Monday, February 11, 2008

Argue amongst yourself

I haven't yet commented on the Archbishop of Canterbury's truly interesting suggestion to allow the introduction of sharia into certain areas of British law. This is partly because I've been busy doing other things and partly because other people have been doing such a good job in pointing out what a absolutely Bad Idea this is.

And now, I have just found another very fine argument against his suggestion:

The problem here is that recognising the authority of a communal religious court to decide finally and authoritatively about such a question would in effect not merely allow an additional layer of legal routes for resolving conflicts and ordering behaviour but would actually deprive members of the minority community of rights and liberties that they were entitled to enjoy as citizens; and while a legal system might properly admit structures or protocols that embody the diversity of moral reasoning in a plural society by allowing scope for a minority group to administer its affairs according to its own convictions, it can hardly admit or 'license' protocols that effectively take away the rights it acknowledges as generally valid.
Yes and yes.

It is, of course, curious that this very good argument against introducing sharia derives from a rare moment of clarity in the otherwise very muddy treatise written by the good Arch B himself.

The point made there is quite fundamental, and little of the tortured, jargonistic prose that Williams musters in working his way round it is remotely convincing.

Ophelia has waded in and dragged a few of the more important fragments from the swampy muck, including the one above. Working through the original is a tough slog, one that I must admit I've not yet completed and am not sure I will.

But I wonder: when did establishment Christianity start sounding so much like post-modern waffle? Or has it always been that way and I've just not noticed?

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