Mike Pence and the Evangelical Vote

The Road to a Christian Iran

By Willem Sander van Boxtel

Mike Pence & Donald Trump

In the early hours of November 10th 2016, many of us atheists woke up to the dawn of at least another four years of religious rule in the world’s most major powerhouse. But for secular non-believers, Donald Trump is not the real danger. The real threat to the atheist democracy as intended by the American founding fathers, and as enshrined in the US Constitution, comes from the well-known evangelical heavyweight now known as Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

Continue reading “Mike Pence and the Evangelical Vote”

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As atheists, Clegg & Miliband are viewed more positively

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)

Continue reading “As atheists, Clegg & Miliband are viewed more positively”

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Obama, Oh Cameron, Oh dear, you just don’t get ISIL do you?

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)

Obama's policy message in full
Obama’s policy message in full

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.

Acknowledgements:

Morten Morland: Times cartoonist, for his 2013 cartoon

Sam Harris: author, happy spiritual atheist and his recent blog entitled “Sleepwalking towards Armageddon”

More on Philosophy, Politics, Education, Stupid politicians @ http://www.ruskinweb.co.uk/blog

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MPs Responses

Listed here are the responses we have received from members of Parliament since the 2010 general election to our campaign, to publicise their religious beliefs.

TIP: This is a list containing the names of 650 MPs. The easiest way to search it is to press Ctrl+F on your computer keyboard and in most browsers you should see a search box appear near the top of your screen. Type in the name of your MP, press Enter and that should take you to the relevant entry.

Response key: 1 = Are you? Atheist; Agnostic; Religious (practising); Religious lapsed; Other (specify).
2 = What is your religious background?
3 = What is your current religion?

