Privileged whinging?

I am preparing a talk on “Accepting pluralism in a secular society’ for presentation at this weekend’s Interfaith Forum. Hence my current interest in these issues.

Carrying on from my last post, Defeat for imposed prayer, this video shows a discussion on UK TV about the judgement on the Christian prayers in the Bideford Town Council official meetings.

Is Christianity Being Marginalised?

Thanks to Dr Evan Harris (@DrEvanHarris) – who I think is the guy in the jacket who spoke a lot and made the most sense.

It just demonstrates the difficulty of arguing these issues across the theological divide. Obviously they can be dealt with more efficiently in court.

“Fighting for faith”

Now Baroness Warsi,  the UK’s first Muslim cabinet Minister who is also chairman of the Conservative Party Tory Party, has chipped in. Attacking “militant secularism”  which she describes as”deeply intolerant” and “denying people the right to a religious identity”.

She is off to the Vatican for talks with Pope Benny and has declared We stand side by side with the Pope in fighting for faith.

Somehow conservative religionists in the UK have misread the Bideford Town Council legal discussion. it did not rule Christian prayer illegal, just that it should not be part of an official council meeting. Those so inclined could pray as much as they wanted before the meeting opened.

But this has stopped such people claiming martyrdom. Yes, that and words like marginilisation are being bandied around. But in reality what is upsetting these people is not marginilsation – just that they iare in danger of losing some of their priveliges. Andrew Copson from the British humanist Associal=tion respond to Warsi’s article with a series of twitter comments:

Signs Britain being taken over by militant secularisation

  • No 1: there’re more state-funded religious schools than ever before
  • No 2: more public services contracted 2 relig groups than ever before
  • No 3: we remain the only western state with clerics in the legislature
  • No 4: first PM in recent history to publicly call UK Christian country
  • No 5: 1st Muslim woman in govt at Vatican at public expense 2 see Pope

‘Census Christians’ don’t support their militant leaders

Mind you – these militant whinging religious leaders are very vocal – but how much support do they have.? Survey results released today suggest not as much as you would think. The Ipsos MORI research, commissioned by the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science UK (RDFRS UK), shows (among other things):

  • 73% of ‘census Christians’ strongly agree or tend to agree that religion should not have a special influence on public policy
  • 92% of ‘census Christians’ support the statement that the law should apply to everyone equally, regardless of religion
  • 78% of ‘census Christians’ say Christianity would have no, or not very much, influence on how they vote in General Elections
  • 61% of ‘census Christians’ agree that gay people should have the same legal rights in all aspects of their lives as heterosexual people
  • 62% of ‘census Christians’ support the right of a woman to abortion within the legal time limit
  • Only 23% of ‘census Christians’ believe that sex is only acceptable within marriage.

As Andrew Copson, commented:

‘There is clearly a vast gulf between the views of what we might call “census Christians” and the politicians, politicised Bishops and Christian lobby groups that claim to speak on their behalf.”

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17 responses to “Privileged whinging?

  1. Thanks for the video link. Interesting.


  2. Somehow conservative religionists in the UK have misread the Bideford Town Council legal discussion.

    It’s amazing how that happens. Morons.


  3. Richard Christie

    Listening to some of the speakers in that clip makes me realise just how easy it would be to slip back to burning apostates at the stake and indulging in religious pogroms, should the vigilance of secularism ever be relaxed.


  4. Godwin rears his head once more.


  5. Godwin’s law (also known as Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies or Godwin’s Law of Nazi Analogies) is a humorous observation made by Mike Godwin in 1990 that has become an Internet adage. It states: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1

    People should find out what Godwin’s Law is before they bring it up.
    The internet is not your friend.


  6. First prayers! Next they will be gassing people or burning witches!


  7. First prayers! Next they will be gassing people or burning witches!

    No, that’s the slippery slope argument.
    Nothing to do with Godwin’s Law.
    It’s really easy to find out what Godwin’s Law is and when to apply it.

    Godwin’s Law of internet arguments


  8. The very last comment was very true. The advertising of the religious pales in comparison to the constant bombardment of advertising for other crap.


  9. Pales – in what way?

    Is it less sophisticated, less honest? Less dishonest? Than the other crap?
    Is it less in your face? (apparently not at official meetings of the Bideford Council).


  10. Pales as in it is much less frequent. If you think about the number of times a week a child would have junk food commercials played in front of them, or women would have unrealistic body images placed before them etc etc. you realize that there is very little religious propaganda out there.

    Unless i go looking for it on a daily basis I will see no religious adverts. I will see plenty of beer adverts, pimple lotions adverts, gambling adverts etc etc.

    So pales in frequency is I suppose what I meant.


  11. Could be a good slogan:

    “Religious crap bombards you less that crap about junk food.”

