that has helped to cause distress or misunderstanding among the public at large and especially among my fellow Christians." This is the usual weasel wording of someone who has been forced to retract something in which he deeply believes. But he did not mention Shari'a law again. Bless the Lord.

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