Friday, February 15, 2008


I've been fascinated to listen to the doublethink of many commentating on religious affairs this week.

First, those who actually agree with the ABC in wanting religious space, but wishing that to be 1) either universally imposed on everyone irrespective of their personal beliefs, or 2) selectively applied meaning that only their religions count. This is the conservative Christians position, and also that espoused by conservative commentators like Mad Mel Phillips. So, we ignore laws we don;t like (such as gay equality) and fulminate against it because it offends our religious sensibilities, but Islam is a wicked and evil religion and so should not be given space within the law, unlike us, because we are nice and British and they are evil and foreign and all terrorists wanting to turn this country into Londonistan writ know the rest....

Its an utterly illogical argument. It relies on a view that we first accept the essential goodness of conservative religiosity for some religions and not others - even though their social views are all much the same!

The other doublethink is the way that conservative Christians use the 'Christendom' view when it suits them but rejects it when it doesn't.

So, if they wish to convert others to their religion, the vast majority of us are evil sinners outside God's grace, heading to hell in a hand basket. But when they want to argue for theior views to hold sway in civil society, then we are a Christian country and 72% of us said so in the last census, don't cha know....

So, which is it to be - because the two positions are incompatible. Recent research has shown very clearly that very few of that 72% believe much more than Christianity is about being nice to people and synonymous with being English. So, why shopukd they expect their view to dominate in the making of civil law?

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