Britain in danger from “militant secularists” :-)

February 14, 2012 • 12:15 pm

Shoot me if I don’t know who Baroness Warsi is, but she’s made a dire pronouncement in the pages of The Telegraph: Britain is being overtaken by militant secularists. The good Baroness is leading a ministerial delegation from the UK to the Vatican (apparently reciprocating for the Pope’s visit in 2010), and she writes about it in a dire piece Telegraph piece called “We stand side by side with the Pope in fighting for faith.”  Here are Baroness Warsi’s worries about creeping secularism:

My fear today is that a militant secularisation is taking hold of our societies. We see it in any number of things: when signs of religion cannot be displayed or worn in government buildings; when states won’t fund faith schools; and where religion is sidelined, marginalised and downgraded in the public sphere.

It seems astonishing to me that those who wrote the European Constitution made no mention of God or Christianity. When I denounced this tendency two days before the Holy Father’s State Visit in September 2010, saying that government should “do God”, I received countless messages of support. The overwhelming message was: “At last someone has said it”.

This woman is mad.  She wants to de-secularize European governments, with special mention of Christianity?  Remember, she’s head of an official UK government mission. She goes on:

That so many people felt moved to write showed just how uneasy they were at the rising tide of secularism.

For me, one of the most worrying aspects about this militant secularisation is that at its core and in its instincts it is deeply intolerant. It demonstrates similar traits to totalitarian regimes – denying people the right to a religious identity because they were frightened of the concept of multiple identities.

That’s why in the 20th century, one of the first acts of totalitarian regimes was the targeting of organised religion. . .

When we look at the deep distrust between some communities today, there is no doubt that faith has a key role to play in bridging these divides. If people understand that accepting a person of another faith isn’t a threat to their own, they can unite in fighting bigotry and work together to create a more just world.

The retort is so obvious it’s hardly worth mentioning: the biggest source of intolerance in the world is not secularism, but religion.  Because each faith thinks it has a lock on the truth, it perforce must see the others as wrong. And since there’s no objective way to adjudicate what’s true (something we do have in science), the enmity persists.  Which secularists deny people a right to their religious identity? Have I ever said that a Catholic has no right to be a Catholic, or no right to profess what he or she believes? No, what I claim is not the right to deny people their beliefs, but the right to criticize those beliefs when they seem irrational, harmful, or unfounded.

Here’s what the Torygraph says about the upcoming visit.  Cameron is a real faith-head!:

[Warsi’s] speech represents one of the most strident defences of the importance of religion by a serving British minister. It comes days after the High Court ruled that local councils could not hold prayers during meetings. There have also been recent cases of public sector workers being banned from displaying Christian symbols at work.

David Cameron welcomed the visit. He said: “Our relationship with the Holy See is an important one and it speaks powerfully of the positive contribution faith can make to all societies.

“Sayeeda Warsi has consistently made the case for a deeper understanding of faith by the British Government so I am delighted that she will be taking this message to the Vatican personally.”

And, finally, the Telegraph‘s own view, as expressed in its editorial “Faith must not be driven from Britain’s public life“:

Our history and culture are formed by the Christian faith. The way we are governed is linked directly to the schism in the Church almost half a millennium ago: in England, we have an Established Church of which the head of state is the Supreme Governor.

Yeah, but you UK guys don’t need an Established Church any longer.  Sometimes traditions are valueless. The editorial continues:

It is all too easy to forget this – largely because politically correct fawning by public bodies over the sensitivities of other faiths has left many Christians feeling inhibited about asserting and celebrating their own beliefs. It has also left many wondering exactly when it was that Britain stopped being a Christian country. Combine that with the aggressive intolerance of the militant secularists, and it is little wonder that the Church of England frequently feels beleaguered.

Last week, we had the perfect illustration of this baleful process, when the National Secular Society succeeded in a High Court attempt to prevent Bideford Town Council doing something it had done for centuries – holding a short prayer service at the start of its meetings. The atheist former councillor who pressed the case argued that the council had no right to “impose” its religious views on him, conveniently ignoring the fact that no one had forced him to attend the prayers, and failing totally to see that it was he who was seeking to impose his views on others, not the other way round.