Name Constituency Party
Response
Bridget Phillipson Houghton and Sunderland South Labour
No response
Sharon Hodgson Washington and Sunderland West Labour
No response
Julie Elliott Sunderland Central Labour
1 Atheist
2 Anglicanism
3 None
Naomi Long Belfast East Alliance
No response
Ian Paisley Jnr North Antrim DUP
No response
Pat Doherty West Tyrone Sinn Fein
No response
Kevan Jones North Durham Labour
No response
Steve Webb Thornbury and Yate Liberal Democrat
No response
Jenny Chapman Darlington Labour
No response
Jeffrey M Donaldson Lagan Valley DUP
No response
Hywel Williams Arfon Plaid Cymru
No response
Chris Skidmore Kingswood Conservative
No response
Charles Walker Broxbourne Conservative
No response
Tom Greatrex Rutherglen and Hamilton West Labour
No response
David Simpson Upper Bann DUP
1 Religious (practising)
2 Free Presbyterian
3 Christian/Protestant
Grahame Morris Easington Labour
No response
Adrian Sanders Torbay Liberal Democrat
No response
Justine Greening Putney Conservative
No response
Lady Hermon North Down Independent
No response
Jack Lopresti Filton and Bradley Stoke Conservative
No response
Frank Roy Motherwell and Wishaw Labour
No response
Phil Wilson Sedgefield Labour
No response
Albert Owen Ynys Môn Labour
No response
Chris Ruane Vale of Clwyd Labour
No response
Michael McCann East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow Labour
No response
Menzies Campbell North East Fife Liberal Democrat
No response
Roberta Blackman-Woods City of Durham Labour
No response
Gordon Brown Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath Labour
No response
Jane Ellison Battersea Conservative
No response
Susan Elan Jones Clwyd South Labour
No response
Nia Griffith Llanelli Labour
No response
David Laws Yeovil Liberal Democrat
No response
Chris Evans Islwyn Labour
No response
Christopher Chope Christchurch Conservative
No response
Sammy Wilson East Antrim DUP
No response
Fiona O’Donnell East Lothian Labour
No response
Jimmy Hood Lanark and Hamilton East Labour
No response
Stuart Bell Middlesbrough Labour
No response
Angus MacNeil Na h-Eileanan an Iar Scottish National Party
No response
Kenneth Clarke Rushcliffe Conservative
No response
Jim McGovern Dundee West Labour
No response
Lindsay Roy Glenrothes Labour
No response
Anne Milton Guildford Conservative
No response
Andrew Selous South West Bedfordshire Conservative
No response
Karen Bradley Staffordshire Moorlands Conservative
No response
Sadiq Khan Tooting Labour
No response
Ian Lucas Wrexham Labour
No response
Vernon Coaker Gedling Labour
No response
Cathy Jamieson Kilmarnock and Loudoun Labour
No response
Richard Benyon Newbury Conservative
No response
Michael Fallon Sevenoaks Conservative
No response
Alasdair McDonnell Belfast South Social Democratic and Labour Party
No response
Douglas Carswell Clacton Conservative
No response
David Wright Telford Labour
No response
Mark Pritchard The Wrekin Conservative
No response
Nick Smith Blaenau Gwent Labour
No response
Tom Clarke Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill Labour
No response
Eric Joyce Falkirk Labour
No response
Julian Brazier Canterbury Conservative
No response
Michael Weir Angus Scottish National Party
No response
Gavin Williamson South Staffordshire Conservative
No response
Rebecca Harris Castle Point Conservative
No response
Thomas Docherty Dunfermline and West Fife Labour
No response
Ben Bradshaw Exeter Labour
No response
Philip Hollobone Kettering Conservative
No response
Nicky Morgan Loughborough Conservative
No response
Jessica Morden Newport East Labour
No response
Nigel Evans Ribble Valley Conservative
No response
Richard Bacon South Norfolk Conservative
No response
Guto Bebb Aberconwy Conservative
No response
Pamela Nash Airdrie and Shotts Labour
No response
Helen Goodman Bishop Auckland Labour
No response
Stephen Dorrell Charnwood Conservative
No response
Gregg McClymont Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East Labour
No response
Stewart Hosie Dundee East Scottish National Party
No response
Margaret Curran Glasgow East Labour
No response
Derek Twigg Halton Labour
No response
Mark Prisk Hertford and Stortford Conservative
No response
Graeme Morrice Livingston Labour
No response
Douglas Alexander Paisley and Renfrewshire South Labour
No response
Siân James Swansea East Labour
No response
David Crausby Bolton North East Labour
No response
Mark Williams Ceredigion Liberal Democrat
No response
Hugo Swire East Devon Conservative
No response
Anas Sarwar Glasgow Central Labour
No response
Glyn Davies Montgomeryshire Conservative
No response
Andrew Bridgen North West Leicestershire Conservative
“Practising Christian”
Alun Cairns Vale of Glamorgan Conservative
No response
Oliver Letwin West Dorset Conservative
No response
Mark Durkan Foyle Social Democratic and Labour Party
1 Religious (practising)
2 Roman Catholicism
3 Roman Catholicism
David Hamilton Midlothian Labour
No response
David Lidington Aylesbury Conservative
No response
Ian Liddell-Grainger Bridgwater and West Somerset Conservative
No response
Wayne David Caerphilly Labour
No response
Jonathan Edwards Carmarthen East and Dinefwr Plaid Cymru
No response
Cheryl Gillan Chesham and Amersham Conservative
No response
Damian Collins Folkestone and Hythe Conservative
No response
Andrew Bingham High Peak Conservative
No response
Alan Johnson Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle Labour
No response
Michael Connarty Linlithgow and East Falkirk Labour
No response
Marcus Jones Nuneaton Conservative
No response
Jim Sheridan Paisley and Renfrewshire North Labour
No response
Stephen Metcalfe South Basildon and East Thurrock Conservative
No response
Anne McGuire Stirling Labour
No response
Alex Cunningham Stockton North Labour
No response
Christopher Pincher Tamworth Conservative
No response
Brooks Newmark Braintree Conservative
No response
Stephen Mosley City of Chester Conservative
No response
Ann McKechin Glasgow North Labour
No response
Michael Penning Hemel Hempstead Conservative
No response
James Clappison Hertsmere Conservative
No response
Graham Allen Nottingham North Labour
No response
Huw Irranca-Davies Ogmore Labour
No response
Pete Wishart Perth and North Perthshire Scottish National Party
No response
David Heath Somerton and Frome Liberal Democrat
No response
William McCrea South Antrim DUP
No response
Geraint Davies Swansea West Labour
No response
Elfyn Llwyd Dwyfor Meirionnydd Plaid Cymru
No response
Adam Holloway Gravesham Conservative
No response
Natascha Engel North East Derbyshire Labour
No response
Gordon Marsden Blackpool South Labour
No response
Jim Murphy East Renfrewshire Labour
No response
Michael Fabricant Lichfield Conservative
No response
Stephen Lloyd Eastbourne Liberal Democrat
No response
Christopher Huhne Eastleigh Liberal Democrat
No response
Michael Dugher Barnsley East Labour
No response
Graham Stuart Beverley and Holderness Conservative
No response
Daniel Poulter Central Suffolk and North Ipswich Conservative
No response
Caroline Flint Don Valley Labour
No response
Greg Knight East Yorkshire Conservative
No response
Sheila Gilmore Edinburgh East Labour
No response
Jessica Lee Erewash Conservative
No response
Ian Davidson Glasgow South West Labour
No response
Andrew Jones Harrogate and Knaresborough Conservative
No response
Iain Wright Hartlepool Labour
No response
Dai Havard Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney Labour
No response
Paul Flynn Newport West Labour
No response
Andrew Stephenson Pendle Conservative
No response
Jeremy Lefroy Stafford Conservative
No response
Sarah Wollaston Totnes Conservative
No response
Tony Cunningham Workington Labour
1 Religious (practising)
2 Roman Catholicism
3 Roman Catholicism
Ben Wallace Wyre and Preston North Conservative
No response
Gregory Barker Bexhill and Battle Conservative
No response
Paul Maynard Blackpool North and Cleveleys Conservative
No response
Mark Simmonds Boston and Skegness Conservative
No response
David Tredinnick Bosworth Conservative
No response
Phillip Lee Bracknell Conservative
No response
Alun Michael Cardiff South and Penarth Labour
No response
Stephen O’Brien Eddisbury Conservative
No response
Nicholas Boles Grantham and Stamford Conservative
No response
Karl Turner Kingston upon Hull East Labour
No response
George Howarth Knowsley Labour
No response
Liam Fox North Somerset Conservative
No response
Roger Gale North Thanet Conservative
Did not return questionnaire, but did send a short reply by letter,

“I have noted your views which I do not share.”

Heather Wheeler South Derbyshire Conservative
No response
Kwasi Kwarteng Spelthorne Conservative
No response
Therese Coffey Suffolk Coastal Conservative
No response
Jeremy Browne Taunton Deane Liberal Democrat
No response
John Penrose Weston-Super-Mare Conservative
1. Religious (lapsed)
2. Anglicanism
3. Not specified
Anna Soubry Broxtowe Conservative
No response
Simon Burns Chelmsford Conservative

“I am a member of the Church of England and on the ‘moral’ issues like abortion, euthanasia, etc., I vote my conscience and on the political policy areas I vote in keeping with the manifesto commitments that my Party made at the previous general election.”

