Retiring Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams told an audience of Welsh teenagers yesterday that fixating on pesky things like, say, LGBT rights, women’s rights, and equality for racial minorities, carries with it the risk of “fragmenting” society.
Williams, who until his appointment as head of the Church of England was known as a liberal, has unfortunately spent the nine years of his episcopacy pandering to the Stone Age sexual mores of his church’s African bishops, legitimizing homophobia in an attempt to hold the fragile Anglican Communion together.
His remarks yesterday were in that same vein, essentially dismissing the civil rights movements for women, LGBTs, and racial minorities as dangerous “identity politics” making unreasonable demands on the majority by saying “’This is who I am, these are my rights, I demand that you recognise me.’”
According to PinkNews, the Archbishop continued:
“Identity politics, whether it is the politics of feminism, whether it is the politics of ethnic minorities or the politics of sexual minorities, has been a very important part of the last 10 or 20 years because before that I think there was a sense that diversity was not really welcome.
“And so minorities of various kinds and … women began to say ‘actually we need to say who we are in our terms not yours’ and that led to identity politics of a very strong kind and legislation that followed it.
“We are now, I think, beginning to see the pendulum swinging back and saying identity politics is all very well but we have to have some way of putting it all back together again and discovering what is good for all of us and share something of who we are with each other so as to discover more about who we are.
“Once we start saying this is my identity and that’s it then I think we are in danger of really fragmenting the society we belong to.”
It’s interesting to note that Abp. Williams’ puzzling comments (“identity politics” used to be important, but now it’s threatening) come at exactly the same time that debate is raging in the UK about whether or not to give same-sex couples the freedom to marry. Funny how these things work: protecting minority rights is valuable until it’s those pesky LGBTs — you know, those people — asserting their rights. Then it suddenly becomes an inconvenient truths that we need to compromise on.
Dr. Williams: As Archbishop of Canterbury, you turned your back on your lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children in the name of “unity.” Yet on the eve of your retirement, your church is more divided than ever. Was it worth it? Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think a “communion” that’s contingent upon the acceptance of malicious anti-LGBT bigotry is a communion worth preserving.