Americanism and the Anglican Covenant

Jonathan Clatworthy

Peter Doll, Canon Librarian at Norwich Cathedral, has written a paper entitled 'Anglican Covenant - Bishop's Council'. At the Archbishop of Canterbury's suggestion it was circulated to all the bishops in the Church of England. To have been given the Archbishop's imprimatur is significant; presumably Dr Williams approves of its content, including the strong anti-American tone.

If there is one thing which holds together Doll's many criticisms it is the accusation of American exceptionalism:

Americans are strongly imbued with a sense of their own 'exceptionalism', and this is (if possible) even more true of their religious than of their political and social life.

The arguments are blended together to produce a rhetorical tour de force. In order to respond I have tried to distinguish the points and respond to each in turn, using direct quotations. This has meant rearranging their order. The headings are mine, though they aim to be faithful to Doll's case. I conclude that most of the arguments, if accepted, would present a better case against the Anglican Covenant. The two that would present a case for it are both well-established topics of debate, with strong opinions held on both sides...

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