• Secularism

    Hereditary Monarchy – a Royal (Busted) Flush

    This is a cross-post by Sci-Lo Green Do you know how government in the UK is constituted and where it gets its powers from? If you don’t and you are not one of the estimated 20% of Anglicans (2009 British Social Attitudes study) in the UK, you may want to prepare yourself for a shock….. We live in a secular democracy in the UK, don’t we? Well, technically we live in a hereditary, constitutional monarchy. This is, simplistically, how it works: As it’s a hereditary monarchy, God has not only anointed the current sovereign, but also has promised to anoint their first born children. In 2013, the Succession to the…

  • Secularism

    The nature of religious privilege

    This is a cross-post from Futile Democracy On BBC local radio here in the UK after the Sydney cafe siege, the presenter had a conversation with a local Imam on the subject of religious extremism. The Imam reiterated that the attacker was a lone nut, who didn’t represent Muslims. The conversation was one of damage limitation and worry for Muslims who may be abused and attacked in the aftermath. The rise of anti-Muslim hate must be addressed – one would hope with the promotion of civil rights & protections for all – but I was unsure that the conversation on BBC local radio that day was particularly helpful, when at…

  • Islam,  Secularism

    David Goodhart on ‘Conservative Muslims, Liberal Britain’

    Last night’s Analysis (BBC Radio 4) explored the tensions between more conservative sections of the Muslim community and ‘liberal Britain’. Demos’s David Goodhart approached the topic robustly – listen, for example, to where he expresses scepticism about the claim that finding out more about Islam is going to make people feel more positively about it (from about 13:30).  However that challenge was issued to Mufti Muhammed Ibn Adam, one of the more hard-line interviewees, and made specific reference to his understanding of Islam. Elsewhere Goodhart finds several Muslims who share his concerns about rigid teachings and separation between communities. Gina Khan, for example, speaks passionately about the dangers of political multiculturalism…

  • Secularism

    Andrew Brown: Hating Islam Means Hating Muslims

    This is a cross-post by John Sargeant at homo economicus To hate a religion according to Andrew Brown is to hate religious believers. To the point you want to make them victims. My hatred of religion for endorsing slavery makes me apparently hate modern religious believers, which is equivalent to rascism. It is a trope among people who loathe and fear Islam that their fear and loathing has nothing in common with racism because Islam is not a race, the implication being that hating Muslims is rational and wise whereas hating black people is deeply irrational and stupid. … Racial and religious hatreds have one thing in common: they are…

  • Ireland,  Secularism

    Dr Ali Selim – Voice of Irish Muslims?

    This is a cross-post from Geoff’s Shorts “If Allah had willed, He could have made all of you humans a single people. But, He decided to let you choose your own path after showing you the Truth, and thus test yourselves. Outdo one another in actions that serve humanity and thus grow your “Self”. To Allah is your final Destination, of all of you.” Qur’an, 5:48 The hard right of authoritarian Islam and the hard right of anti Muslim bigotry are unnatural bedfellows, yet are as one in their desire to paint Islam as monolithic. These two heads of the same monster are conjoined in a delusion that Islam’s 1.6…

  • Secularism

    Prepare to be annoyed: Cristina Odone on religion

    Here are just a few of the more obvious problems with Cristina Odone’s latest article ‘We have the anti-Semites we deserve’. In the opening paragraph she presents the whole Trojan Horse issue as a demonization of Islam. There were some anti-Muslim elements in the coverage, but this was a serious problem, and viewed that way by many observant Muslims. She also mentions the removal of kosher food from Sainsburys – now, this was disgraceful, but it wasn’t motivated primarily, if at all, by any antipathy to religion, or even to Judaism. After a string of such supposed affronts to religion she observes. This is not on a par with the…

  • Secularism

    No Such Thing As A Faith Child

    This is a cross-post by John Sargeant at homo economicus Adults are extolled in the Christian tradition to be childlike in their acceptance of the faith. Jesus says: “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” In the first letter of Peter “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation -“ That pure special diet is one some want their children to be exclusively fed. Proverbs reminds such parents, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart…

  • Secularism

    The latest on Birmingham schools

    Two separate enquiries into the ‘Trojan Horse’ allegations have started reporting their findings. Children were taught that all Christians are liars and attempts were made to introduce Sharia law in classrooms as part of an alleged ‘Trojan Horse’ takeover plot of Birmingham schools, an inquiry has found. The inquiry commissioned by Birmingham City Council found evidence of religious extremism in 13 schools as school governors and teachers tried to promote and enforce radical Islamic values. Schools put up posters warning children that if they didn’t pray they would “go to hell”, Christmas was cancelled and girls were taught that women who refused to have sex with their husbands would be…

  • Secularism

    Secularism in education: Birmingham and Stamford Hill

    It was often noted, with regard to the schools under scrutiny in Birmingham, that they were not faith schools, and thus had a duty to provide a secular education. But this distinction between secular and faith schools can be challenged.  Should our state schools be required to provide an act of religious (usually Christian) worship? (I’m with the National Secular Society on this.) And just how much latitude should be allowed to those being educated privately, perhaps at home? Tonight’s Dispatches opened with a recap of the ‘Trojan Horse’ story. An investigation of the Tauheedul schools certainly revealed some eccentric practices – it was alleged pupils were strongly discouraged from…

  • Secularism

    Keep ‘Accelerated Christian Education’ out of schools.

    This is a cross-post from Futile Democracy I pledge allegiance to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, Lord and Saviour, crucified, risen, and coming again as king with life and liberty for all who believe. I pledge allegiance to the Bible, God’s Holy Word. I will make it a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. I will hide it in my heart, that I might not sin against God.” – The pledge, spoken at Accelerated Christian Education schools. It seemed to be a good week for secularism in the UK this week. On June 17th, Ofsted withdraw support for gender segregation in schools, and a day later…