Politics, news, libertarianism, Science Fiction, religion, sewing. You got a problem, bud? I like sewing.
E-mail: nataliesolent-at-aol-dot-com (I assume it's OK to quote senders by name.)
Back to main blog
Jane's Blogosphere: blogtrack for Natalie Solent.
( 'Nother Solent is this blog's good twin. Same words, searchable archives, RSS feed. Provided by a benefactor, to whom thanks.
I also sometimes write for Samizdata and Biased BBC.)
The Old Comrades:
November 2001 December 2001 January 2002 February 2002 March 2002 April 2002 May 2002 June 2002 July 2002 August 2002 September 2002 October 2002 November 2002 December 2002 January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 August 2007 October 2007 February 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 March 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 October 2009 January 2010 March 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 April 2011 June 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Of some relevance to our current debate is the recent vote by the Church of England to apologise for the slave trade.
I can see why the Church of England ought to apologise for slavekeeping on the part of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, which I take from the context to have been an Anglican society. The article says:
The organisation owned the Codrington Plantation in Barbados, where slaves had the word "society" branded on their backs with a red-hot iron..."The irony of a society obstensibly dedicated to spreading a gospel of "love thy neighbour" burning and mutilating its captives jars and should jar.
But the entire slave trade? Plenty of Anglicans were involved, it is true. Although there were also Anglicans who fought for its abolition, Nonconformists were more prominent in the abolitionist movement.
If it were the case that modern Anglicans tended towards complacency or denial about the evils of the slavery, then an apology would be a good thing. They don't, though. I haven't read a full account of this conference, so I might be wrong, but this is looking worryingly like just another example of Anglicans compulsively apologising for everything. Like, really everything. Dr Williams says:
"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'."I've met the idea before now that your sin "helps drive the nails into the body of Christ." More Catholic than Anglican, I'd have thought, and unfashionably intense - not that that has any bearing on whether it is true. But Dr Williams seems to be saying that your sin is shared by other people. Is this a carefully thought out doctrinal pronouncement on original sin, the sins of the fathers being visited on the sons, or some other issue that theologians debate - or is he just winging it? Could be either. The Archbishop is a genuinely clever and good man [UPDATE: now I've said that nice bit, don't start me on this because when I grind my teeth it gives me earache] who does not always think before he speaks.
[ADDED LATER: Since first pressing "publish" I have made several changes to the wording of this post to accomodate the fact that the more I thought about what the archbishop said, the more confused I got. The conference has focused on us inheriting the "the sinfulness of our predecessors" but the first part of the archbishop's forumulation does not privilege either direction of time. Our predecessors could equally well inherit our sin. Or could they? God outside time, I can go with that, but human action - including sin and repentance - does privilege later time over earlier time. As I said, I wish I knew whether what he said was at all thought out.]
Deep waters, Watson. I do hope it's clear that if we are to have this cross-temporal sharing of sin it must be universal. Otherwise it is going to pan out that the whites inherit the sins of all whites, which means the blacks inherit the sins of all blacks, and we're halfway back towards slavery being justified by the curse that Noah laid upon the descendants of Ham. I'm not happy about this focus on descendants. One has a feeling that the next step might be to start talking in terms of "bloodlines".
The debate heard from descendants of the slave trade including the Rev Nezlin Sterling, of Ealing, west London, who represents black churches. She told the synod that commemorations of the 200th anniversary would revive "painful issues and memories" for descendants.No one now living remembers the enslavement of Africans by Europeans. Memories cannot be inherited.