In all of the furor over Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams’ remarks on Shar’ia law in the UK, one backwash many people in the West forget is the impact it will have on Christian-Muslim relations in places such as Nigeria. As David Virtue points out in his most recent newsletter:
Most British pundits viewed Williams’ words from within the context of the CofE, failing to see the impact of his words on the Global South. People are going to die in northern Nigeria for what Williams has said. He has no concept of the impact of his words. Public statements have public consequences. Just ask Archbishop Ben Kwashi of Jos what will happen in the next few months. With a foot in the British legal system, Muslims will demand more. That is exactly what has happened in Nigeria and that is why Williams’ words are dangerous, stupid and threatening. Williams hasn’t figured out that you can’t make statements as though you were an academic making chatter at high table at Oxford or Cambridge or writing articles for obscure journals read only by fellow scholars. He is not. He is the leader of 55 million Anglicans worldwide. What he says affects us all. It is VOL’s view that his words will come back to haunt him and us.
One thing it has done is to cement the view that GAFCON organizers have it right. Their distrust of Williams has been reinforced. They will say, with greater urgency and more loudly, that orthodox Anglicans don’t need to go through Canterbury to get to Jesus. GAFCON will draw a minority of bishops, but they will represent a majority of the Anglican Communion, as much as 75% or more thus, in effect, kissing off Lambeth and saying, without exactly saying it, that the Anglican Communion as we now know it is no more.
The Africans’ rejection of TEC’s sexual agenda (along with a lot of other things) isn’t just about power, as many on the left are wont to think. It’s about survival. Given all of the choice between the pastiche that comes with being part of the Anglican Communion and survival at the hands of angry Muslims, it’s not a difficult choice. Looked at another way, if you’re going to die for the faith, die for the faith, not some concoction dreamed up by liberals with more money than brains.