Tom Harris Glasgow South Labour
No response
Martin Caton Gower Labour
No response
Stephen Hepburn Jarrow Labour
No response
David Miliband South Shields Labour
No response
Jeremy Hunt South West Surrey Conservative
No response
Matthew Hancock West Suffolk Conservative
No response
David Cameron Witney Conservative
No response
Martin McGuinness Mid Ulster Sinn Fein
No response
Angus Robertson Moray Scottish National Party
No response
Robert Goodwill Scarborough and Whitby Conservative
No response
Andrew Lansley South Cambridgeshire Conservative
No response
Jim Shannon Strangford DUP
1 Christian (see ‘Comments’)
2 Christian/Baptist
3 Christian/Baptist/Protestant
Practising or lapsed not specified.
Andrew Mitchell Sutton Coldfield Conservative
No response
David Willetts Havant Conservative
No response
Nadine Dorries Mid Bedfordshire Conservative
No response
Lilian Greenwood Nottingham South Labour
No response
Hywel Francis Aberavon Labour
No response
Mark Tami Alyn and Deeside Labour
No response
Yasmin Qureshi Bolton South East Labour
No response
Madeleine Moon Bridgend Labour
No response
David Hanson Delyn Labour
Did not return questionnaire, but acknowledged receipt by postcard.
Acknowledged receipt and content of our questionnaire; no further information or contact received.
Edward Miliband Doncaster North Labour
No response
Charlie Elphicke Dover Conservative
No response
Alistair Darling Edinburgh South West Labour
No response
Andrew Turner Isle of Wight Conservative
No response
Norman Baker Lewes Liberal Democrat
1 Other (see Comments)
2 Anglicanism, Church of Scotland
3 Other (see Comments)

“I have my own belief system.”

Peter Hain Neath Labour
No response
Chris Bryant Rhondda Labour
No response
Margaret Ritchie South Down Social Democratic and Labour Party
No response
Priti Patel Witham Conservative
No response
John Robertson Glasgow North West Labour
No response
Julian Lewis New Forest East Conservative
No response
Neil Parish Tiverton and Honiton Conservative
No response
David Jones Clwyd West Conservative
No response
Kevin Barron Rother Valley Labour
No response
Conor Burns Bournemouth West Conservative
No response
Roger Williams Brecon and Radnorshire Liberal Democrat
No response
Jennifer Willott Cardiff Central Liberal Democrat
No response
Rosie Winterton Doncaster Central Labour
No response
Jo Swinson East Dunbartonshire Liberal Democrat
No response
Damian Hinds East Hampshire Conservative
No response
Mark Lazarowicz Edinburgh North and Leith Labour
No response
William Bain Glasgow North East Labour
No response
Robert Halfon Harlow Conservative
No response
John Howell Henley Conservative
No response
Peter Tapsell Louth and Horncastle Conservative
No response
Philip Hammond Runnymede and Weybridge Conservative
No response
Harriett Baldwin West Worcestershire Conservative
No response
Steven Baker Wycombe Conservative
No response
Richard Fuller Bedford Conservative
No response
Shabana Mahmood Birmingham, Ladywood Labour
No response
Tobias Ellwood Bournemouth East Conservative
No response
Edward Timpson Crewe and Nantwich Conservative
No response
Sam Gyimah East Surrey Conservative
No response
Karl McCartney Lincoln Conservative
No response
John Whittingdale Maldon Conservative
No response
Patrick Mercer Newark Conservative
No response
Christopher Leslie Nottingham East Labour
No response
Andrew Smith Oxford East Labour
No response
Denis MacShane Rotherham Labour
No response
Laura Sandys South Thanet Conservative
No response
Damian Green Ashford Conservative
No response
Sandra Osborne Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock Labour
No response
Don Foster Bath Liberal Democrattd>
No response
Dennis Skinner Bolsover Labour
No response
Gordon Birtwistle Burnley Liberal Democrat
No response
David Ruffley Bury St Edmunds Conservative
No response
John Thurso Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross Liberal Democrat
No response
Ann Clwyd Cynon Valley Labour
No response
Michael Crockart Edinburgh West Liberal Democrat
No response
Eleanor Laing Epping Forest Conservative
No response
Amber Rudd Hastings and Rye Conservative
No response
Helen Grant Maidstone and The Weald Conservative
No response
Owen Smith Pontypridd Labour
No response
Crispin Blunt Reigate Conservative
No response
William Hague Richmond (Yorks) Conservative
No response
Nicholas Dakin Scunthorpe Labour
No response
Michael Gove Surrey Heath Conservative
No response
Charles Hendry Wealden Conservative
No response
Anne Begg Aberdeen South Labour
No response
Stephen Williams Bristol West Liberal Democrat
No response
John Stevenson Carlisle Conservative
No response
Paul Beresford Mole Valley Conservative
No response
Conor Murphy Newry and Armagh Sinn Fein
No response
Alison Seabeck Plymouth, Moor View Labour
No response
Lorraine Fullbrook South Ribble Conservative
No response
George Osborne Tatton Conservative
No response
David Anderson Blaydon Labour
No response
Nick Gibb Bognor Regis and Littlehampton Conservative
No response
Eric Pickles Brentwood and Ongar Conservative
No response
Kevin Brennan Cardiff West Labour
No response
Brian H Donohoe Central Ayrshire Labour
No response
Henry Smith Crawley Conservative
No response
Gareth Johnson Dartford Conservative
No response
Patrick McLoughlin Derbyshire Dales Conservative
No response
Chris Grayling Epsom and Ewell Conservative
No response
Mark Menzies Fylde Conservative
No response
Edward Leigh Gainsborough Conservative
No response
Kelvin Hopkins Luton North Labour
No response
Yvonne Fovargue Makerfield Labour
No response
Alan Meale Mansfield Labour
No response
Chi Onwurah Newcastle upon Tyne Central Labour
No response
Nick Brown Newcastle upon Tyne East Labour
No response
Anne-Marie Morris Newton Abbot Conservative
No response
Nick Harvey North Devon Liberal Democrat
No response
Norman Lamb North Norfolk Liberal Democrat
No response
Simon Danczuk Rochdale Labour
No response
Caroline Nokes Romsey and Southampton North Conservative
No response
Tim Yeo South Suffolk Conservative
No response
Andrew Murrison South West Wiltshire Conservative
No response
John Pugh Southport Liberal Democrat
No response
Paul Murphy Torfaen Labour
No response
Greg Clark Tunbridge Wells Conservative
No response
Edward Vaizey Wantage Conservative
No response
Peter Bone Wellingborough Conservative
No response
Grant Shapps Welwyn Hatfield Conservative
No response
John Healey Wentworth and Dearne Labour
No response
Richard Shepherd Aldridge-Brownhills Conservative
No response
Gloria De Piero Ashfield Labour
No response
Eilidh Whiteford Banff and Buchan Scottish National Party
1 Religious (practising)
2 Other (not specified)
3 Other (not specified)
Dominic Grieve Beaconsfield Conservative
No response
Simon Hart Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire Conservative
No response
Martin Vickers Cleethorpes Conservative
No response
Margaret Beckett Derby South Labour
No response
David Mundell Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale Conservative
No response
Dominic Raab Esher and Walton Conservative
No response
Mark Harper Forest of Dean Conservative
No response
Liz Kendall Leicester West Labour
No response
George Freeman Mid Norfolk Conservative
No response
David Davies Monmouth Conservative
Did not return questionnaire, but did send a short reply by letter,