For once I can say that this: that type of religiosity is foreign to many Americans.  It’s illegal in our country to start government meetings with prayers, for the U.S. government, by Constitutional decree, is strictly neutral on the issue of religion.  (That doesn’t mean, of course, that the faithful don’t try to circumvent this!) It would be equally illegal to start a public meeting with an atheist “prayer” or “reading.”  By prohibiting any religious or antireligious observance at civil events, the government (at least, our government) is not imposing atheist views on others; it’s imposing religious neutrality on civil functions.

For a humorous palliative, go read Crispian Jago’s parody at Science, Reason, and Critical Thinking, “Militant reason a threat to fantasy, warns Warsi.” It’s hilarious; here’s the beginning, and it gets funnier:

Ancient myths are being “sidelined, marginalised and downgraded in the public sphere”, Conservative co-chairwoman Baroness Warsi whined in an article for the Daily Telegraph.

The Muslim peer said Europe needed to become “more confident and more comfortable with its middle eastern fairy tales “.

h/t: Grania Spingies

173 thoughts on “Britain in danger from “militant secularists” :-)

    1. She’s a muslim, which means while she views Xians/Jews etc as essentially wrong, they are at least allies against the cursed atheists. This despite the fact that we constitute about 35% of the population of the UK! After Xianity (and how many of them are serious about it?) we form by far the largest “group”, and yet small minority groups (hindus/muslims/sikhs etc) are given much greater voice in the media. I could go on and on about BBC Radio 4’s religious programming, or it’s 7:50 am “thought for the day” slot in it’s flagship morning news program “Today”,which, in the 20 years or so i have been listening to it, has only once (that I have heard) guested a humanist. For f*cks sake, we’re 35% of the population! Sorry…must…calm…down

      1. “we constitute about 35% of the population of the UK” – “we” meaning atheists?

        According to the British Social Attitudes survey, 50% of the UK population are “nones” and only 44% Christian!

        It remains to be seen what the 2011 Census will show, but it’s widely recognised that the relevant question was put in a way that would count “cultural Christians” as well as practising ones. (Dawkins’ recent survey indicate the figure will likely be 54%.)


        1. I consider 35% to be a modest figure. But almost all the surveys I’ve looked at are flawed so I don’t KNOW.

          Because I don’t KNOW, I try not to make possibly exaggerated claims.

            1. I haven’t examined the survey, so you have the advantage over me. What was the answer “none” in response to?

    1. Yep — and the editorial gets it exactly wrong: “conveniently ignoring the fact that no one had forced him to attend the prayers”

      Well, yes they had, by putting the prayers as an item on the agenda of the meeting that, as a councillor, he was obliged to attend.

      Most pro-faith commentators have wilfully overlooked this…


      1. Yes, prayers were part of the agenda. Oddly enough I’ve just this week started working with an old friend who lives in Bideford, and he says the general populace don’t give a shit.

    2. Previously Bideford’s only claim to fame was this:

      “We make a hike for Bideford”

      “No, no, you’ve got the wrong map, this is Stalingrad. You want the Ilfracombe and Barnstaple section”.

      1. Well, she should learn to use her loaf then!

        Perhaps Mark meant she was one of the upper crust?

        But however you slice it, she’s hardly risen to the occasion.


            1. The last one should have been a double-ouch. Need an edit feature…

              No one appreciates a good pun more than I do. Come to think of it, most people appreciate a good pun more than I do…

          1. And in Old English, ‘hlāf’ – loaf – has another meaning as sacramental bread; and ‘hlāford’ has a subsidiary meaning, of ‘God’, according to Aelfric. I wonder if the Baroness is happy with the pre-Mohammedan Christian derivation of her inapposite appellation.

            1. I learn so much on this site. Much of it having little to do with the subject matter. I’ll tell you what. If you guys agree to teach me English, then I will teach you some American.

              1. Hot dang, daveau, sho’ nuf sounds lahk a purty good noshun, or should ah read Faulkner, insteeyud?

                Lol – resorts to the Queen’s English – (contemporary acronym, popular amongst habituees of the world wide web, Your Honour).

              2. Hot dang, daveau, sho’ nuf sounds lahk a purty good noshun, or should ah raed that thar Faulknuh?

                Lol – resorts to the Queen’s English – (contemporary acronym, popular amongst habituees of the world wide web, Your Honour, indicating communal appreciation of a humorous stripe).

              3. Ah, Daim. I knew it well, David. Actually I was eating it last week, because here it is an ingredient of more elaborate treats.

