Archbishop Welby’s charge of Church colluding with colonialism is grievance gibberish

Mar 23, 2019 by

by Jules Gomes, Rebel Priest:

There’s nothing like a European Union flunky complaining about colonialism to trigger off a hernia. There’s also nothing like the grand panjandrum of Britain’s colonial church lecturing us on the evils of Empire to activate my haemorrhoids. So, step forward, Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury.

[…]  Only after considerable pressure from William Wilberforce, Charles Grant, and the Clapham Sect did the British Parliament reluctantly agree to send ‘missionary chaplains’ to India—and these had to limit themselves to serving British staff in India. Only in 1813 did Parliament partially lift the ban on missionaries entering India.

Far from promoting Christianity in India, the British “studiously avoided tampering with religious institutions.”

Guess what happened, Justin? Missionaries landed and establish modern English schools, thereby laying the foundation of the well-organised modern educational system in India, which for the first time in three millennia was open not just to high-caste Brahmins, but also to the most lowly untouchable.

Welby patronisingly treats the colonised as mere subjects. Historians, however, recognise colonised Indians as actors, collaborators and even subversives. Ironically, Christian missions gave rise to Indian nationalism and the fight for Indian independence as the efforts of missionaries “brought counter-currents of religious renewal, social reform, and the eventual rise of nationalisms,” observes Etherington.

Cambridge historian Brian Stanley agrees: “Christian missions have often been seen as the religious arm of Western imperialism. What is rarely appreciated is the role they played in bringing about an end to the Western colonial empires after the Second World War,” he writes in Missions, Nationalism, and the End of Empire.

Welby also ignores completely the role of the indigenous evangelists who did far more than missionaries to spread Christianity belying the image of Christianity as the ‘white man’s religion.’ After all, the ancient Syriac churches had existed in India as early as apostolic times and had been entirely indigenous for centuries.

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