“Do you believe that religions should have protection from abuse as is currently the case?”

Catherine McKinnell Newcastle upon Tyne North Labour
No response
Katy Clark North Ayrshire and Arran Labour
No response
Ian Swales Redcar Liberal Democrat
No response
Daniel Kawczynski Shrewsbury and Atcham Conservative
No response
John Hayes South Holland and The Deepings Conservative
No response
Joan Walley Stoke-on-Trent North Labour
No response
Jack Straw Blackburn Labour
No response
Andrew Tyrie Chichester Conservative
No response
Russell Brown Dumfries and Galloway Labour
No response
David Rutley Macclesfield Conservative
No response
Pauline Latham Mid Derbyshire Conservative
No response
Desmond Swayne New Forest West Conservative
No response
Stewart Jackson Peterborough Conservative
No response
Nadhim Zahawi Stratford-on-Avon Conservative
No response
Geoffrey Clifton-Brown The Cotswolds Conservative
No response
John Spellar Warley Labour
No response
Mark Garnier Wyre Forest Conservative
No response
Jack Dromey Birmingham, Erdington Labour
No response
Andrew Griffiths Burton Conservative
No response
Jesse Norman Hereford and South Herefordshire Conservative
No response
Gordon Henderson Sittingbourne and Sheppey Conservative
No response
Andrea Leadsom South Northamptonshire Conservative
No response
Robert Smith West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine Liberal Democrat
No response
Tom Watson West Bromwich East Labour
No response
Chris Williamson Derby North Labour
No response
Lisa Nandy Wigan Labour
No response
Andrew Percy Brigg and Goole Conservative
No response
Kerry McCarthy Bristol East Labour
1 Atheist
2 Baptist
3 None
Tom Brake Carshalton and Wallington Liberal Democrat
No response
Louise Mensch Corby Conservative
No response
Andrew Love Edmonton Labour
No response
Austin Mitchell Great Grimsby Labour
No response
Graham Jones Hyndburn Labour
No response
Danny Alexander Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey Liberal Democrat
No response
James Gray North Wiltshire Conservative
No response
Brian Binley Northampton South Conservative
No response
Gordon Banks Ochil and South Perthshire Labour
No response
Stephen Phillips Sleaford and North Hykeham Conservative
No response
Anne Main St Albans Conservative
No response
Gerald Howarth Aldershot Conservative
No response
John Woodcock Barrow and Furness Labour
No response
Chris Kelly Dudley South Conservative
No response
David Davis Haltemprice and Howden Conservative
No response
Jim Dobbin Heywood and Middleton Labour
No response
Stephen Crabb Preseli Pembrokeshire Conservative
No response
John Glen Salisbury Conservative
No response
Neil Carmichael Stroud Conservative
No response
John Stanley Tonbridge and Malling Conservative
No response
Adrian Bailey West Bromwich West Labour
No response
Richard Burden Birmingham, Northfield Labour
No response
Bob Russell Colchester Liberal Democrat
1 Religious (lapsed)
2 Non-conformist Protestant
3 Non-conformist Protestant
Chris Heaton-Harris Daventry Conservative
No response
Malcolm Bruce Gordon Liberal Democrat
No response
Bill Wiggin North Herefordshire Conservative
No response
Nicola Blackwood Oxford West and Abingdon Conservative
No response
Mark Hendrick Preston Labour
No response
Robert Buckland South Swindon Conservative
No response
Aidan Burley Cannock Chase Conservative
No response
Toby Perkins Chesterfield Labour
No response
Malcolm Rifkind Kensington Conservative
No response
Gavin Shuker Luton South Labour
No response
Tom Blenkinsop Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour
No response
Dan Byles North Warwickshire Conservative
No response
Tristram Hunt Stoke-on-Trent Central Labour
No response
Adam Afriyie Windsor Conservative
As we didn’t receive a response to our initial letter, I followed up with additional requests, as a constituent. Here is my first personal letter to him.

Subsequent to the last general election you were contacted by an organisation, Atheism (www.AtheismUK.com), of which I am a member, but a response was not received.

