Tagged: Politics

Warsi’s speech on “militant secularism” to the Vatican

Click here to read Baroness Warsi’s speech to the Vatican today, in full. You might want to pour yourself a stiff drink first. You’ll need it.

A sample:

Europe needs to become more confident in its Christianity.

Let us be honest – 

Too often there is a suspicion of faith in our continent, where signs of religion cannot be displayed or worn in government buildings, where states won’t fund faith schools, and where faith is sidelined, marginalised and downgraded.

Cameron fails Bible study

Deuteronomy 22:28-29Last week, during a celebration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible in Oxford, David Cameron said “the Bible has helped to give Britain a set of values and morals which make Britain what it is today,” and that a “return to Christian values” could counter the country’s “moral collapse”. Admitting that he’s a “committed but vaguely practising Church of England Christian” might explain Cameron’s ignorance of what the Bible actually says. For example:

When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;

And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:

Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.

For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.

(Deuteronomy 7:1-4)

As for Christian values:

But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

(Matthew 10:33-37)

How does that relate to any “moral collapse”, unless it’s to illustrate one? The Bible’s full of stuff like that, in the old and new testaments. Most Christians ignore all the nasty bits, unless it’s to justify their prejudices, such as quoting Leviticus on homosexuality.

The Big Society is “natural territory for the Church of England”

From the National Secular Society, a report on the Church of England’s opportunism as the Government promotes a “Big Society”:

Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society, said: “This is the clearest indication that the Church has been in detailed consultation with the Government about implementing the Big Society idea. Very sensibly, the Church is wary of being used as a means of shoring up the social catastrophe that is coming through the cutting of welfare spending. At the same time, it cannot resist the opportunity to force itself into the lives of those who otherwise are utterly indifferent if not hostile to it.”

Educational confusion

SchoolchildrenI enjoy visiting schools and talking to students but I’m so glad I’m not a teacher any more. All the teachers I know have complained about frequent changes of government policy, masses of paperwork, and SATs testing (Standard Attainment Tests), which have reduced young children to gibbering wrecks with the stress.

I’m glad I’m not the parent of a school-age child either. There’s been a lot of talk about parental choice, but from what I’ve read, your choices have been limited. If you’re not religious, for example, and all the local schools have a religious ethos, you can either do what many parents do, and pretend to be religious to get your child into the best school, judged by its exam results and Ofsted reports, or what? Find the money to transport your child to a school that’s free from religion? It’s become so complicated that pushy parents are having to devote a lot of time to researching their options.

Mark Steel on the Commons capitulation to the Catholics on sex education

You may have read elsewhere about the shameful way that the House of Commons voted for Ed Balls’ amendment to the Children, Schools and Families Bill, which means that the Catholics are crowing that they’ve won the right to teach a different version of sex education to other schools. Mark Steel (in the Independent) asked,

How can there be so many lunatics opposed to sex education? And apart from anything else, what makes them think a lesson about sex is going to make kids go out and immediately have sex? It’s education about it, not an instruction to get it done before dinner break. Maybe they should demand an end to history lessons as well on the grounds that “I don’t want my fourteen-year-old learning about Napoleon as he’s too young to invade Italy.”

Just what we need – religious ‘policy advisers’

It’s tedious, hearing those in Parliament wittering on about “secularism”, when they clearly haven’t a clue what it means. But then, neither do a majority of religious leaders (including Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury) who complain about “aggressive secularism”.

Personally, I’m feeling quite aggressive about the latest threat to secularism; John Denham, the Communities Secretary, has announced that a new panel of religious experts has been set up to advise the Government on making public policy decisions. I’d hoped that that sort of nonsense would have been dropped when Hazel Blears departed, but no.

Lib Dems call for secular commission

Last weekend, South Central Liberal Democrats Regional Conference passed a resolution calling for the state to be completely independent of any religion and none, as follows:

Conference notes:

  1. That Britain is becoming more multicultural every day and virtually every religious faith in the world is now actively practised in the UK;
  2. The steady decline in attendance at traditional Christian Churches
  3. and That the Church of England is still tied to the Monarchy and the State;
  4. That much discord in the world arises from strong religious belief or none.

Conference believes the time is right to separate all religious belief from its ties with Government and the Monarch at all levels so that all such belief and none is seen to be treated equally across the whole Electorate, reflecting today’s modern British society where humanity and equality are seen as paramount and religious belief is simply personal. We ask Government to set up a Commission to implement this proposal.