              1. No need to get hot or cross.

                Also, B-?! Rye = wry has to be one of the best things since sliced bread. Ok. Now I’ll get my coat.

  1. Warsi is also the co-chairman of the conservative party, of which Cameron is the prime-minister, so she has a big role in our politics. She’s frequently given a voice on Question Time (our foremost political panel show), and every word she says makes me cringe.

  2. If it weren’t for militant secularists, Baroness Warsi – a Muslim – wouldn’t have been allowed in the House of Lords.

    1. Can you elaborate on this? Why would militant secularists promote a Muslim in the House of Lords (by the way, what an idiotic concept, what are “lords?”)

      1. Because secular != atheist. Militant secularist is a stupid phrase, but if it means anything at all beyond some kind of namecalling, it means people who agitate for a separation of private religious belief and public government.

        You really think that the Christian Europe that the Baroness was extolling would have been comfortable with a Muslim as a peer, let alone a Muslim woman? She’s where she is in the House of Lords because secularists demanded and continue to demand a separation of Church and State.

      2. They wouldn’t. But until agitation my militant secularists (and some Catholics), it was illegal for anyone but an Anglican to sit in the House of Lords.

      3. Sorry to mention Hume’s buddy, Gibbon again, but he comments on the rapid diffusion of the term ‘Lord’, which the Christian ecclesiastical elite insisted on being called, after Constantine and his son Constantius christianised the Roman Empire in the first third of the fourth century.

        Amongst the Pagan citizens of the Empire, this was viewed as demeaning, slave-like and offensive.

      4. For lords as a word see my comment to 4 above. There is no space to give you a quick breakdown of the origins of parliament here… Technically they were the result of the bloody Norman invasion, which we English peasants have suffered the consequences of ever since! Today they are mostly appointed rather than hereditary, equivalent of senators really.

    1. Funny that. Denmark is much upset about the suggestion that the puritan Great Day of Prayer be removed. And when someone recently voiced the idea that the ministry of faith be renamed, the socialist government was up in arms and very insistent that they most certainly did not support any such radical ideas.

      And don’t get me started on the opposition to gay marriage and the support for the royals (who’re head of the State Church as one would expect).

      Secular, my arse.

      1. Which is precisely why we have to stand up and speak about what is true against the nonsense of the ‘official line’.

      2. Denmark is still behind on gay marriage?

        O ho ho ho ho ho. Silly, primitive porridgemunchers. 😛

        I hear that might be sorted this year, though.

  3. The west ward of the insane asylum doesn’t get along with the east ward, but they do have a common enemy, the doctors that are trying to cure them of their delusions.

  4. It is with great regret that I have to announce that Baroness Warsi has been diagnosed with terminal foot and mouth disease. This was confirmed earlier today after her outpourings regarding ‘militant secularism’.

    One senior member of the ‘I want to remain anonymous brigade’, retorted ‘never in the field of UK politics has so much ignorant bullshit issued from the mouth of one senior politician in so short a time’.

    It was later confirmed that she was intending to visit the Holy See and to try and have a rational conversation with Pope Benedict.

    Requiescat in pace!

      1. I understand it’s rare in humans, but maybe she has both.
        Having read a few of her eructations in the past, I can certainly confirm the foot in mouth diagnosis.

        1. She’s got more faces than the Town Hall clock and lies like a cheap watch. she’s probably got more than one mouth as well.

  5. Interestingly on the subject of militant Islamist her tone is somewhat different –
    “Islamophobia has “passed the dinner-table test” and is seen by many as normal and uncontroversial, Baroness Warsi will say in a speech on Thursday.

    The minister without portfolio will also warn that describing Muslims as either “moderate” or “extremist” fosters growing prejudice.”

    1. That link is brilliant – everyone must follow it! That’s actually not an order, just a strong recommendation.

      1. Let me see, how did she descrbe those Muslims who harangued her in the street for not having her covered, and also who pelted her with eggs? Oh, I remember – extremist!

  6. Some people rise in public life without any visible means of support and la Warsi, three times ignored by the electorate, is an example; in the 2005 election she defied the national swing towards the Tories by obtaining an inferior share of the vote to that of 2001; she then had a leg-up by nomination into the House of Lords and was made Minister without Portfolio, a sort of mulish Incitatus to Cameron’s Caligula.

