The Gospel Of Jerry Maguire
The Church of England's decision to rewrite the Book of Common Prayer in Chicago-ese and apologise for its role in the slave trade, the growth sector of, um, 200 years ago, when we were all far less enlightened than we are now, has led 28-year-old Lisa Codrington, a Winnipeg-born actress and descendant of those who lived on the Church's Codrington plantation on Barbados to ask,
"It's a good start....But is that all? I don't know how I feel about the apology until I hear everything about it. Is it involving reparation? Is it involving further work, further education by the Church?"
'Is it involving reparation?'; a quotation from the gospel of Jerry Maguire.
One hates to bring up such unpleasantness, but even if liability to pay damages could be established, the actual volume of any damages payable by the church for its limited role in the slave trade are mostly likely unquantifiable. The reason for that would be that the church was not a slave owner in the normal run of the slave business.
Under the normal terms and conditions of the slaving business, the ownership and operation of slave assets was purely mercantile, however, the church was also concerned with the salvation of its slaves' souls; and any damages payable for the mere fact of its having owned slaves would have to be offset against any benefits the slaves received from their association with the Church of England.
Such as spiritual solace.
It's when one reads comments such as Codrington's that one wonders whether or not it might be worth taking a flyer and claiming reparations against the heirs of Oliver Cromwell, and we can all fight 1649 all over again, using writs instead of guns this time around. Such a claim for reparation would be no less valid than any demand by the modern descendants of the Church of England's slaves; and no more absurd.