Sunday, 22 June 2008

Nazir-Ali to boycott Lambeth '08

The reporter once dubbed "the blood-soaked ferret", Damian Thompson of 'Holy Smoke', has broken the gripping news that the Anglican Bishop of Rochester, Pakistani-born Michael Nazir-Ali, will be boycotting the meeting of Anglican Bishops at Lambeth this summer.

The following is taken from Mr Thompson's blog:

The news that Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester, is boycotting the Lambeth Conference is a seriously important story. Bigger than anything happening at Gafcon.
Nazir-Ali is building a creeping power base inside the Church of England among ordinary churchgoers. That makes his absence from Lambeth a really high-profile setback for the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Rochester says he is staying away from Lambeth in protest at the presence of pro-gay bishops; other evangelical bishops may follow suit (and I reckon the numbers would be even larger if Nazir-Ali didn't annoy his colleagues so much with his self-importance).
But - and this is the crucial point - Nazir-Ali's popularity in England has very little to do with anti-gay sentiment. It's almost entirely the result of his brave stance against the creation of islands of Sharia law in Britain.
To me, by far the most shocking episode in the Church this year has been Dr Williams’s call for the extension of watered-down Sharia, and his slippery attempt to extricate himself from the controversy. The Pakistani-born Nazir-Ali has caught the mood of the nation as no other bishop has; his boycott of Lambeth will remind us all that the C of E has utterly failed to grapple with the challenge of radical Islam.
I hope Islam will loom far larger on the agenda of the Lambeth Conference than the issue of homosexuality. At any rate, bishops, fasten your stoles: we’re in for a bumpy ride.

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