Hapless Rowan

So, Rowan Williams has suggested that sharia law is inevitable in the UK and now is having to face the angry mob who just don’t understand him.

The thing it, Rowan Williams is quite logical in suggesting that a special religious law could be part of the law of the land – we already have such things. The churches have carefully got the state to agree to just such provision over the centuries. Thus we get a situation where church buildings, property and people are treated differently under the law than if they were not religious. It is our own Christian version of sharia law. This covers everything from clergy receiving housing without it being regarded as a taxable benefit, to churches reserving the right to discriminate in employment in areas which are repugnant to people of good will in society. What the hapless archbishop has not realised is that this is a concept which is pretty unpopular when you articulate it and not only with people outside religious communities.

Us secularists have to stick together. Fr Archbishop has a good point – Islam could well call for special cases to be made in the law on the basis that Christians have them. He is quite wrong to think that it is right.

Register of Ministers?

I’ve received the most curious form that the bishop expects me to fill in. The letter accompanying it seems to suggest that I must fill it in in order to comply with the Data Protection Act. However, I’m sure that cannot be true – I think it must be seeking to make the diocese compliant with legislation, which is another thing altogether. It is a form asking the most intrusive questions and asking me to give permission to the diocese to use anything on the form in any way it likes. It is asking me to make an entry in the Scottish Episcopal Church Register of Ministers, which I cannot find alluded to in Canon Law. It is, by the way, discriminatory in that it does not give the possibility to indicate Civil Partnership status, though that is not really the point I’m seeking to make.

I’m puzzled by this. It hasn’t been discussed at the Bishop’s Staff Group, nor in Diocesan Council. I’ve no recollection of it in General Synod. The Organizational Review Committee certainly did not see it and the Synod Review Group was not discussing those things. The Information and Communications Board, which presumably has a remit in the area of Data Protection also has not discussed it. It isn’t the form asking me to give permission for my contact details to be used to make up the clergy directory.

I’ve no idea why this information is being sought or by whom or what level of confidentiality applies to any answers I give. It is being sought by an organization which persists in refusing to recognise that it employs me.

All very odd.

However, I’ve been able to fill it in as asked. At the top it tells you to leave blank any sections that seem inappropriate.

Long blank form going back. Signed and dated.