22 March 2012

"History" and Validictory From Nigeria

In the immediate aftermath of the resignation of Dr. Williams, any number of persons and organizations published comments. This is fairly normal, anytime a major office is vacated, it is likely that valedictory will appear. After all, be it bloggers like me, editorial writers like those in the Times and the New York Time, or various church pundits, writers write, and "opinion make rs" opine. I did this myself, in my blog post. That is not surprising, it is after all major news and I like my Coalition colleagues have been one of the archbishop's opponents.

I think the general reaction has been: Dr. Williams: a good, brilliant man whom we hope has a great tenure at Cambridge. Comments on his success as archbishop predictably are a bit less "nice" again this is not a surprise. In the past, I have compared him with Abp. Laud, arguably the worst archbishop in England's history. With that context consider if you will the personal attack from archbishop and leading hate-monger, Archbishop Okoh of Nigeria.
"... the Most Revd and Rt. Hon. Dr. Rowan Williams took over the leadership of the Anglican Communion in 2002 when it was a happy family.1

It gets worse. AB Okoh of the the schism says,
It might not have been entirely his own making, but certainly “crucified under Pontius Pilate”.2

Now I am not an expert on Nigerian English dialects. So it is possible this does not attempt to suggest that Dr. Williams is as guilty of the Communion's disintegration as Pilate was of Jesus' execution. But, unless something is really different, from Nigeria to the Midwest, that is how it reads.

There is actually more vilification on the Nigerian site, but that is about as much as I can stand to publish. I am no fan, and I have little good to say about the ABC's tenure. But he is a human, with human failings, nothing more or less. So are we all, even in Nigeria!

I am actually most interested in that first sentence. You know, the one with the blatant lie? Let me repeat +Okoh's lie here, "Dr. Rowan Williams took over the leadership of the Anglican Communion in 2002 when it was a happy family." It is true that Dr. Williams became archbishop in 2002, the only fact in the sentence. A, "happy family?" Come now, no one in the episcopate can be that ignorant. The two Lambeth conferences before 2002, in 1998 and 1988, were filled with unresolved conflict over matters of lesbian and gay inclusion, women clerics, and Biblical literalism. Calling that squabbling, fractious, and often angry mess a "happy family" is like saying that England and her colonies were happy until that nasty Mr. Jefferson published his Deceleration! And +Okoh knows that.

This is what dictators, or would be dictators do. They simply change the history to make themselves inevitable. The difference between Abp. Okoh and Big Brother is that +Okoh is not done taking over the space he desires.

I suppose someone had to have the least fair, least honest, and most unkind valedictory given the event. But +Okoh hit so deep a low, that I who am definitely not on the guest list for Dr. Williams' going away party was moved to defend him. That takes talent!


1) "PRESS STATEMENT CHURCH OF NIGERIA REACTS TO ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY’S RESIGNATION" Published by the Church of Nigeria at "http://www.anglican-nig.org/main.php?k_j=12&d=594&p_t=index.php" Paragraph one

2) Ibid. Para. 2

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