Friday, February 15, 2008

On Colonel Napier, Vs. Archibishop Rowan.

Following Customs

Over at Crooked Timber, they don't hyperventilate about the Archbishop of Canterbury's recent controversial statements. The entry is accompanied by (currently) 213 comments, and Crooked Timber's respondents tend to be smart and/or entertaining. The post itself includes this anecdote, which I enjoyed:
In a more culturally confident age, the British in India were faced with the practice of "suttee"—the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. General Sir Charles Napier was impeccably multicultural:

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."

I also note, Napier was devoutly Christian, even evangelical, if I recall Lawrence Jame's book "Raj" correctly.., so any forgiveness for Rowan's behavior on those religious doesn't cut it. Christianity doesn't mean supine.

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