    A Church Father, Hilary of Poitiers in the fourth century, wrote this about his fellow Christians, “It is a thing equally deplorable and dangerous, that there are as many creeds as opinions among men, as many doctrines as inclinations, and as many sources of blasphemy as there are faults among us; because we make creeds arbitrarily, and explain them as arbitrarily….Every year, nay, every moon we make new creeds to describe invisible mysteries. We repent of what we have done, we defend those who repent, we anathematize those whom we defended. We condemn either the doctrine of others in ourselves, or our own in that of others; and reciprocally tearing one another to pieces, we have been the cause of each other’s ruin.” (Quoted in Gibbon’s ‘History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.)

    Baroness Warsi would do well, if she really sees David Cameron as the modern Constantine, to read the prophetic and startingly honest words of her fellow monotheist.

    1. It was Helena, Constantine’s Mum who founded nazareth in the early 4th C.

      She went, at the age of 80 to find Nazareth, look for relics to try and gain salvation. all there was, was a well. Well, some bright spark told her the ‘well’ was the very same that Mary, the mother of Jesus had actually drawn water.

      The rest, as they say, is recorded history.

      1. Robert M. Price, in a review of Rene Salm, The Myth of Nazareth: The Invented Town of Jesus. American Atheist Press, 2008, writes,

        At least there was no such town (i.e. Nazareth, DC) in the early part of the first century. The area had indeed been inhabited in the Iron and Bronze Ages, but by the time of Jesus it had been empty and windswept for some eight hundred years. It began to be repopulated about the middle of the first century CE, twenty years after Jesus’ ostensible death.

        Here’s the link:

        1. Dermot, I’ve read several stories including the one you quote. The interesting thing is that if you read about the work carried out by the religious archeologists there is always proof that the site is genuinely the home of jesus. However is you read about work carried out by archeologists with nothing to prove there is a huge gap between occupation in the bronze and that of the CE.

          To quote Israel Finklestein, Professor of Archeology at Tel Aviv there are two types of Archeologist. Those who go into the field armed with a trowel, their intellect and curiosity and those who go into the field with a trowel and a holy book looking for ‘facts’ to prove their assumptions.

          This was my source:

          1. Yes, the family Finkelstein seems to attract the honesty gene; Norman springs to mind, as well.

            Nazareth seems to have been a necropolis from the 1st to late 3rd centuries; only after, Saint Helena of Constantinople – whose Christian Emperor son killed his own wife and son – disseminated the miraculous stories centred on Jerusalem and Nazareth did the pilgrimages really get a touristic push.

            1. The start of Christianity as a political movement. Make it the official, and only, religion of the empire and the empire can’t strike back. To quite G. Dubbya – you’re either with us or agin us.

  7. There is every possibility that militant secularists will resort to cartoons.

    They have already written books, but they won’t stop there.

    Drawings! Cartoons!

    Is there no end to the sickening activities of these people?

  8. It’s people like Warsi that make me ashamed to say I’m from the UK.

    As Dermot C points out, she’s not only unelected, she was rejected at the ballot box. She is one of the reasons I want a fully elected second chamber, allowing unelected idiots to be in charge is a disaster.

    1. There are 24 seats in the House of Lords reserved for Bishops.

      From their seats in the House of Lords, reserved for people who demand to be called Reverend, Your Excellency, Your Grace, Your Eminence, or whatever title they insist they be addressed by, they can fulminate on how militant secularists don’t want religious people to be given seats in the Houses of Parliament purely because they have risen to positions of power in a religion.

      1. My apologies – 25 Bishops, not 24

        ’26 bishops of the Church of England sit in the House of Lords. Known as the Lords Spiritual, they read prayers at the start of each daily meeting and play a full and active role in the life and work of the Upper House.’

        They boast that their prescence in the government of Britain is to preach God’s word.

        ‘Their presence in the Lords is an extension of their general vocation as bishops to preach God’s word and to lead people in prayer.’

          1. In the spirit of the derivation of the word ‘Lord’ and of the Order of the Garter, which really exists:

            The Keeper of the Loaf
            The Guardian of the Queen’s Buns
            The Ward of the Royal Wafer
            Custodian of the King’s Ovens

      1. Since when did we declare independence?

        Besides she’s from either Batley or Dewsbury (if you can tell the difference) I can’t and I know both quite well.

    1. IIRC, according to my copy of Concise Oxford English Dictionary, the word ‘militant’ has two meanings: (1) readily resort to using violence, or military force; and (2) loud and aggressive.

