Why would any intelligent person think that a brutal, vicious, genocidal, sociopathic dictator not be aware of the crimes his minions have committed, not know exactly what his police and “security forces” are doing? Would an intelligent person assume that dictator was really a nice guy and it’s his minions who dream this brutality up without his approval? Was Hitler really an innocent puppet of the rest of the upper echelon of the Third Reich?
Though it is highly improbable that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe doesn’t know what his thugs do, the Archbishop of Canterbury presented Mugabe with a “dossier” of the abuses Mugabe’s thugs have inflicted on Anglicans in Zimbabwe.
Archbishop Dr. Rowan Williams, the Welsh-born head of the Church of England joined with the Archbishops of Central Africa, Southern Africa and Tanzania in presenting to Mugabe their request that he use his power to end the abuses. They issued a joint statement saying, “Since 2007, Anglican congregations in Zimbabwe have suffered serious persecution at the hands of the police. They have been intimidated. Their churches have been closed. Properties, including schools and clinics, have been seized. As representatives of the Anglican Communion, and with the support of ecumenical friends worldwide, we strongly and unequivocally support the efforts of ordinary Anglicans to worship in peace and to minister to the spiritual and material needs of their communites.”
Dr. Williams presented the dossier to President Mugabe. It gave “a full account of the abuses” and asked for “an end to all unacceptable and illegal behaviour.” Even though Dr. Williams had given a hard speech to 15,000 Anglicans in Harare’s sports stadium on Sunday, attacking Zimbabwe’s lack of justice and law.
Dr. Williams’ visit comes as Zimbabwe is involved in a schism with the Anglican church of central Africa over the ordination of gay priests. Nolbert Kunonga, a supporter of the Catholic Mugabe, declared himself Archbishop of Harare and seized church property, including a cathedral. Kunonga is opposed to gays breathing, in addition to being opposed to ordaining them. He called Dr. Williams’s visit a “crusade for gays” and said the Archbishop of Canterbury should “repent” his sin of supporting gays continued existence on earth. In Zimbabwe, it has been illegal for two members of the same gender to hold hands, hug or kiss since 2006.
Dr. Williams’ term as the leader of the Anglican church has been a full-time fight to prevent schisms in the church over the ordination of both gays and women and their elevation to bishophood. The Church of England said in July that it will be reviewing its policies on these issues. The ordination of gays is a particularly difficult problem in Africa, where there are strong cultural taboos about homosexuality.
Though Dr. Williams insists that his focus is on religion, not politics, Mr. Kunonga said of Dr. Williams, “He’s a politician himself because he represents a political organization, the political entity called Britain, the British government as a civil servant. What do you expect him to do? To represent British economic interest, political interest, not the religious interest.” Which is possibly the best explanation ever given for the Church of England to agree with Prince Charles that it is time to separate the Church from the Crown.
Dr. Williams visited Malawi before going to Zimbabwe and is expected in Zambia before his return to Canterbury on Thursday. Church members in Britain objected to his visit to Zimbabwe, citing as their reason a fear that his presence there could be used by Mugabe as a propaganda piece. The Anglican Church created a strong presence in Africa during the colonial period.