The communication concerned a survey of the religious attitudes of Members of Parliament. As beliefs, religious or otherwise, inform the actions of all of us, including policymakers, it is important that the voting public are aware of the beliefs of those who are in a position of power.

Therefore, as a constituent I would be most grateful if you would complete and return the questionnaire, which I have enclosed.

Here’s the first, dismissive, response, from his office manager.

 

I followed up with a direct request for his beliefs.

I think there was some misunderstanding about my request. Surveys aside, it was a personal request from a constituent regarding the nature of your religious beliefs.

As mentioned before beliefs, religious or otherwise, inform the actions of all of us, including policymakers. It is, therefore, important that the voting public are aware of the beliefs of those who are in a position of power.

I would be most grateful, then, if you would let me know what your religious beliefs are, in terms of the brand of Faith, if any, and whether practising or lapsed.

Here is the next, personal, reply where he declines to answer the question, but his response would indicate that he has definite Christian sympathies.

My last letter was very much longer and made it clear that my thoughts were that religion and power should not be mixed.

I find it somewhat disturbing that you support a religion that not only has a heritage of prejudice and persecution, but also currently actively oppresses and victimises people in parts of the world, as well basing their world view on source texts which call for the subjugation of women (Timothy 2:11-14), homophobia (Leviticus 20:13), discrimination of the disabled (Leviticus 21:16-23) and murder (Deuteronomy 21:20-21).

Rather than Christianity having a beneficial influence in democracy and our way of life I think it is more accurate to say that rationality and reason that arose out of the Enlightenment has led Christianity (kicking and screaming) out of the Dark Ages.

I agree with you that the State has no place in freedom when it comes to personal worship. I hope you also agree the converse, that the Church should not interfere with the State, and that you will campaign to have the (unelected) Bishops ejected from the House of Lords.

You made the point that faith underpins charitable giving and voluntary assistance. It is always good that this happens (provided there is no hidden agenda), though it could be inferred from you statement that you think that those without Faith are less charitable. I hope this is not the case as it may indicate a prejudice against non-believers. Of course, if it is the case that the religious and non-religious are equally charitable then religion is actually irrelevant on this point.

However, back to the main point, it is admirable that you do not discriminate against your constituents based upon their beliefs, but there is a much wider and important point of relevance here. And that is, is someone of Faith fit to govern?

Faith is belief without knowledge, or evidence, or reason, and leads to an environment whereby people can believe anything. This may not matter in someone’s personal life, but when mixed with politics the results can be disastrous, no matter how hard that person tries to keep their faith out of their public life. If someone believes that faith is a valid way of understanding or interpreting the world then it is, perhaps, inevitable that that way of thinking seeps into their life generally.

We have seen this in very recent times with Tony Blair taking us in to the Iraq War based upon faith; with the obvious tragic consequences. It seems clear that there was little, if any, evidence or rationale for this country going to war in Iraq, and the decision was faith-based; as he himself said many times, “I believed it was the right thing to do”. Such faith should have no place in the decision making process within government. Important decisions should be based upon reason and hard evidence.

Someone who bases their world view on mythology, superstition and ignorance is unlikely to be able to apply an objective and impartial perspective to policies, and, as such, would not be fit to govern. It is, therefore, important that the public are aware of the religious beliefs of those in positions of powers, so I hope you will be disposed to answer the question about the nature of your religious beliefs.

His last response was again dismissive and he clearly had no desire to continue the conversation.

 

Barbara Keeley Worsley and Eccles South Labour
No response
John Mann Bassetlaw Labour
No response
Mark Hoban Fareham Conservative
No response
Rachel Reeves Leeds West Labour
No response
Andrew Robathan South Leicestershire Conservative
No response
Valerie Vaz Walsall South Labour
1 Religious (practising)
2 Roman Catholicism
3 Roman Catholicism
Julian Sturdy York Outer Conservative
No response
Frank Doran Aberdeen North Labour
No response
Sajid Javid Bromsgrove Conservative
No response
Fiona Bruce Congleton Conservative
No response
Simon Reevell Dewsbury Conservative
No response
Nick de Bois Enfield North Conservative
No response
James Morris Halesowen and Rowley Regis Conservative
No response
Peter Lilley Hitchin and Harpenden Conservative
No response
Paul Farrelly Newcastle-under-Lyme Labour
No response
Karen Lumley Redditch Conservative
No response
Maria Miller Basingstoke Conservative
No response
Joe Benton Bootle Labour
No response
Mark Field Cities of London and Westminster Conservative
No response
Gavin Barwell Croydon Central Conservative
No response
Hugh Robertson Faversham and Mid Kent Conservative
No response
George Mudie Leeds East Labour
No response
Keith Vaz Leicester East Labour
No response
Robert Walter North Dorset Conservative
No response
Owen Paterson North Shropshire Conservative
Did not return questionnaire, but did send a short reply by letter,

“If you know of anyone with a North Shropshire address who would be willing to write to me about this issue I would be happy to correspond with them.”

