Hazel Blears shows her ignorance
I’ve only just learned about a speech she made to the National Imams and Rabbis Conference in March this year. Ms Blears clearly sees religion as a good thing, while a lack of faith is (she seems to think) hardly worth bothering about. In the speech, she said,
It seems to me that for all the talk about British society becoming more secular, more consumerist, more avaricious, actually we have seen a growth in the importance of faith in many of our communities.
By lumping together secularism, consumerism, and being avaricious, three distinct and totally different things, in the same sentence, Ms Blears demonstrates that she has no idea what she’s talking about. She’s a Government Minister in a secular state, and she clearly doesn’t know what that means.
The emphasis in her speech was on ‘multi-culturalism’. Towards the end she said,
Those discussions should be widened out into a debate about how we make the democratic process more accessible, about how our political system can adapt to the changing ethnic and faith make–up of Britain, and how we ensure that mainstream democratic politics is seen as the answer to everyone’s problems and issues, not just an elite.
Does ‘more accessible’ mean continuing the trend, begun during her mentor Tony Blair’s term of office, of providing religious organisations with a hotline to the government?
Dear Ms Blears, secularism is the promotion of the separation of the church (or any religion) and the state, so that no religion is allowed to dictate or influence public policy. One of the greatest threats to democracy is political Islam, which is behind the sort of extremism you spoke about. A secular state is the only sort where religious people are entirely free to worship as they please, provided they don’t seek to impose their beliefs on anyone else or do any harm.
Consumerism and avariciousness have nothing to do with secularism. Think of Saudi Arabia, a Muslim country, where oil wealth has provided its devout citizens with the means to consume as avariciously as they please, and the US, where the majority of Christians spend their weekends in the malls. Get your facts right, please.