      People who have been describing atheists or secularists as ‘militant’ are either ignorant of the stronger connotative of the term (meaning 1), or disingenuously trying to conflate the two.

  9. “It would be equally illegal to start a public meeting with an atheist “prayer” or “reading.”  By prohibiting any religious or antireligious observance at civil events, the government (at least, our government) is not imposing atheist views on others…”


    “…it’s imposing religious neutrality on civil functions.”

    This, however, I might reword to avoid saying the government is imposing neutrality on whathaveyou. The whole idea is that the government is trying to avoid making any religion-related (pro or con) impositions. Something the ridiculous, religious, right-wing Republicans can’t or won’t understand. If you’re asked to pray on your own, before attending the meeting, it’s persecution! Never mind the folks with different religions, or the irreligious. Asking them to put up with it is hunky-dory.

    A very minor semantic quibble, I know. But calling neutrality in this regard “imposed” only feeds into the “big government” trope the right is always bandying about.

  10. I would ask our friends across the Pond to note that the Telegraph’s reportage of decision in the Bideford Council case is wholly misleading. That it concerned a matter pertaining to religion was entirely incidental. A local authority is a body corporate therefore it may only do that which statute permits it to do. No power was identified in any statute or statutory instrument whereby the saying of prayers was authorised. This ruling will be in force for only a year or so because legislation is currently under consideration which will give local authorities a power of competence to do anything which is not prohibited. Thus a local authority will be placed on the same footing as an individual.
    There have been cases in the past concerning local authorities spending money on matters outwith their provenance; egs. protests relating to siting nuclear weapons. A Court in deciding that the authority has acted ultra vires is making no judgment whatever as to the rights and wrongs of nuclear weaponry.

  11. It’s encouraging, at least, that the comments on the BBC News website – and, i understand, even on the Telegraph website – have been largely critical of Warsi.


    1. PS. One commentator cited Ya, that’s like Hitchens’ debate with Tony Blair: “Blair was arguing that interfaith releations were a great help in solving an issue in northern Ireland recently, and that this was essentially a plus for religion.

      Hitchens said; basically ‘wonderful, so … where exactly did this “religious divide” come from?’”


  12. What Warsi and other idiots fail to see is that there is nothing militant – there are simply fewer people (as a percentage of the population) who care for her ridiculous stories. The problem of theocracy was evident even to the founders of the USA over 200 years ago, so much so that James Madison and others incorporated the Bill of Rights which contains the Non-Establishment Clause. Then again perhaps Warsi is aware that people simply don’t give her bedtime scare stories any truck and she’s happily lying for Mohammed.

  13. Why on earth would a muslim & a catholic want the UK to become more officially Anglican than it has been in the recent past. Doesn’t she know anything about her own country’s history?

    1. The Vatican traditionally associates itself with any efforts of Muslim states to curtail women´s rights regarding procreation, abortion, etc. Well, what can you expect of a state run entirely by men selected because of their low intelligence? Europe should not accept such a renegade state in its middle.

    2. They want to retain and increase their power and they don’t care how it’s accomplished. She doesn’t want it to become more Anglican. It’s simply a typical Islamist ploy to keep religion in power and the sheep in the pen. The religious see ANY perceived threat to ANY religion as a threat to THEIR religion. If they can contrive the threat, even better. Simply put, taqiyya and stealth jihad. As long as religion stays “official”, the Muslims have a chance of also becoming official. Paranoid on my part? Maybe, but, as Johnny Mathis sang, watch what happens. My speculation is that sooner than later, the Muslims in the UK will begin to demand that Islam become a state religion on “equal footing” with Christianity. And, then, we can all sing “Ain’t We Got Fun?”

  14. For once I can say that this: that type of religiosity is foreign to many Americans. It’s illegal in our country to start government meetings with prayers, for the U.S. government, by Constitutional decree, is strictly neutral on the issue of religion.

    Not true. Congress opens each session with a prayer! The courts have ruled this practice “ceremonial deism” and consider it constitutional so long as the prayer remains nonsectarian. For instance, in the past Congress has been opened with a Muslim prayer and a Hindu prayer.

    1. State and city legislative bodies often open with prayers too. Some of Minnesota’s have been pretty sectarian, enough to elicit complaints from Jewish members of the legislature.

    2. That didn’t seem to stop prayers in the Oval Office either if we are to believe the accounts re Nixon / Kissinger & Nixon / Graham. There was, of course, an example of a more recent President down on his knees. But I understand the context was a little different!

