Auschwitz the Archbishop and Anglican Angst
By David W. Virtue, DD
January 16, 2017
The Archbishop of Canterbury recently revisited Auschwitz, where he made an impassioned statement about Nazis and evil in the world.
This is his third visit to the former Nazi concentration camp. The Archbishop seems enamored by evil. The doctrine of original sin and human depravity needs to be revisited from time to time, apparently.
It's deeply ironic that a 70-year old evil continues to fascinate the leader of 77 million Anglicans, when other more contemporary evils leave him apparently unmoved.
For example, the embrace of sodomy has ripped the Anglican Communion apart; it has shredded The Episcopal Church, bringing about the birth of the Anglican Church in North America. In Canada, the liberal Anglican Church of Canada has given birth to the Anglican Network in Canada and in England, GAFCON UK now has a foothold as has the Anglican Mission in England. The rejection of marriage as it has been understood for centuries and now scoffed at in parts of the Anglican Communion along with the authority of Scripture, has resulted in GAFCON, forming the biggest single bloc of Anglicans against him and his Western pansexual brethren who hold sub-biblical views on sexuality. This evil has left Welby unfazed and his "reconciliation" attempts lying in the dust. The recent outburst by ACC secretary general Josiah Idowu-Fearon has pretty well scuttled any attempt at reaching across the divide between liberal and conservative.
As one blogger who wrote to VOL noted, "There is nothing bold or prophetic in talking about the evils of Nazism. Today nobody in his right mind says that Nazism was a good thing. It requires real courage to stand against what the world is calling 'good' when in reality it is 'evil'. The prophet Isaiah calls down woes on those who call evil good and good evil, and Welby needs to start fighting real evil rather than the fashionable evils of climate change and carbon emissions." The blogger has a point.
Canadian blogger, David of Samizdat, says Welby's rant is easy because he is making it from a distance -- a temporal distance of over 70 years. "It is easier to blame our forebears for their sins than to acknowledge our own sin of failing to denounce a horror that is in front of our noses - just because it is a cultural norm.
"Between 1940 and 1945 up to 1.5 million people were murdered in Auschwitz -- an incomprehensible atrocity. In 2016, 40 million babies were murdered in the womb; around 125,000 per day, an atrocity so far outside the safe space of liberal pseudo-thought that it is beyond the ability of churchmen like Welby to even acknowledge, let alone denounce. Perhaps, one day, just as the residents of Dachau were made to view the horrors on their doorstep, crypto-liberals like Welby will be compelled to acknowledge the holocaust that is too close for comfort."
The millions of aborted babies is a stench ascending to the nostrils of God, a human holocaust without parallel.
Or what of the evil of Islamo fascists slaughtering 90,000 Christians this past year alone. We all know about the evil of Nazism, that's old news, but the manifold murders by Al Qaeda and ISIS, the beheadings on distant shores and the slaughter of innocent Christians and Muslims in towns across Syria by ISIS warrants no outpouring of angst from Welby. Where are the photographs of himself standing amidst the rubble of Aleppo looking dreamily off into the distance, contemplating the Parousia.
Why doesn't Welby make a trip to Nigeria and contemplate the outrageous kidnappings and murders by Boko Haram. He might even get a sympathetic ear from Archbishop Nicholas Okoh and a photo op with the second most powerful Anglican in the Communion. He could offer up a theological paper on the deadly Boko Haram terrorist leader, Abubakar Shekau.
Visits to concentration camps like Auschwitz-Birkenau prove nothing and contribute nothing to the well-being of the Church of England or the Communion. The problem of evil is not new and must be revisited from time to time by each new generation that comes along. Harking back to Nazism is not the way forward. Contemporary evils demand fresh attention from theologians and thinkers as we contemplate a universe where good and evil exist side by side. More Christians died as martyrs in the Twentieth Century than any century in history. That might be worth commentary.
Perhaps Archbishop Welby should take a harder look at the evil permeating the Anglican body than worrying about a 70-year old evil that affects no one today. (A handful of neo-Nazis does not a political party make). We have sins enough of our own; it's time he addressed them or he may find that the communion he claims to love so much is only a communion on paper and he has been made irrelevant in the tsunami of African evangelical Anglicans slowly descending on England to recover the faith that he and the Church of England are steadily losing.
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