Shailesh Vara North West Cambridgeshire Conservative
No response
Robert Syms Poole Conservative
No response
Stuart Andrew Pudsey Conservative
No response
Mark Francois Rayleigh and Wickford Conservative
No response
Charles Kennedy Ross, Skye and Lochaber Liberal Democrat
1 Religious (practising)
2 Roman Catholicism
3 Roman Catholicism
Jake Berry Rossendale and Darwen Conservative
No response
Paul Burstow Sutton and Cheam Liberal Democrat
No response
Angela Eagle Wallasey Labour
No response
David Winnick Walsall North Labour
No response
Stephen Hammond Wimbledon Conservative
No response
Pat McFadden Wolverhampton South East Labour
No response
Robin Walker Worcester Conservative
1 Religious (practising)
2 Anglicanism
3 Anglicanism
Duncan Hames Chippenham Liberal Democrat
1 Religious (practising)
2 Anglicanism
3 Anglicanism
Michael Ellis Northampton North Conservative
No response
James Duddridge Rochford and Southend East Conservative
No response
Alan Duncan Rutland and Melton Conservative
No response
Robert Flello Stoke-on-Trent South Labour
No response
Laurence Robertson Tewkesbury Conservative
No response
Emma Reynolds Wolverhampton North East Labour
No response
John Baron Basildon and Billericay Conservative
No response
Frank Field Birkenhead Labour
No response
Bernard Jenkin Harwich and North Essex Conservative
No response
Annette Brooke Mid Dorset and North Poole Liberal Democrat
No response
Edward Balls Morley and Outwood Labour
No response
Mark Hunter Cheadle Liberal Democrat
No response
David Burrowes Enfield, Southgate Conservative
No response
Barry Sheerman Huddersfield Labour
No response
Siobhain McDonagh Mitcham and Morden Labour
No response
Justin Tomlinson North Swindon Conservative
No response
Tony Baldry Banbury Conservative
No response
Mike Wood Batley and Spen Labour
No response
David Evennett Bexleyheath and Crayford Conservative
No response
John Hemming Birmingham, Yardley Liberal Democrat
No response
Tracey Crouch Chatham and Aylesford Conservative
No response
Gregory Campbell East Londonderry DUP
No response
Ian Murray Edinburgh South Labour
No response
Caroline Dinenage Gosport Conservative
No response
Theresa May Maidenhead Conservative
No response
Simon Wright Norwich South Liberal Democrat
Did not return original questionnaire. Reply to constituent follow up: “I consider myself to be a practicing Christian.”
Sheryll Murray South East Cornwall Conservative
No response
Margot James Stourbridge Conservative
No response
Hugh Bayley York Central Labour
No response
Liam Byrne Birmingham, Hodge Hill Labour
No response
David Nuttall Bury North Conservative
No response
Ivan Lewis Bury South Labour
No response
Edward Garnier Harborough Conservative
No response
Andrew Stunell Hazel Grove Liberal Democrat
No response
Emily Thornberry Islington South and Finsbury Labour
No response
Andy Burnham Leigh Labour
No response
Nigel Adams Selby and Ainsty Conservative
No response
David Amess Southend West Conservative
No response
Karen Buck Westminster North Labour
No response
Brandon Lewis Great Yarmouth Conservative
No response
Diana Johnson Kingston upon Hull North Labour
No response
Fabian Hamilton Leeds North East Labour
No response
Mark Pawsey Rugby Conservative
No response
Gisela Stuart Birmingham, Edgbaston Labour
No response
Julie Hilling Bolton West Labour
No response
Louise Ellman Liverpool, Riverside Labour
No response
Hazel Blears Salford and Eccles Labour
No response
Gary Streeter South West Devon Conservative
No response
Esther McVey Wirral West Conservative
No response
Jeremy Corbyn Islington North Labour
No response
Andrew Rosindell Romford Conservative
No response
John Denham Southampton, Itchen Labour
No response
Graham Evans Weaver Vale Conservative
No response
Jonathan Evans Cardiff North Conservative
No response
Hilary Benn Leeds Central Labour
No response
Alan Whitehead Southampton, Test Labour
No response
Jonathan Lord Woking Conservative
No response
Paul Uppal Wolverhampton South West Conservative
No response
Clive Betts Sheffield South East Labour
No response
Ann Coffey Stockport Labour
No response
John Redwood Wokingham Conservative
No response
Jason McCartney Colne Valley Conservative
No response
Stephen McPartland Stevenage Conservative
No response
Mike Weatherley Hove Conservative
1 Atheist
2 Anglicanism
3 None
Mary Creagh Wakefield Labour
No response
Stephen McCabe Birmingham, Selly Oak Labour
No response
Charlotte Leslie Bristol North West Conservative
No response
Julian Huppert Cambridge Liberal Democrat
1 Atheist
2 Judaism
3 None
Alec Shelbrooke Elmet and Rothwell Conservative
No response
Maria Eagle Garston and Halewood Labour
1 Atheist
2 Anglicanism
3 None
Andy Slaughter Hammersmith Labour
No response
Edward Davey Kingston and Surbiton Liberal Democrat
No response
Jo Johnson Orpington Conservative
1. Religious (practising/lapsed)
2. Anglicanism
3. Anglicanism
David Blunkett Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough Labour
No response
Dave Watts St Helens North Labour
No response
Shaun Woodward St Helens South and Whiston Labour
No response
Kate Green Stretford and Urmston Labour
No response
Alison McGovern Wirral South Labour
No response
Greg Mulholland Leeds North West Liberal Democrat
No response
Oliver Colvile Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport Conservative
No response
Mark Reckless Rochester and Strood Conservative