  15. “It’s illegal in our country to start government meetings with prayers…”

    Sadly, our United States military doesn’t see fit to dependably enforce this part of the Constitution.

    Neither do local communities inside the bible belt.

    Wherever evolution is forced to ward off constant attacks of creationism, the separation of church and state remains an unfulfilled dream.

  16. Reblogged this on luvsiesous and commented:

    When a Muslim sees that secularism is attacking Christianity, but a Professor cannot see the same, what should we think?

    Professor Coyne claimed he did not even know who she was, but he was willing to lambast her opinion ….

    Is secularism so entrenched that anyone and everyone is a target?


    1. Her opinion is ludicrous in and of itself, and deserves all the criticism that Dr Coyne (and the other commenters on this site) have heaped on it. Why should it be necessary to know who she is?

      I’d say you’re pretty desperate if you’re looking to Muslims for support, given past history.

      1. I would add that letting personal knowledge of who a person is taint one’s judgement is to lack objectivity and true fairness. Should the speaker be given special rights for her position in government, or should he, for that very reason, be viewed all the more critically? Dr. Coyne neither favors nor disfavors her, but judges her squarely by her own statements, as objectively as a critical mind can.

    2. Is secularism so entrenched that anyone and everyone is a target?

      No. It’s not quite that dire. But when random godboys pop up here and post incoherently, then all bets are off.

        1. ‘our’ colleagues? This would be your colleagues on luvsiesous, presumably. I don’t think anyone here would consider you a colleague, since the word implies a certain commonality of purpose and mutual respect.

    3. Is secularism so entrenched that anyone and everyone is a target?

      They say that there are no stupid questions, only stupid answers. Perhaps. But there are certainly disingenuous questions and this is one. It is willfully ignorant of the very definition of the word “secular”, which applies not to the elimination of religion (nobel as that end might be) but to the isolation of government from religion.

      But we see this sort of misdirection from time to time when Wayne comes over to troll.

      1. GB,

        Could you try a language I could understand? I am fluent in English, Spanish, Biblical Greek and I am almost fluent in Russian and Japanese.

        Thanks for trying …


        1. Which part did you have trouble with?

          Might I suggest you open up a dictionary? (The English one, preferably. I’m not sure how to spell “secular” in Biblical Greek.)

          1. Gb …. GB ….

            My question was a simple rhetorical response to such outlandish articles that you seemingly believe to be true.

            Orwell would be ashamed that his fiction has become the reality of today.

            It is outlandish that the principles which have made many countries great are now under such disingenuous attacks by people who call themselves educated.

            Can you read this and understand? Or, should I try another language for you?


            1. WAyne, Wayne, Your rhetorical question was disingenuous, intended to suggest that the rejection of religious considerations from government(_actual_ secularism) is somehow an unwarranted attack on “anyone and everyone”. That is palpable nonsense, an attempt to play the victim, and a familiar Christian apologist ploy.

              I’m not surprised that you would offer it here. We’ve seen similar insights from you in the past when you come trolling for material to “reblog”.

            2. @Wayne

              How dare you cite Orwell in your content-free blatherings?

              All Orwell quotes:

              One must choose between God and Man, and all “radicals” and “progressives”, from the mildest liberal to the most extreme anarchist, have in effect chosen Man.

              Saints should always be judged guilty until they are proved innocent.

              What can you do against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself, who gives your arguments a fair hearing and then simply persists in his lunacy?

              Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.

              And, from memory, to a Christian:

              Do you believe in God in the same way that you believe in Australia?

  17. Replaced the term “Militant Secularists” with Jews, and you get an idea about how fascist and extreme Warsi’s views actually are.

  18. As soon as I read this yesterday I got a strange premonition (evidence of ceiling cat maybe?) that Jerry would be commenting on it.

    The speech must set some sort of record for sheer concentrated wrongness, but for me the worst bit is:

    “people need to feel stronger in their religious identities, more confident in their beliefs”

    Right, so we need more Identity Politics and more Irrational Belief.

    As noted above, she is one of those appointed peers, sort of equivalent to all the unelected people that the US president surrounds himself with (Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell etc).

    At least she is only in charge of making nonsensical speeches and not in charge of invading countries.

