February 08, 2006

Church of England: "We are Sorry"

The Church of England has officially “apologized” for the slave trade. According to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams it was “necessary.” This might come off wrong, but was it really so?
Debating the motion, Rev Simon Bessant, from Pleckgate, Blackburn, described the Church's involvement in the trade, saying, "We were at the heart of it."

Perhaps Bessant forgot that the “Church” was also at the heart of abolition movements. One needs to look no further then Englishman William Wilberforce for examples of Christians at the front line of abolition. Does that mean there were not moral failures by Christians over time? Of course there were, but how the Church was at the “heart” of the heartless practice of slavery, I still don’t’ understand. I suppose Bessant is referring to Church of England being in the heart of the matter, not the Christian Church in general. But remarks from Rowan Williams would seem to confuse that.
He said: "The body of Christ is not just a body that exists at any one time, it exists across history and we therefore share the shame and the sinfulness of our predecessors and part of what we can do, with them and for them in the body of Christ, is prayer for acknowledgement of the failure that is part of us not just of some distant 'them'."
How do we have the right, much less the responsibility to apologies for certain Christian’s actions? Actions mind you in volition of the “Law of Christ” --- certainly putting horrible burdens on others, and not loving your brother as yourself --- in no way fulfills the law of Christ.

It’s not our place, we weren’t the offending party. We can however recognize the appalling practice, and keep it from ever resurfacing again (or even better do more to stop the current sex-slave trades around the world.) Why don’t they focus on (and act! not just talk about) that real, and present problem?


At March 08, 2006 8:48 AM, Blogger Billy V said...

I do agree with you about the church being such a driving force in the anti-slave movement. The Southern Baptist issued a similar apology about ten years ago and I whole heartedly agree with it. It was quite scandalous to me when I realized that the SBC was formed over the issue of slave holding (the SBC being more pro side, being the ones who had the slaves). I did not participate in slave holding 200 years ago, but as one who was identified with them at the time, I thought the apology was right on the mark (and about 100 years late)


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