No response
Philip Davies Shipley Conservative
No response
Simon Kirby Brighton, Kemptown Conservative
No response
Geoffrey Robinson Coventry North West Labour
No response
Richard Ottaway Croydon South Conservative
No response
Caroline Spelman Meriden Conservative
No response
Steve Brine Winchester Conservative
No response
Graham Brady Altrincham and Sale West Conservative
No response
Lee Scott Ilford North Conservative
No response
Alok Sharma Reading West Conservative
No response
Richard Drax South Dorset Conservative
No response
Peter Aldous Waveney Conservative
No response
Khalid Mahmood Birmingham, Perry Barr Labour
No response
Dawn Primarolo Bristol South Labour
No response
Nicholas Soames Mid Sussex Conservative
No response
Bill Esterson Sefton Central Labour
No response
Meg Munn Sheffield, Heeley Labour
No response
Vincent Cable Twickenham Liberal Democrat
No response
Bob Stewart Beckenham Conservative
No response
Jim Cunningham Coventry South Labour
No response
Mark Spencer Sherwood Conservative
No response
Rosie Cooper West Lancashire Labour
No response
Caroline Lucas Brighton, Pavilion Green
No response
Nigel Dodds Belfast North DUP
No response
Zac Goldsmith Richmond Park Conservative
No response
Margaret Hodge Barking Labour
No response
Nick Herbert Arundel and South Downs Conservative
No response
Michael Moore Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk Liberal Democrat
No response
Roger Godsiff Birmingham, Hall Green Labour
No response
Mary Macleod Brentford and Isleworth Conservative
No response
Bob Neill Bromley and Chislehurst Conservative
No response
Harriet Harman Camberwell and Peckham Labour
No response
Mel Stride Central Devon Conservative
Church of England (Anglican), non lapsed
Greg Hands Chelsea and Fulham Conservative
No response
Bob Ainsworth Coventry North East Labour
No response
Malcolm Wicks Croydon North Labour
No response
Claire Perry Devizes Conservative
No response
Alistair Burt North East Bedfordshire Conservative
No response
Stephen Barclay North East Cambridgeshire Conservative
No response
Pat Glass North West Durham Labour
No response
James Paice South East Cambridgeshire Conservative
No response
Gemma Doyle West Dunbartonshire Labour
No response
Ian Mearns Gateshead Labour
“Atheist”
Rehman Chishti Gillingham and Rainham Conservative
No response
Richard Graham Gloucester Conservative
No response
Gareth Thomas Harrow West Labour
No response
Jon Trickett Hemsworth Labour
No response
Angela Watkinson Hornchurch and Upminster Conservative
No response
Francis Maude Horsham Conservative
No response
Ben Gummer Ipswich Conservative
No response
Kris Hopkins Keighley Conservative
No response
Luciana Berger Liverpool, Wavertree Labour
No response
Stephen Twigg Liverpool, West Derby Labour
No response
Philip Dunne Ludlow Conservative
No response
Oliver Heald North East Hertfordshire Conservative
No response
George Young North West Hampshire Conservative
No response
David Gauke South West Hertfordshire Conservative
No response
Peter Luff Mid Worcestershire Conservative
No response
Jacob Rees-Mogg North East Somerset Conservative
No response
Mary Glindon North Tyneside Labour
No response
Michael Meacher Oldham West and Royton Labour
No response
Mike Hancock Portsmouth South Liberal Democrat
No response
Stephen Gilbert St Austell and Newquay Liberal Democrat
No response
Jonathan Reynolds Stalybridge and Hyde Labour
No response
James Wharton Stockton South Conservative
No response
William Cash Stone Conservative
No response
John Randall Uxbridge and South Ruislip Conservative
No response
Helen Jones Warrington North Labour
No response
David Mowat Warrington South Conservative
No response
David Heyes Ashton-under-Lyne Labour
No response
Simon Hughes Bermondsey and Old Southwark Liberal Democrat
No response
Graham Stringer Blackley and Broughton Labour
No response
Marsha Singh Bradford West Labour
No response
George Eustice Camborne and Redruth Conservative
No response
Theresa Villiers Chipping Barnet Conservative
No response
Andrew Gwynne Denton and Reddish Labour
No response
Tim Loughton East Worthing and Shoreham Conservative
No response
Mike Freer Finchley and Golders Green Conservative
No response
Linda Riordan Halifax Labour
No response
Frank Dobson Holborn and St Pancras Labour
No response
Lynne Featherstone Hornsey and Wood Green Liberal Democrat
No response
Steve Rotheram Liverpool, Walton Labour
No response
George Hollingbery Meon Valley Conservative
No response
Yvette Cooper Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford Labour
No response
Dan Rogerson North Cornwall Liberal Democrat
No response
Henry Bellingham North West Norfolk Conservative
No response
Alistair Carmichael Orkney and Shetland Liberal Democrat
Christian (Church of Scotland) “As a general rule I take the view that politics and religion are best kept apart. Anyone with a contrary view may wish to see where such an approach has taken American politics.”
Angela Smith Penistone and Stocksbridge Labour
No response
Penny Mordaunt Portsmouth North Conservative
No response
Rob Wilson Reading East Conservative
No response
Nick Hurd Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner Conservative
No response
Nicholas Clegg Sheffield, Hallam Liberal Democrat
No response
Fiona Mactaggart Slough Labour
Did not return questionnaire, but did send a reply by e-mail,