  19. Sayeeda Warsi is an unelected Minister in our government. She’s best described as the coalition’s Attack Muppet, which gives you an idea of how seriously her pronouncements are taken.

    It is of course interesting to read her attack on the same day that our government has freed Abu Qatada. You get a real sense of the difference between militant secularism (asking for people to hold prayers before, rather than in, meetings) and militant religiosity (asking for people to be murdered).

    1. To be fair, our government didn’t free Abu Qatada. He was freed by the judiciary, interpreting European Human Rights legislation. The government has been critical of this decision — and the ruling that he cannot be deported.

      But that is a very clear contrast between different kinds of militancy!


    2. So well said. I believe the government is leading us in to a religious war. We have had enough of these according to the bible.
      Who is keeping Abu Qatada is it the british taxpayer Money could be spent better by saving children from poverty. Of course the Prime Minister doesnt know what it is to go without. Baroness A
      Warsi I believe is an evil woman.

  20. Will the Baroness talk to the Pope and get him to stop Priests abusing small children. We have had our share of Christian fundamentalists joining the Muslim hatreds.
    I as an atheist am hoping that the british government does not put us at risk by agreeing with muslim findamentalists who say we are infidels and should be killed. This is not helping us from having a terrorist atack in this country. There is so much p overty in this coun try let Cameron get that sorted out first. Does he think he is a god.

    1. Hey, hey, stop trying to interfere with the clergy’s right for personal choice in rape-fests.

      You can’t impose your secular tyrrany all over their dicks.

        1. Oh‽ I’m afraid I don’t know her at all, although I see she’s a regular on BBC Radio 4’s (unrepresentative) “Thought for the Day”. That doesn’t strike me as being a forum for “disturbingly erotic Christianity” … 


          1. That’s how I know of her, Ant. I can’t see her on your link as my computer won’t play it.

            But believe me, her schtick is to allege that only Jesus can guarantee one a fulfilling sex-life; seriously disconcerting at 7.50 a.m. during my dreary and semi-comatose drive in to work.

  21. I find it interesting that amongst so many geniuses, no one noticed this slight oversight ….

    “For once I can say that this: that type of religiosity is foreign to many Americans. It’s illegal in our country to start government meetings with prayers, for the U.S. government, by Constitutional decree, is strictly neutral on the issue of religion.”

    Not only is that FALSE, The Founding Fathers, and even modern politicians, have been clearly religious in their meetings.

    “New members to the Senate discover an enduring tradition in the chaplain’s daily prayer.”


    Doesn’t anyone remember any of our country’s history?

    Or, am I the only American?

    1. You are not the only American. Nor are you the only Xian religionist hanging around. (Happily the two are not equivalent and many of the rest of us look beyond David Barton as a source of history.)

    2. @ Wayne
      ‘I find it interesting that amongst so many geniuses, no one noticed this slight oversight ….

      “For once I can say that this: that type of religiosity is foreign to many Americans. It’s illegal in our country to start government meetings with prayers, for the U.S. government, by Constitutional decree, is strictly neutral on the issue of religion.”’

      Your semi-humorous use of the term ‘geniuses’ reminds me of Gibbon’s declamation on the early Christian Founding ‘fathers…who considered all levity of discourse as a criminal abuse of the gift of speech’.

      To the rebuttal: the following commented on the question of starting government meetings with prayers: JS1685, MadScientist, H.H., truthspeaker, Veroxitatis, sasqwatch, DocAtheist, GBJames yesterday in reply to your own post (!). Do you not read before you comment?

      You assert that the above quote from JAC is false; not true. The key phrase is ‘by Constituional decree‘. You, in common with many of the religiose, ignore that inconvenient fact, and, I suspect, deliberately so. The point is that in relation to the state, religion is a purely private affair; that is what the American Founding Fathers understood. They may have been deists, theists, Wiccans, Jews, Satanists, but the principle is simple, yet profound. In the public sphere, the state does not promote any religion. If you want to prey before a public political meeting, then do it in private; that’s fine. But do not attempt to privilege your totalitarian and unfalsifiable imaginings in a forum which by definition seeks to reconcile order with diversity.

      And this is why organised religion should have no influence over the mechanics of the state. Consider the bloody and consistent history of Christianity in power: on Ammianus, 4th century Roman historian,

      “(His) experience convinced him, that the enmity of Christians towards each other, surpassed the fury of savage beasts against man…”

      Saint Gregory of Nazianzus, again 4th century,

      “…most pathetically laments, that the kingdom of heaven was converted, by discord, into the image of chaos, of a nocturnal tempest, and of hell itself.” (Both quotes in Gibbon).

