He did not favor having criminals judged and punished under Islamic law. He did not favor having two parallel judicial systems, one for Muslims and the other for everyone else. He did not favor denying rights to Muslim women that they enjoy under British law.
Posted by Thomas J. Reese, S.J., on February 17, 2008 11:51 PM
In high school, the Jesuits taught me that to find a principled answer to any question, it had to be stood on its head. So, before responding about Islamic law, we ought to ask first if U.S. law should make room for Christian teachings?
Posted by Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo, on February 17, 2008 10:17 PM
We do not believe that any religious society has authority to try men on the right of property or life, to take from them this world's goods, or to put them in jeopardy of either life or limb, or to inflict any physical punishment upon them.
Posted by Michael Otterson, on February 17, 2008 7:31 PM
But the assertion that some commentators have made that the archbishop simply proposed a separate legal system for the followers of Islam, without reference to, and apart from, the great and ancient tradition of English common law, is, intentionally or unintentionally, a distortion of what he actually said.
Posted by Mark S. Sisk, on February 15, 2008 9:31 AM
Religious leaders often become giant projections screens for everyone’s anxieties and fantasies. That proved to be true last week when Rowan Williams waded into the multi-faith cauldron that is currently boiling in England.
Posted by William Tully, on February 15, 2008 9:17 AM
I can understand why the Archbishop of Canterbury was shocked by the reactions to his lecture from the British Prime Minister and many commentators. Their remarks cause me to wonder if they read his statement in its entirety.
Posted by Jane Holmes Dixon, on February 15, 2008 8:11 AM
I have read carefully the Archbishop of Canterbury’s words and believe that he muddled them. I don’t believe any responsible Christian leader would ever propose trying to mix Anglo-American jurisprudence with the law of a regressive theocratic movement.
Posted by Charles "Chuck" Colson, on February 14, 2008 10:23 AM
The best way we as Americans can be genuinely more respectful of the increasing religious pluralism in our midst is to maintain a strict separation of church and state, mosque and state, synagogue and state.
Posted by Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, on February 14, 2008 9:45 AM
The architects of the American experience chose to create a nation based on secular law as the only way to ensure that no religion ever could impose its laws on those with different beliefs, whether religious or not.
Posted by Welton Gaddy, on February 14, 2008 7:13 AM
The communities that push for religious law, generally speaking, offer far fewer protections and rights to women than we enjoy under secular American law. Are we willing to accept second class status for some American women?
Posted by Pamela K. Taylor, on February 13, 2008 9:36 AM
The suggestion that British law should, in certain instances, recognize the authority of Islamic religious courts is the most politically destructive, anti-secular, and legally indefensible statement by a western religious leader in recent history.
Posted by Susan Jacoby, on February 13, 2008 7:49 AM
The question of how we live together as a civil and wise society while cherishing different faiths is a deep and serious one and can’t be pushed away just because people take fright at certain misunderstandings.
Posted by Nicholas T. Wright, on February 13, 2008 6:36 AM
In fact, Archbishop Rowan Williams was not calling for implementation of Shariah law but simply signaling the need for addressing/discussing a question/issue that is inevitable. Muslims should have the same rights and choice that Orthodox Jews and Catholics already enjoy.
Posted by John Esposito, on February 12, 2008 2:30 PM