Here are some more views on the Archbishop of Canterbury‘s speech on Civil and Religious law in England: A Religious Perspective:
Ali Eteraz comment at ‘Sharia Subjects VI: Concurrent jurisdiction would be used to coerce average believers‘ at Our Kingdom
A majority of British Muslims are just fine with the legal system. They consider it an Islamic duty to obey the laws of the land. They have learned to balance the requirements of their personal faith with their public obligations and limitations. For example, when they get married they go to city hall and afterwards go to the mosque for a second ceremony. When they get divorced they go to court and then they do an Islamic divorce. If these Muslims find certain policies problematic, they participate in the political process to try and change them. This is, in my opinion, the easiest and most sensible position for Muslims to adopt. It also leads to better citizenship. The development of this position augurs well for the development of a â??minority fiqhâ?? – a jurisprudence for Muslims living in majority non-Muslim areasâ?¦.
Courts like the Islamic Sharia Council are outgrowths of local Muslim communities which, in turn, exert an enormous amount of what I call â??piety-pressureâ?? upon average believers. Subtle black-mailing and intimidation will become further entrenched if Islamic courts are given concurrent status. Sharia bullies will not only be protected by God, but by State as well, just as they are in Islamist regimes around the world. Concurrent jurisdiction for Muslims should be opposed. The position adopted by the vast majority of British Muslims is the correct one: Sharia should remain personal law. Those Muslims who do not adopt this position should be persuaded to change their views, not be compromised with.
And here is Andrew Anthony He ought to split his church from the state
If Dr Williams was seriously concerned about constitutional law and religious justice, he would look at the dwindling number of his followers in this country and call for the disestablishment of the Church of England.
Much of the grievance members of other religions and denominations currently feel stems from the privilege – state endorsement, parliamentary representation – that Dr Williams’s church conspicuously enjoys. Who can deny that the church’s special treatment looks increasingly absurd in our multicultural society? Even Dr Williams himself has acknowledged that Britain is not a Christian country in terms of “active churchgoers”. Therefore the choice on offer is either to downgrade the Church of England, or upgrade other religions. Dr Williams has made his preference obvious.
And here is Andrew Copson The archbishop adapts to survive
But it must nag at you that there is a bit of a mismatch between the power and privilege your organisation holds and the public support it has; you may find it hard to justify the position of a national church when it doesn’t any longer represent the nation. With an eye to the future, you really do need to find another way to shore up your church’s position.
Judging by the outraged reaction of so many at Rowan Williams’ comments on sharia law, there was considerable surprise that he said what he said. In fact, nothing could be less surprising. Of course Williams wishes to argue for the extension of at least some of the privileges enjoyed by his own church to other religions. [This] is the best defence the church today has for its own privileged position.
What would have been genuinely surprising would be for an archbishop to come out in favour of universal human rights and state neutrality in its dealings with each citizen, whatever their religious or non-religious convictions; for an end to the archaic privileges.
But ‘universal human rights and state neutrality in its dealings with each citizen, whatever their religious or non-religious convictions‘ is just what the Archbishop did come out for. It is what the Christian faith comes out for.
To set out the secular sphere, by distinguishing between State and Church, is the privilege given to the Christian Church. It is the task which the Church has to perform for the nation as a whole. But this task is given to the Church by Christ, not by the State through ‘establishment’. ‘Establishment’ and an ‘established’ Church merely indicate that the State acknowledges that the Church has this role, and that the State does not, which is simply to acknowledge that any State must be secular, by definition – unless it is to start making its own religious, ideological or totalitarian claims.
Clearly we still have some convincing to do. Time for a more robust account of the Christian contribution to secularity and the public square. Perhaps London needs an institute for the Church and the public square?