      Think of the medieval Church’s extermination of the Cathars, so thorough, that we barely know the latters’ theology; ponder the Christian Crusaders’ sack of Constantinople, the seat of Eastern Orthodoxy, in 1204; think on the Thirty Years’ War, initially opposing Catholics and Protestants, in which 25-40% of the population of Germany died; the 39 million dead of the First World War, that death rattle of the European Christian monarchies, as Diarmaid MacCulloch writes.

      And this Christian captivation with the null lurks in its core. Tertullian (2nd – 3rd century)

      “…expect the greatest of all spectacles, the last and eternal judgment of the universe. How shall I admire, how laugh, how rejoice, how exult, when I behold so many proud monarchs, so many fancied gods, groaning in the lowest abyss of darkness; so any magistrates who persecuted the name of the Lord, liquefying in fiercer fires than they ever kindled against the Christians; so many sage philosophers blushing in red-hot flames with their deluded scholars; so many celebrated poets trembling before the tribunal, not of Minos, but of Christ;…”

      The devil has the best tunes, indeed.

      In power, Christianity does not seek the reconciliation of order to diversity, but inherently pursues the imposition of order on diversity; and that is why I oppose it.

  22. The “Baroness” is doing nothing but the typical Islamist stealth jihad agenda … promoting Islam by pretending to promote Christianity. They have no shame. A coat tail entry is as good as an outright victory to them. Weak though it might be, Christianity is already the state religion there. How much more difficult would it be to add Islam to that vile little list, given current circumstances and rampant dhimmitude there? I mean, what’s a wolf in cleric’s clothing to them? The clerical establishment in England is so weak-willed and “put upon” already by you naughty secularists, they’ll join hands with the devil to retain any semblance of their former glory.

  23. Forgive me if someone’s already said this – I haven’t had time to read the comments. But Warsi’s argument is even worse than it sounds.

    First – one of the things, actually, which people attribute to ‘militant secularism’ is a recent court decision that some small minded bigots who run a hotel aren’t allowed to exclude gay men from it (any more than they would be allowed to exclude black people, say, if it was because of their deeply-felt beliefs).

    And the notion that *secularism* is on the rise is preposterous. Starting under the last government and increasing under this one, more and more schools are being put under the control of religious organisations.

  24. It is interesting while in many places in the country local government councils and boards are being told they cannot begin with prayer and schools are told they cannot have prayer at school functions, both the Senate and the House of Representatives begin each of their sessions with prayer. Both the Senate and the House have a full time, paid Chaplaincy. In each case they have been overwhelmingly Christian.

    “The House chaplain earns $172,500, and the Senate chaplain’s salary is equivalent to level IV of
    the Executive Schedule,26 which is equivalent to $155,500 in 2011.27 The budgets for the
    chaplains’ office operations and staff are included in the annual legislative branch appropriations

    Apparently, it’s Constitutionality has been repeatedly challenged without success as has he National Day of Prayer.

    1. “it’s Constitutionality has been repeatedly challenged without success as has he National Day of Prayer.”

      Damn! Religious imprecation intended. Let those who believe in such mythology be damned by it, as well.

      It irks me to no end that separation of church and state should be so shabbily regarded, when it was the very reason our colonies were multiple and spaced so far apart, in the first place. The intent was to prevent those churches from going to war with each other. The Dominionists creeping into government, military industrial complex, education, and etc. (google Seven Mountains) intend to do what no single one fo those colonial congregations did: Take over, eject all other religions, and then decide who is Christian enough to still stick around.

  25. I agree with all of what you’ve written, except I notice you don’t address this bit of the statement by Cameron:

    “There have also been recent cases of public sector workers being banned from displaying Christian symbols at work.”

    Surely that goes too far-simply wearing crosses does not impose a religion on anyone.

    1. Yeah, it helps to look up the incident in question. Nurses are not allowed to wear jewelry at work for safety reasons, she claimed it was religious discrimination, the employment tribunal told her not to be stupid. This was after the hospital had offered her the compromise of wearing her cross pinned inside a uniform lapel or pocket; she said being asked to hide her faith was “disrespectful”.

      So Cameron hates the NHS that much, and in making this claim was being an odious troll.

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