Just when you thought an Anglican bishop couldn’t do anything crazier they do something crazier. England is in an uproar this morning because Bishop Venner– the newly appointed bishop of the armed forces– has publicly praised the ‘faith, religious conviction and their loyalty’ of the Taliban to their religion. The news story is here. Damian Thompson’s typically waspish comment is here.
I am sure Bishop Venner meant well, and the media has probably taken his words out of context and bashed him with them. At very least he should choose his words carefully and have someone who is media saavy look them over first. At worst, he actually means to give the Taliban the benefit of the doubt. What tickles me most about this ridiculous comment is that an Anglican bishop (like all the naieve and snobbish English chattering class) bend over backward to accomodate Muslims while they run down their own church.
Here’s an Anglican bishop who tries to cut the Taliban a break. The Taliban themselves rape boys and girls then set them up as teen suicide bombers. These are people who throw acid in the face of girls who dare to go to school. But I wonder what the bishop’s attitude would be to Christian fundamentalists? He probably sneers at them like everyone else does.
The underlying problem with Bishop Venner’s remarks is the shaky relativistic foundation on which his religion is built. He’s used to making room for everyone and allowing everyone to ‘agree to differ’. The only traits which validate one’s view would be toleration and sincerity. The Taliban aren’t tolerant, but at least they’re sincere. So that’s all right then. We can praise them for that.
Last week on this blog we were making fun of sincerity as a virtue on its own. I commented that most anyone could be sincere, but without truth, sincerity was about as substantial as a greeting card. I said sincerity on its own was not only sentimentality combined with silliness, but that it was also sinister.
Bishop Veneer’s remarks prove my point.
UPDATE: The bishop has apologized for his comments. Go here.