Thursday, February 09, 2006

COE Apologizes for Slavery

From the News-Telegraph (UK):
Two hundred years after Anglican reformers helped to abolish the slave trade, the Church of England has apologised for profiting from it.

Last night the General Synod acknowledged complicity in the trade after hearing that the Church had run a slave plantation in the West Indies and that individual bishops had owned hundreds of slaves.

It voted unanimously to apologise to the descendents of the slaves after an emotional debate in which the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, urged the Church to share the "shame and sinfulness of our predecessors".

Okay, I freely confess that I may just be a completely insensitive middle-class American white guy. (The readers nod their heads in agreement.) But what on earth is the point of this supposed to be? There is no one now living who has a dog in this hunt. It seems like they are posturing for another one of those feel-good moments that is supposed to make us feel holy and sanctimonious without actually having to do anything. Sort of like the International Sailors’ Union apologizing for wiping out the Dodo Bird. Or like taking a stand opposing nuclear warfare. Who the expletive-deleted is in favor of it?

Perhaps the church would do better by looking into its current sins. Oh, wait. What was I thinking? That might involve a call for real, living, breathing people to (forgive me for using the word) repent and change our lives. Can’t bring those outmoded, guilt-producing notions up in these modern times.

The Archbishop does seem to obsess a bit over the sins of our great-great-great-grandfathers, however. From the same article:

He was criticised in November after saying that missionaries "sinned" by imposing Hymns Ancient and Modern on places such as Africa.

Just as many American kids have felt sinned against by the imposition of Chaucer and Shakespeare. Like I’ve said elsewhere recently, I think I’m going to start selling grips on E-bay. A lot of people need to get one.

At the risk of dating myself, all this BS reminds me of the old Barry McGuire song from ’65.

The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace
You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace
Hate your next-door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace
And… tell me over and over and over and over again, my friend
You don’t believe
We’re on the eve
Of destruction