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The real reason we don’t have a Warsi-religious state

In by Kit, Pope my ride, Zeitgeist on February 19, 2012 at 13:16

A lot of the back-and-forth this week between secularists, religious fear mongerers and non-denominational commentators has missed the point. The reason that religion is not a big issue in this country is that that is the way people like it.

The vomit inducing speech Baroness Warsi gave this week (followed by an equally putrid pat on the back by the Pope), which was somehow perfectly timed to coincide by the High Court’s ruling regarding prayer in council meetings, has taken what is an undeniably latent, yet unimportant, issue and blown it out of all proportions. Some of the rhetoric this week following this stomach-turning has made the Republican primary God-off sound more like the battle to be crowned Radio 2s Folk Artist of the Year.

It is easy to charge straight in and attack the hypocritical nature of Warsi’s and other’s arguments that modern British secularism is both militant and intolerant. However I think this misses the point. It is impossible to have a rationale debate with religious fundamentalists. That is why I think the research released by the Richard Dawkins Foundation this week is so important.

Dawkins has been relentlessly jeered at and ridiculed by the anti-thinking press this week for his failure to immediately recall the full title of ‘The Origin of Species’. In fact he did, admittedly after a few stutterings, recount the full title of the book.

Instead of focussing on an obnoxious attempt to undermine the secularist movement, by portraying one man as its ultimate defender, and challenging him in the way Dale Winton would challenge someone to recount what was in their shopping trolley, we should be acknowledging the research and allowing the research to do what proper research should do: catalyse a period of self-reflection. I believe we should analyse why we are so het-up about being a Christian nation when in fact beneath the surface we are not.

We are not a Christian nation not because of militant secularism or because a nurse is not allowed to wear a cross on rounds, it is because we are a forward thinking free country which has evolved on its own, without help from secularists, from the stranglehold of religion.

I feel it is this fact which irritates and annoys religious protagonists most. The majority of people in this country have found and developed their own way to live and run their lives without religious interference. Furthermore people have found that they have managed to avoid raping, murdering and stealing from their neighbour without an espousal of so-called religious virtues every Sunday. Those wishing to portray secularists as hostile brainwashers should consider the fact that the driving force behind secularism in this country has not been secularists or scientists or a single man who wanted to ban prayer in council meetings (not because he was selfish and intolerant but for the fact that he holds a public office and therefore rightly believes that the principle of neutrality should underpin all public meetings, not for the benefit of him but for the benefit of all). Secularism has been championed in this country not by the aforementioned accused parties but by the free democratic principles that British society is based upon. No single person or group can change that whether they are religious or not.


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