Ex-archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, is well known for complaining about Christians being deprived of what he regards as his and his fellow religionists rightful privileges.
Amongst the privileges he holds most dear is the right to discriminate against minorities of their choice, free from the requirement to treat others as equals with equal entitlement to full human rights. He can often be heard complaining loudly that Christians are being deprived of their basic human rights by being denied the right to deprive others of their human rights on the excuse of not agreeing with them.
Now, increasingly alarmed by the 'tidal wave' of secularism sweeping across the country (well, a growing movement maybe, but a 'tidal wave'? If only it were so!) Carey has responded with a three-point plan which he feels is going to reverse this marked trend.
More worryingly, new Prime Minister, Theresa May, appears to agree with him, although if you listen to her carefully you will notice how she hedges her support with conditions and politicians' escape clauses - "free speech", "freedom of religion", etc - but this vicar's daughter from Wheatley near Oxford is never going to say anything other than that she supports this blatant plea for yet more privileges and public subsidy for Christians.
Carey's three point plan is:
- Promoting RE in schools, making it mandatory in GCSEs such as science, and including it in the English Baccalaureate.
- Introducing Christianity in citizenship tests for any migrants wishing to come to the UK.
- Government to provide training in religious affairs to judges who deal directly with those issues.
In other words, Christianity should get a hefty dose of official support and tax-payers' money because it can't compete on its own merits with other faiths and non-faiths. School children are to be compulsorily indoctrinated with Christian dogma, regardless of their personal beliefs or those of their parents and family. (Strange how they always want to have privileged access to the vulnerable young minds of children, eh?) Barriers are to be erected to keep out non-Christians or people who haven't studied the superstition, and even the judiciary will be given a Christian bias.
What Carey and May don't seem to be able to grasp is that local councils, financed by local residents, should not be promoting one faith over another. In fact, they should not be promoting faith over non-faith. A collectively-funded service should be strictly neutral in matters of faith and non-faith. The complaint of minorities is not that Christianity is being promoted per se but that Christianity is being favoured at their expense. Most members of other religions would rather that some religion be taught rather than none at all or that atheism be actively promoted. Nothing makes leaders of other religions suddenly discover how much they agree than the prospect of Atheism becoming established.
Imagine the furore if, say, Bradford City Council, was supporting Islam or Rastafarianism or Mormonism and devoting resources to support these faith.
Substitute the word 'Islam','Sikhism' or 'Hinduism' for 'Christianity' in Carey's plan and how does that read to a Christian or an Atheist Humanist? Children to be compulsory indoctrinated and required to reach a minimum standard in Sikhism to get a Baccalaureate; all foreign nationals applying for British citizenship to be tested on their knowledge of Hinduism; all judges to be specially trained in Islam!
There would be riots, and quite rightly, and Theresa May would rush to the Dispatch Box to announce her's and her cabinet's opposition to such a scheme and their determination to put a stop to it.
It would not read much better to a Christian like Carey if the substituted word was 'Humanism', yet I would be willing to place a sizeable wager that if this pro-humanist plan were implemented it would lead to a more peaceful, less divided, more tolerant and inclusive society than one based on religious faiths ever could. It's no coincidence that the versions of all main religions regarded as moderate are those which include more Humanist principles of tolerance and inclusivity - the very things regarded by most people as the 'British way'.
Carey and May need to face the fact that their favourite cult is now a minority one. Like other religious cults, Christianity in Britain, as elsewhere in Western Europe, has lost in the competition for ideas and is just one of many flavours of theism all of which acting together no longer out-number non-affiliation and outright disbelief. Britain, outside possibly Northern Ireland, is a secular society subscribing more to Humanist principles than to some imaginary Christian principles. 'Principles' which have been fighting a rearguard action against extending full human rights to women and minorities such as gays and which are being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century and being forced to abandon a great deal of their 'Christian Principles' and adopt modern secular Humanist ones to keep members.
For the last couple of hundred years Christianity has not been leading public opinion and moral development but following it. From slavery to votes for women; from full female emancipation to family planning and birth control, the Christian establishment in Britain has resisted change only reluctantly going along with it when it was clear the struggle had been lost. Christianity has acted as a drag on progress and it's now time to cut the last few threads tying it to the moral and cultural development of British society.
'via Blog this'