On freedom of Religion and Atheism

A few days ago I wrote a piece about Baroness Warsi’s somewhat insulting article in the telegraph in which she compared secularists with Stalin and Hitler. All this and a discussion on the facebook group (Yes it’s back) got me thinking more about this issue and in particular the line between atheism and secularism.

We hear too often from right wing groups and press that “This is a Christian country” usually followed by an un-Christian statement. To what extent are we a Christian nation? The communities secretary, Eric Pickles has waded into the row over council prayers and unveiled the direction his policies will go.

Pickles wants to improve cohesion by having a “Big lunch” where people sit down with a sandwich or possibly a curry from his new “Curry College” As we know Warsi railed on secularists for eroding our values and twice last year David Cameron said we were a Christian nation.

If Christianity and by extension religion has 3 senior members of the government “Defending” it I can’t see how it’s under threat. To claim a religion is under threat is down right stupidity. That excuse has been used to defend action that are a dark stain on Human history. From the Crusades in the middle ages to indiscriminate slaughter in World war two to trouble spots in the world today.

In my mind those that claim a religion is under threat then use the power the people, of whom hold many beliefs not compatible with each other is nothing short of tyranny . Religion provides comfort, it instils a moral code of care and compassion and provides comfort to millions. It should not be used as a political pawn. The state should not interfere with religion and it should not legislate on a persons right to worship. In my mind religion holds no position in the affairs of state and vice versa.

Atheists are not all the same, like religion it comes in many flavours from those who don’t believe and respect the beliefs of others, to those who pursue a no religion at all for any one agenda.  To rail against all atheists is the same as discriminating against all Muslims because of the actions of a few.

It’s wrong and cheapens not only our beliefs but yours.

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