I've just watched a TV documentary in which Cherie Blair investigated the decline of the Christian faith in Western Europe as opposed to the increasing influence of Christianity in the USA. She made the point that, in her opinion, the contemporary success of the churches in the USA is due, to a large extent, to the fact that so many US churches aligned themselves with the civil rights movement in the US during the 1960s and 1970s.
I think she may have a point. Furthermore, it seems to me that even the churches vocally and actively opposed to universal human rights during those decades have benefited from the fact that so many churches were aligned with those civil rights movements, especially in respect of racial matters.
If this is true then Rowan Williams, by being so hostile towards human rights issues, in particular that of gay, female and working class equality, has not only damaged a church already on its last legs in England but has also made sure it misses out on a bonanza similar to that experienced by the US churches. And what a stupid missiological decision he has made. We were going out of business. His conservatism was never going to stop that because the C. of E. was conservative to begin with and rapidly failing. If Williams had aligned his denomination with the civil rights movements of early 21st. Century England it may not have rescued the church from decline. But it was worth a shot as the "do nothing" option has already proved itself to be a policy only capable of destroying the church. Ironically, those homophobes, misogynists and snobs who have scared Williams into betraying his friends and his own integrity, will go down with the sinking ship. If their bigotry, bluster and blatant resort to blackmail and threats had, in stead of rendering Williams an impotent coward, infused him with a zeal to reform and a willingness to publicly stand along side the oppressed, they would, if the US is anything to go by, have had a brighter future in England along with the orthodox Anglicanism that Williams, if taking such a prophetic line, would have represented and truly led.