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Saturday, 12 December 2009

God in our bloodstream? Pull the other one, Rowan!

Oh, so the common people of the UK have God in their bloodstream, do they?

This is what the Archwizard of Cant, Dr Rowan Williams, would like us to believe.

According to a story in the Telegraph, ministers are wrong to think that Christian beliefs are no longer relevant in modern Britain and he has criticised Labour for looking at religious faith as a “problem” rather than valuing the contribution it made to society.

“The Archbishop also suggested that the ‘political class’ was too remote from the concerns of most people, who still had God in their ‘bloodstream’,” says the paper. “In his only interview in the run-up to Christmas, he called on ministers to be more willing to talk about their own beliefs.” The story goes on:

His comments risked reigniting the public row between the Church of England and Labour over the state’s treatment of faith groups. A Cabinet member was recently forced to deny there was a “secular conspiracy” to silence them.

The Archbishop’s claims that religion was seen only as something for minorities echoed those of a Church-backed report, which accused the Government of paying “lip service” to Christianity while “focusing intently” on Muslims.

Asked if he believed political leaders should be more open about their religious beliefs, the Archbishop replied: “I don’t think it would do any harm at all. I think part of establishing their human credentials is saying, ‘This is where my motivation comes from. I’m in politics because this is what I believe.’ And that includes religious conviction.”

Despite the Church of England’s influence and its position as the established religion in the country, there have been repeated claims in recent years that Labour has tried to keep faith out of the public sphere.

Oh, really? How come we have an abundance of “faith schools” at taxpayers’ expense? How come national events are always accompanied by religious mumbo-jumbo, thus alienating huge swathes of the population who would rather celebrate or mourn without it?

How come prayers are said before Commons sessions? How come schools are required by law to have a broadly Christian act of worship? How come kids in schools have to be sixth-formers before they can opt out of religious indoctrination without their parents’ consent?

How come the National Health Service pays for hospital chaplains, rather than letting the churches and others of the Deluded Herd simply provide their own chaplains, which is, after all, a part of churches’ ministry and in principle no different from home visits by preachers?

Come off it, Archbish.

The paper says that Williams’s claim that religion is seen “only as something for minorities echoed those of a Church-backed report, which accused the Government of paying ‘lip service’ to Christianity while ‘focusing intently’ on Muslims”.

It then cites fears over the development of home-grown Islamic terrorism, which has led the UK government to put more than £50 million into projects aimed at preventing radicalisation in mosques.

Yes, it has. Rather than going into mosques and rooting out those who would do harm to the community (and we’ve seen what happens in some mosques, haven’t we?), it pours our money into “initiatives” and “schemes” (see also this and this).

But is this the only reason the archbishop believes Christianity is being marginalised? Perhaps he just perceives that people aren’t that bothered about it any more. They joke about it. They use it in name only at times such as this, Christmas, while patently not believing in all the fairy stories – pretty stories, some of them, but fairy stories nonetheless – that we are urged to believe as true, such as a virgin birth and a wandering star.

And there’s no wonder why MPs are reluctant to talk about their “faith”. We saw it with Tony Blair after his spokesman, Alastair Campbell famously said, “We don’t do God.”

Religion-infested Blair has since admitted that he was reluctant to talk about his “faith” while he was in office lest people should think him a nutter.

My own MP is a religiou nutcase, and, after a response I got from him on the question of cruel religious slaughter of animals – a response in which he defended it for religions, clearly believing the suffering of the animals to be less important than religious maniacs’ wish to inflict cruel deaths on the creatures – I shall not be voting for him next year.

Perhaps other politicians fear the same. Religion has a lot to answer for, and I don’t think I’d be too ready to admit to being a Catholic at the moment, if I were one, after the outrage in that particular section of the Deluded Herd.

You can hear the interview Williams gives to the Telegraph below:

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