Globe & Mail Onside: Rowan Williams is a Bonehead


Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, defensively told the general synod of the Church of England yesterday that he had not advocated “parallel jurisdictions” of British and Islamic courts in the United Kingdom in his controversial lecture last Thursday.

Dr. Williams did, however, advocate what he called supplementary jurisdictions, as a necessity to save people from having to choose between loyalty to state and loyalty to culture. In particular, he cited alternative conflict resolution in what he quaintly called “native American communities in Canada.” The archbishop would have done better to invoke the Canadian debate of 2005 over a proposal to allow sharia courts to arbitrate family law disputes in Ontario and make binding decisions that the regular courts would normally uphold. In the end, Premier Dalton McGuinty introduced legislation to forbid such adjudication by any religious authorities; the bill was passed in 2006.

The Rest.