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Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Dawkins on militant secularism

Further to yesterday's post about Baroness Warsi and her trip to La-La Land, her encouragement to us all to embrace religion and her talk of so-called militant secularism, there's an interview with Richard Dawkins embedded below that you might like.

The main point he makes – for me, at any rate – is this: secularism is not atheism. He emphasises that there are religionists among secularists. All secularism seeks to do is kick religion out of the pubic square.

Its inclusion, big time, is exemplified in this country, the UK, of course, by the fact that we have an established church in the form of the Church of England, and it gets included in all kinds of aspects of public life, be it a coronation, a state funeral, a memorial, even the opening of each day's session of Parliament.

Only this week have we seen a victory by secularism over having religion forced on us when a judgment ruled that it was illegal for local councils to hold prayers at the start of – and that means as part of – council meetings.

The religionists began to beat their chests, and their drums, and possibly the nearest secularist, of course, saying Christianity was being sidelined. The National Secular Society was quick to point out that it has no objection to prayers, just not those that are part of an official meeting of an official secular body whose membership is likely to include people of other religions and of none.

By all means pray, it said, but do it in an anteroom before the council meeting begins, and people can then decide whether or not to join in.

That is what is meant by taking religion out of the public square, not damning it to obscurity, not telling others they can't practise it. People should be free to practise whatever religion they wish to, and many of them, fortunately, recognise that some of us don't wish to, and that we should not have it rammed at us from all sides when we wish to go about our secular business.

So, when religionists try to tell you that secularists are attempting to outlaw religion, or at least marginalise it, you can tell them where to stuff their religion. If they don't try to tell you that, you can wish them all happiness in their beliefs as long as they don't try to inflict them on you.

1 comment:

Har Davids said...

Warsi and Benny: a match made in Heaven. A Muslim and a Christian all lovey-dovey over the way they are being prosecuted, hand me a barf-bag!