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Monday, 11 February 2008

Casting The First Stone

No one wants to see people stoned in the public squares of England - though everyone does get stoned, to paraphrase one Mr. Dylan. Still, one figure has been drawn and quartered of late - Dr. Williams. It's therefore good to see the clunking fist of GB (Gordon Brown) retracted. The commentariat of London and beyond should be ashamed of themselves - England's famous tolerance for free speech seems to extend only so far - the limit being questioning Secularism's rising tide. This is the week-end, after all, which saw The Guardian distribute free copies of its Darwin booklet, with the drooling praise of Dr. Dawkins. Darwin (himself a religious man, at the end merely agnostic) is a little god now, as the patron saint of British scientism and atheism - as if he killed God with his observations. There's talk of painting a "Sistine Chapel" ceiling for him in some great museum. What I think is worth noting in all of this is what Dr. Williams really said, what really upset the apple cart, had nothing to do with multiculturalism (though that is also a taboo in some circles) but with religion itself. People seem to forget that Dr. Williams is head of a Church - not a debating society, and not a parliament. He actually stands for faith, and for theology. That is, his first principles rest on a belief in God - and also on tolerance. In all the talk of his need to tutor, train, or trim his comments (and the idea he needed better spin doctors) it should be recalled it is those who are already predisposed to deny God, or feel religion is best unheard, and barely seen, who barked first. This is a perpetual dog-whistle issue, in a British society that seeks to deny the reenchantment of the imaginary. The Secular World View (which is the mainstream) is one best-suited to survival-of-the-fittest City banking, global markets, and mass-commodification of what was once the soul, and is now merely a shopping profile. Dr. Williams has been exposed as a man of God - horrors! His crime was to believe in what he was hired to preach.
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