The first time I set eyes upon the glorious House of Lords chamber, in the summer of 2013, I was an ignorant tourist in the UK. With blissful awe I gazed on the golden decorations, the wooden benches, the leather seats, the red armrests. The red armrests which only seemed to be added to one bench. But the question why did not race through my fifteen-year old mind. Only much, much later did I find out the Bishops were granted those seats. The Bishops? Yes, the Bishops.
A Whitehouse Consultancy April 2015 survey found that 34% of 225 prospective parliamentary candidates (PPCs) contesting marginal seats describe themselves as atheists. More than four in ten PPCs (42%) have no religious denomination. The Green Party (49%) and Labour (48%) have the highest percentages of atheist candidates.
Fewer than four in ten (37%) of PPCs believe in a deity: 16% Church of England (of these, 41% were Conservatives), 12% Roman Catholic, 2% Jewish, 2% Buddhist, 2% Muslim and 3% other religions.
Chris Whitehouse, Chairman of the Whitehouse Consultancy, said:
“Given recent findings on Britain’s religious beliefs, it’s unsurprising that a majority of parliamentary candidates are either non-religious or atheist.”
Chris Street, President of Atheism UK, noted that:
“The April 2015 Whitehouse report does not identify individual PPCs.
After the last general election in June 2010, Atheism UK wrote to all 650 MPs about their religious beliefs. We asked ‘Are you Atheist, Agnostic, Religious (practising), Religious (lapsed) or Other?’. Only six of the twenty six MPs that responded said they were currently atheist. Atheism UK report suggested that ‘openly stating ones religious beliefs in the world of politics, where votes count, is still a delicate subject’.
Followers of Jesus Christ believe that every human being is created in the image of God. But we are not made in isolation. We belong together in a creation which should be cherished and not simply used and consumed. This is the starting point for the Church of England’s engagement with society, the nation and the world. All that we say here follows from this.
Human beings are not created or made; they have evolved. There is no creation; there are the laws of physics and there is evolution.
It is astonishing that, when every Church of England bishop claims to have long-since accepted evolution as a fact, the House of Bishops is still blatantly using the language of creationism.
It should also be noted that this “Pastoral Letter” is addressed to the “People and Parishes of the Church of England” – not to the public at large – and the People and Parishes of the Church of England are a dwindling and increasingly irrelevant rump.
A whopping 60% of 18-24 year olds have ‘no religion’ compared to 42% of the British. With each new generation, people are less and less religious, confirmed a February 2015 survey by YouGov. (Figure 1)
A 150 minute debate about the role of religion and belief in British public life is reviewed by Chris Street (President, Atheism UK, since June 2014). The House of Lords debate on Thursday 27th November 2014 was initiated by Lord Harries, a former Bishop of Oxford.
Or, if you do then you are wilfully misleading the people you lead and represent.
Obama has just said in his speech last Tuesday night, “Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not Islamic.” (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant)
On the face of it, that shows his profound ignorance of the Qur’an and Hadith (supplementary Muslim instructions written after their manual was last updated in 1910). However, he is probably doing what all western politicians are doing, and that is, appeasing Muslim voters.
I am pretty sure that the majority of Muslims are just as peaceful as the majority of other faiths together with we poor old rabid atheists, but until the evil message of 143 suras (verses) of the Qur’an is denied by those moderate Muslims we keep hearing about, but not from, the myth of Islam being a religion of peace will persist. The simple truth is repeated endlessly in Qur’an; the duty of all Muslims is to make the whole world into an Islamic Caliphate, however long it takes.
That is why the popular Saudi cleric Mohammad Al-Areefi sounds like the ISIS army chaplain. The man has 9.5 million followers on Twitter (twice as many as Pope Francis has).
More British Muslims have joined the ranks of ISIS than have volunteered to serve in the British armed forces. In fact, this group has managed to attract thousands of recruits from free societies throughout the world to help build a paradise of repression and sectarian slaughter in Syria and Iraq. This is an astonishing phenomenon, and it reveals some very uncomfortable truths about the failures of multiculturalism, the inherent vulnerability of open societies, and the terrifying power of bad ideas.
Are apostates “innocent”? Blasphemers? Polytheists? Atheists? Islam has the answer, and the answer is “no.”
So then “How to fight ISIL”? I can give you the long term answer but a short term response is all that we can expect from the politicians (god help us all! 😉 .
With the rational philosophy of peace based on the European Enlightenment, that’s how! That involves the creation of a secular message being preached from political pulpits and all our school assemblies, in Europe and the USA. It will take 50 years but it is the only answer.
That is what built the American constitution back in 1788 where it separated religion from the politics of government.
I’ll leave you with the words of Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of the Iranian revolution back in 1979:-
“When anyone studies a little or pays a little attention to the rules of Islamic government, Islamic politics, Islamic society and Islamic economy he will realize that Islam is a very political religion. Anyone who will say that religion is separate from politics is a fool; he does not know Islam or politics.”
Well, he did warn us! A pity our damn stupid politicians dare not listen.
“We’re not afraid of sanctions. We’re not afraid of military invasion. What frightens us is the invasion of western immorality.”
By which he meant, he was fearful of democracy, short skirts, equality for women and therefore the end of male domination over women ratified by the, not so, Holy Qur’an.