Not long after Anglican Archbishop Williams stood up in public and waved to the planet wearing funky colored gloves, in the wake of his comments that Benedict XVI’s provisions for traditional Anglicans could be seen as "theologically rather eccentric", I present you with another reason why Anglicanorum coetibus was probably a good idea after all.
This is from The Daily Telegraph with my emphases and comments:
The Taliban could be admired for their religious conviction and their sense of loyalty to each other, the new bishop for the Armed Forces said.
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones and Duncan Gardham
Published: 1:16AM GMT 14 Dec 2009
The Rt Rev Stephen Venner called for a more sympathetic approach to the Islamic fundamentalists.
The Church of England’s Bishop to the Forces said it would be harder to reach a peaceful solution to the war if the insurgents were portrayed too negatively.
His comments in an interview with The Daily Telegraph came as the Prime Minister visited Afghanistan and claimed that the Taliban was fighting a “guerrilla war” aimed at causing “maximum damage”.
Gordon Brown said soldiers were discovering improvised explosive devices every two hours.
Mr Brown stayed overnight in the Allied base in the southern city of Kandahar, the first British prime minister to spend the night in a war zone since Winston Churchill.
His visit came days after the death of L/Cpl Adam Drane, the 100th member of the British forces to die in Afghanistan this year.
His death brought to 237 the total number of British service personnel who have died since operations began in 2001.
Bishop Venner said he admired the sacrifices made by the British forces fighting in Afghanistan but he called for a reassessment of how the Taliban were viewed.
“We’ve been too simplistic in our attitude towards the Taliban,” said Bishop Venner, who was recently commissioned in his new role by Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. [What sort of background, do you suppose, this fellow has in order to make this assessment.]
“There’s a large number of things that the Taliban say and stand for which none of us in the West could approve, but simply to say therefore that everything they do is bad is not helping the situation. [Here it comes…] The Taliban can perhaps be admired for their conviction to their faith and their sense of loyalty to each other.” [And…..?]
The Taliban have been responsible for public beatings, amputations and executions, and have launched bomb attacks on Afghans.
They often refer to foreign forces as “Crusaders”. The bishop said some of their methods of combat were not honourable or acceptable, but he argued that it was unhelpful to demonise them. [What would they have to do before we could use harsh language?]
Everyone in Afghanistan, including the Taliban, would have to be included in discussions to find a solution to the conflict, he said.
“We have to involve all the people of Afghanistan to find justice and prosperity for all,” he said. “Lasting and just peace will in the end justify the sacrifices our servicemen and women have made.” [And the Taliban are… what… going to change their minds and decide to cooperate with the Westerners? If we talk nicer about them are they going toooooo….. stop beating their women?]
Bishop Venner also said the Government had “a moral duty” to ensure that the Army was properly equipped.
Col Richard Kemp, a former commander in Afghanistan, said the bishop was being naïve.
“We clearly need to understand our enemy but that is more of a military issue rather than a religious one,” he said.
“Elements in the Taliban do not act from a religious perspective and it is important to turn them around.
“But there are many others who will not be persuaded. Their central creed and ethos is about violent oppression.
“In many ways it is a mistake to compare their faith of extreme holy war with the kind of religion of peace and understanding that the bishop follows. They wouldn’t show understanding of his faith.”
Last month David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, offered parts of the Taliban “an alternative to fighting’’ and said men now waging war against Western forces should be encouraged to sit in the Afghan parliament.
His comments came a day after a military strategy was unveiled, talking of the need to negotiate with the Taliban.
I don’t know what the fellow really had in mind or if that is the whole story. But…. perhaps the provisions for Anglicans were well timed.