Acton Institute Powerblog

Onward, Christian soldiers?

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The head of the Church of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, made international headlines earlier this month when he suggested that the adoption of some aspects of Islamic sharia law into British law was “unavoidable” and discussed the compatibility of sharia law with the established legal system.

Williams’ long speech discusses the pros and cons of ‘plural jurisprudence.’ He does not ignore the repressive aspects of Islamic law, but his main concern seems to be to avoid offending or alienating Muslims in British society.

It is no secret that the Archbishop’s own church is in decline while the number of Muslims in the UK and the rest of Europe is growing rapidly. A church leader should seek to strengthen his own flock as well as remind us of the principles that have created the foundations for a free society.

Williams is seemingly unaware of the consequences that such a lack of moral leadership may have. Many Europeans feel legitimately threatened by Islamic terrorism and fundamentalist intolerance, but they have no well-formed intellectual or spiritual defense. The danger is that the abandoned will be tempted to lend an ear to demagogues (not for the first time in European history) and thereby set off a spiral of still more intolerance and violence.

Bernd Bergmann


  • Marc Vander Maas

    Sitting at home in my easy chair with my children on my lap? I think that would qualify.

  • Any culture will fail in the long run if it does not meet universal human needs for respect, recognition, belonging, autonomy, personal growth and meaning. Cultures that meet these universal needs do so because they include individuals who posses the universal character strengths of humility, vitaliy, open-mindedness, love, love of learning, kindness, appreciation of beauty and excellence, etc. This applies to both Islamic sub-cultures and sub-cultures under the banner of The Church of England. It applies to sub-cultures in organizations, communities, and families too. Learning this from my experiences in life and extensive research in multiple fields of knowledge inspired me to write the book Fired Up or Burned Out(the title was meant to convey a culture’s affect on people, individually and collectively). I’m not the best judge of whether or not I failed to make my case, but you can google it and find numerous reviews on blogs including Thomas Loarie’s CEO Learnings column of the Catholic Business Journal.

    With best regards,
    Michael Lee Stallard
    E Pluribus Partners
    Greenwich, CT

  • Steven,

    I know of several individuals who are not only connected online but they are also writing and speaking about change in traditional media, speaking in organizations and in academic forums. For example, see my blog at and my new (free) downloadable e-book at this link: