Does the Archbishop of Canterbury Have an Israel Problem?

Jan 3, 2022 by

by Elliott Abrams, The Bulwark:

Christmas brought renewed reports of the persecution of Christians in India, with the New York Times warning of “a growing anti-Christian hysteria that is spreading across this vast nation” and of attacks by “anti-Christian vigilantes” who “in many cases” are being helped “by the police and members of India’s governing party.” Doubtless aware of the symbolism, on Christmas Day itself, the government of India informed the missionary group established by Mother Teresa that it was henceforth barred from accepting foreign donations, with the Wall Street Journal noting that the move came “amid what some Christian leaders call an increasingly hostile environment for their religion.”

The reaction from Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, so far as I can find, has been silence. That’s fine in theory, if the archbishop doesn’t consider the plight of India’s Christians his responsibility. When he visited India in 2019, he said nothing about persecution of Christians there. When asked before the trip whether he would challenge the Indian government on behalf of Indian Christians, his top advisers told journalists that “He is not going as a political leader—he is going as a religious leader. What we don’t want to be doing is lecturing another country.”

But this fastidiousness and solicitousness for not “lecturing another country” entirely evaporate when it comes to the world’s only Jewish state—an especially egregious double standard in the context of Christianity’s steep decline in most of the Middle East. As an article in the Atlantic put it in 2019, “The graph of the religion’s decline in the Middle East has in recent years been transformed into a cliff.”

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