Monday, 21 April 2014

Enemies of the Faith

 - Identified by having appended their names to a letter in today's Daily Telegraph attacking the Prime Minister * for speaking of Britain as 'a Christian country:' [here
SIR – We respect the Prime Minister’s right to his religious beliefs and the fact that they necessarily affect his own life as a politician. However, we object to his characterisation of Britain as a “Christian country” and the negative consequences for politics and society that this engenders. Apart from in the narrow constitutional sense that we continue to have an established Church, Britain is not a “Christian country”. Repeated surveys, polls and studies show that most of us as individuals are not Christian in our beliefs or our religious identities. At a social level, Britain has been shaped for the better by many pre-Christian, non-Christian, and post-Christian forces. We are a plural society with citizens with a range of perspectives, and we are a largely non-religious society.
Constantly to claim otherwise fosters alienation and division in our society. Although it is right to recognise the contribution made by many Christians to social action, it is wrong to try to exceptionalise their contribution when it is equalled by British people of different beliefs. This needlessly fuels enervating sectarian debates that are by and large absent from the lives of most British people, who do not want religions or religious identities to be actively prioritised by their elected government. 
Professor Jim Al-Khalili [the Iraqi-born President of the British Humanist Society - need we continue ...}
Philip Pullman
Tim Minchin
Dr Simon Singh
Ken Follett
Dr Adam Rutherford
Sir John Sulston
Sir David Smith 
Professor Jonathan Glover
Professor Anthony Grayling
Nick Ross
Virginia Ironside
Professor Steven Rose
Natalie Haynes
Peter Tatchell
Professor Raymond Tallis 
Dr Iolo ap Gwynn 
Stephen Volk
Professor Steve Jones
Sir Terry Pratchett 
Dr Evan Harris
Dr Richard Bartle
Sian Berry
C J De Mooi
Professor John A Lee
Professor Richard Norman
Zoe Margolis
Joan Smith
Michael Gore
Derek McAuley
Lorraine Barratt
Dr Susan Blackmore
Dr Harry Stopes-Roe
Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC
Adele Anderson
Dr Helena Cronin
Professor Alice Roberts
Professor Chris French
Sir Tom Blundell
Maureen Duffy
Baroness Whitaker
Lord Avebury
Richard Herring
Martin Rowson
Tony Hawks
Peter Cave
Diane Munday
Professor Norman MacLean
Professor Sir Harold Kroto
Sir Richard Dalton
Sir David Blatherwick
Michael Rubenstein
Polly Toynbee
Lord O'Neill
Dr Simon Singh
Dan Snow

Ed West in The Catholic Herald [here] has pointed out that conspicuous by their absence are the names of anyone from the right of the political spectrum and of any representatives of those other faiths which are supposed to be so offended by attempts to (ugly word) exceptionalise the Christian faith.  In short, the signatories are the usual suspects from the liberal establishment - the militant secularists, leftists and social Marxists who have helped remake our country into what it is today ... and are themselves conspicuously rewarded for their efforts by their constant presence in the studios of our national broadcaster ....

It is, shall we say, interesting, that there should be such a clear attempt, not only to airbrush out our Christian heritage and history, but in the process, to appeal to 'pre-Christian, non-Christian, and post-Christian forces.' It's not the first time in modern European history that such a thing has been attempted. 
"Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it..." 

But, let's do what Christians do when faced with this kind of profoundly intolerant and (unsurprisingly) historically illiterate - not to mention linguistically barbarous - attack - and add the above names to our prayer lists ....

* However, such is our completely justified cynicism about the motivations of our contemporary politicians, it's hard to regard David Cameron's original comments as being anything other than a belated damage limitation exercise in the run up to the next General Election...  (after the same-sex marriage debacle, and the staggering arrogance of the appallingly unknowledgeable Maria Miller who piloted through the legislation) 

And - look at the letter again: in its 'enervating' (mis)use of language it could be written (in 1984 'Ministry of Truth'  mode, of course)  by George Orwell ... clearly composed (at least, one hopes) by those rather more at home holding a test tube than a pen ...

P.S. And, no -  that is by no means meant to be a blanket criticism of all scientists (some of those who have signed the letter are also political 'commentators' and, so I'm told, 'comedians') - just this particular group of the historically myopic and profoundly self-important ... 

1 comment:

  1. Listening to them banging on yesterday on the Today programme - as well as reading the letter - I'm astonished that so many apparently intelligent people should make public use of the 'no true Scotsman' argument, setting up their own idealised definition of Christianity, and then claiming that because no Christian meets the ideal, therefore there aren't any real Christians left.

    The whole debate is bogus, and best left to one side as we have better things to occupy our time.


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