“I am an atheist, but I respect all those that do have a religious faith and I find that there is something you can learn from each of them.”

Elizabeth Truss South West Norfolk Conservative
No response
David Lammy Tottenham Labour
No response
Tessa Munt Wells Liberal Democrat
No response
Mike Gapes Ilford South Labour
No response
Paul Blomfield Sheffield Central Labour
No response
Craig Whittaker Calder Valley Conservative
No response
Bob Blackman Harrow East Conservative
No response
Peter Bottomley Worthing West Conservative
No response
David Ward Bradford East Liberal Democrat
No response
Gerry Sutcliffe Bradford South Labour
No response
Iain Duncan Smith Chingford and Woodford Green Conservative
No response
Jon Cruddas Dagenham and Rainham Labour
No response
Gerald Kaufman Manchester, Gorton Labour
No response
Lorely Burt Solihull Liberal Democrat
No response
Lindsay Hoyle Chorley Labour
No response
Iain Stewart Milton Keynes South Conservative
No response
Alan Campbell Tynemouth Labour
No response
Stephen Pound Ealing North Labour
No response
Clive Efford Eltham Labour
No response
Sarah Newton Truro and Falmouth Conservative
No response
Tessa Jowell Dulwich and West Norwood Labour
No response
Nick Raynsford Greenwich and Woolwich Labour
No response
Virendra Sharma Ealing, Southall Labour
No response
Stella Creasy Walthamstow Labour
No response
Mark Lancaster Milton Keynes North Conservative
“I would describe myself as an occasional practising member of the Church of England.”
John Leech Manchester, Withington Liberal Democrat
No response
Tony Lloyd Manchester Central Labour
No response
Chuka Umunna Streatham Labour
No response
Angie Bray Ealing Central and Acton Conservative
Did not return original questionnaire. Constituent follow up by e-mail: “I am a pretty laid-back, not regular church-attending, but enjoy hymn-singing and services conducted in the old Book of Common Prayer language, Anglican.”
Glenda Jackson Hampstead and Kilburn Labour
No response
John Cryer Leyton and Wanstead Labour
No response
Kate Hoey Vauxhall Labour
No response
Heidi Alexander Lewisham East Labour
No response
Richard Harrington Watford Conservative
No response
John McDonnell Hayes and Harlington Labour
No response
Stephen Timms East Ham Labour
No response
Matthew Offord Hendon Conservative
No response
Jim Dowd Lewisham West and Penge Labour
No response
Lyn Brown West Ham Labour
No response
Paul Goggins Wythenshawe and Sale East Labour
No response
Joan Ruddock Lewisham, Deptford Labour
No response
James Brokenshire Old Bexley and Sidcup Conservative
No response
Teresa Pearce Erith and Thamesmead Labour
No response
Jackie Doyle-Price Thurrock Conservative
No response
Barry Gardiner Brent North Labour
No response
Jim Fitzpatrick Poplar and Limehouse Labour
No response
Andrew Miller Ellesmere Port and Neston Labour
No response
Sarah Teather Brent Central Liberal Democrat
No response
Rushanara Ali Bethnal Green and Bow Labour
No response
James Arbuthnot North East Hampshire Conservative
No response
Chris White Warwick and Leamington Conservative
No response
Alan Haselhurst Saffron Walden Conservative
No response
Alan Beith Berwick-upon-Tweed Liberal Democrat
No response
Jeremy Wright Kenilworth and Southam Conservative
No response
Chloe Smith Norwich North Conservative
No response
Julian Smith Skipton and Ripon Conservative
Did not return questionnaire, but did send a reply by letter,

“I am a Christian…” “The details of my personal faith are, I believe, a matter which should remain private to me.”

Alan Reid Argyll and Bute Liberal Democrat
No response
Jamie Reed Copeland Labour
No response
Jonathan Djanogly Huntingdon Conservative
No response
Keith Simpson Broadland Conservative
No response
Ronnie Campbell Blyth Valley Labour
No response
John Bercow Buckingham Speaker
No response
Martin Horwood Cheltenham Liberal Democrat
No response
Guy Opperman Hexham Conservative
No response
Ian Lavery Wansbeck Labour
No response
Tim Farron Westmorland and Lonsdale Liberal Democrat
No response
Diane Abbott Hackney North and Stoke Newington Labour
No response
Rory Stewart Penrith and The Border Conservative
No response
Michelle Gildernew Fermanagh and South Tyrone Sinn Fein
No response
Meg Hillier Hackney South and Shoreditch Labour
No response
Andrew George St Ives Liberal Democrat
No response
Nigel Mills Amber Valley Conservative
No response
David Morris Morecambe and Lunesdale Conservative
No response
Ian Austin Dudley North Labour
No response
Eric Ollerenshaw Lancaster and Fleetwood Conservative
Geoffrey Cox Torridge and West Devon Conservative
No response
Anne McIntosh Thirsk and Malton Conservative
No response
Debbie Abrahams Oldham East and Saddleworth Labour
No response
Dan Jarvis Barnsley Central Labour
No response
Jonathan Ashworth Leicester South Labour
No response
Paul Maskey Belfast West Sinn Fein
No response
Iain McKenzie Inverclyde Labour
No response
Seema Malhotra Feltham and Heston Labour
No response
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Atheist is Prime Minister

Well, almost. The Deputy PM, Nick Clegg, has stated in the past that he does not believe in God. Now I am wondering if our system is the same as in the US, in that if the PM is assassinated (don’t get any ideas) does the deputy take over?

However, although the actual PM, David Cameron, does appear to be religious, he fortunately does not seem to be particularly devout, and has said, ‘I’ve a sort of fairly classic Church of England faith, a faith that grows hotter and colder by moments’.

Like most UK politicians he is somewhat ambiguous and evasive about his approach to religion saying, ‘I do think that organized religion can get things wrong, but the Church of England and the other churches do play a very important role in society. I think that it’s perfectly possible to live a good life without having faith, by which I mean a positive and altruistic life, but I think the teachings of Jesus, just as the teachings of other religions, are a good guide to help us through.’

At least this is a vast improvement on the situation in the United States where such attitudes would be political suicide. As one person commented on Clegg’s religious views on a Washington blog,  ‘I can’t possibly endorse him. My invisible superhero from outer space might become angered’.

It is also an improvement on the two previous PMs, especially Tony Bliar whose press secretary Alastair Campbell once said the prime minister ‘didn’t do God’. But as soon as he stood down converted to Roman Catholicism and then set up his own ‘Faith’ Foundation.

As a Liberal Democrat/anyone-as-long-as-they’re-not-tory voter the current coalition seems like a weird dream or alternate universe worthy of Star Trek, but perhaps Liberal Democrat involvement will temper the excesses of the, traditionally Christian, Conservatives. At least they’re talking to each other instead of constantly bickering and squabbling like children. Good luck to them; as long as they keep religion out of politics!

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