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Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Divisive religion

We in the UK are more comfortable with racial diversity than with religious differences, it seems.

Well that’s hardly surprising. Being of one race or another doesn’t necessarily predispose one to an opinion on the origin and daily maintenance of the universe or what its inhabitants should be doing with their naughty bits. Being of a religious disposition usually does.

And religions differ in some of those things – and many other issues, too. The more tiresome, interfering religious types – the ones who really get on your tits – are also more likely to excite feelings of alienation both from one another and from freethinkers, sceptics, atheists, agnostics (whatever you want to call those of us who will surely burn in hellfire for eternity).

The finding comes in a survey, reported in today’s Daily Telegraph.

Many people believe religion is more divisive than race, according to the study, which was carried out by Ipsos MORI for the Equality and Human Rights Commission. It suggests that there has been a substantial shift in public opinion.

The Telegraph tells us:

It [the survey] found that Britain is “increasingly at ease with racial diversity”, according to the Commission, with 84 per cent of people agreeing that “ethnic groups should be free to celebrate their customs and traditions while seeking to integrate into the British society”.

More than half of people disagreed that “people who move to Britain from abroad should leave their old traditions behind”, while less than a third agreed.

A total of 75 per cent of respondents said they would be “happy for [their] child to marry someone from another ethnic group”. Fewer people (70 per cent) said they would be happy for their child to marry someone of a different faith.

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