    That will really bring them back into the mosques and ashrams.

    Unless i go looking for it on a daily basis I will see no religious adverts.

    Unless you go looking for the carpet on your floor at home, you will not see it. It’s been part of the background for so long that it no longer registers consciously. Yet, if you go looking for it, you will find them. A Muslim tourist visiting your country would probably be able to spot the religious adverts out to you in a heartbeat. Their eyes are not used to the background.
    That’s the way human perception works.


  12. Richard Christie

    Still, I’d like some examples, I admit that I don’t notice most of it, point out examples so I can go and complain about it 😉


  13. Sadly I think the attitude Richard mocks is all too common.


  14. 🙂
    Well, it’s ok to advertise any product that’s legal to sell. That includes any religion. It’s crap but it’s legal crap.

    I live overseas and the first thing that shocked me was the intense number of churches (specifically garish red neon crosses) that littered the city. They are everywhere. It was not a peculiarity of the local area. This is just the way things are around here.
    Back home, you have those old stone churches or those awkward 70’s avant-garde “modern” churches that date very badly but they blend in and people don’t notice them. They are just there.
    Then you are immersed in a foreign culture and your first thought is “WOW, these people are incredibly religious” but that’s because the adverts and the buildings and whatnot are all unfamiliar and noticeable.
    In reality, people just try to get on with their lives.

    From my window at night I can see three red neon crosses. A short walk to the main road covers two other churches. The second church is a spooky one that accosts university students with “love-bombing” techniques and then almost drags them into their building for an intense sign-up session. As a joke, I let myself be taken into the church by the touters and gave them 30 minutes to make their pitch.
    They’re Christian but somehow they believe there are two gods.
    At first, I thought that they were messing up the Trinity or something but no, that was definitely not it.
    The church was rolling in money. Lots of young, happy, happy, happy people…wearing veils? Creepy.

    Near the subway station, there is a fake yoga centre. That just how they get the suckers it. It’s really a Dahn Huk outfit that has branches in many different places. Look ’em up. Nasty pieces of work.
    They put up posters of smiling people doing happy, happy yoga all over the local area.

    Then there’s the singing…at 5:30 in the morning three times a week coming from one of the smaller churches near me. Glad I’m not in the same building complex. It would drive me mad.

    It’s very common to see ye old traditional monks straight out of a Kung Fu film too. They leave me and everybody else alone but you can spot them a mile away. Harmless enough, I suppose.

    Of course, 5 minutes from where I live there’s the Catholic University. Nuns and priests are always walking to and fro. Though, oddly enough, the student population itself has little to no connection to Catholicism. On the notice boards, there’s constant invitations for “Fellowship meetings” but attendance is anemic.

    Religious kooks on the subway to work foaming at the mouth? Oh yes.
    Religious collection boxes the size of suitcases strapped to some poor sod at street intersections? Yep. They never stop.
    Underground shopping malls with pairs of old people wearing yellow sashes handing out religious leaflets? Got them too.

    How about a quiet weekend sleep-in ruined at 8:00 am by sickeningly cheery pair of middle-aged women who have decided to knock on EVERY SINGLE DOOR in my apartment building to help sell The Watchtower? Glaring at them does not work. You have to be genuinely rude to get them to go away.
    Yet a different crew will be back the next month.

    My language skills are not good enough to read many local adverts so there’s probably plenty of other stuff I’ve missed. Same goes for late night TV or AM radio.

    Then when Christmas comes around….
    Well, you get the idea. Yet I only notice this kind of stuff because I’m the outsider. Growing up within a community makes it hard to notice things. We just tend to take things for granted.


  15. Richard Christie

    Urgh, compared to that maybe it isn’t so bad around here.

    Also get the Watchtower shills but aside from that I think it’s far less overt and more institutionalised here, covert, in the “private” schools etc.


  16. The text of Warsi’s speech is at It’s an impressive collection of empty rhetoric and outright lies. She either has no idea what secularism is, or else she needs to make her strawmen look more convincing.

    There’s also a bit at the end where she more or less says “if you nasty secularists don’t let religion have a privileged place in society, we’ll carry on killing you.” Seriously.


  17. I cannot express my annoyance, distain and ##########. As a pom…..what Warsi is doing is just absurd…..meeting the pope, the CEO of an institution that is culpable for so many crimes against humanity………’Militant secularism’…….oh yeah, real nasty stuff…….just asking with words, for separation of state from bias religious influence! She a political lightweight….but maybe this will play out to the secularists benefit, as the association with the Catholic Church will not be readily appreciated, especially as the public will see this expense of sending a govt. delegation as a complete waste of money. Oh the best bit for me was the exchange of gifts…..Warsi gave a Koran to the pope….LOL……..” my book is nastier than yours”!!! still LOL!


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