Rowan Williams’ Dismissial of Western Christians’ Persecution is Premature

The man who couldn’t stay ahead of the realities of the Anglican Communion is a little behind the curve on this one too:

Lord Williams said religious believers should be wary of complaining about their treatment in the Western world, with those claiming they are “persecuted” making him “very uneasy”.

He added the level of “not being taken very seriously” or “being made fun of” in Britain and the United States is not comparable to the “murderous hostility” faced by others in different parts of the world.

Williams, like many on both sides of the debate, is evidently working under the assumption that things will stay the way they are in the West about human rights.  That’s simply not a given:

  1. The whole state of human rights in the West is undergoing profound changes that few understand, although the recent revelations about the NSA (and its counterparts in the UK are busy, too) should put everyone on notice about this.  The centralisation of wealth and the fear of terror have eroded rights in ways that many simply choose to ignore, but that doesn’t mean the problem isn’t real.
  2. Real Christianity is something that those in the upper reaches have never had much use for, and could more easily ignore if it weren’t for those pesky things called elections.  Thinking about the upper reaches, same have generally had two policies on the subject: they either manage the religion (and the Church of England is the management par excellence, which explains a lot of what the Anglican Communion has been about) or end it, as the third century Roman Empire tried to do.
  3. The ability of the modern state and its pliant media to use social pressure to bully people should never be underestimated.  I noticed that Sojo thinks Williams is right; they should objectively consider the experience of their own Jim Wallis with the LGBT community, the current vanguard of our elites.

When pushed, Williams himself will admit that the current government isn’t helping matters:

“Their fears may be exaggerated because few in the UK are actually persecuted, but the Prime Minister has done more than any other recent political leader to feed these anxieties,” he said…

He added “many Christians” doubted the sincerity of Mr Cameron’s pledge to support their rights, with a recent poll showing two-thirds believed they are now part of a “persecuted minority”

Well they should doubt Cameron’s sincerity, or that of his counterparts on this side of the Atlantic.  For someone not given to bold statement, Lord Williams should think twice before criticising those who are more prescient than he.

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