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Militant Secularisation Threatens UK Religion

Published: 15/02/2012 09:18:39 PM GMT
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CAIRO - Britain's first female Muslim Minister is warning of a rising tide of “militant secularization” in the European country that threatens the role (more)

CAIRO - Britain's first female Muslim Minister is warning of a rising tide of “militant secularization” in the European country that threatens the role of religion in British society.

“My fear today is that a militant secularization is taking hold of our societies,” Baroness Warsi, who is also chairman of the Conservative Party, wrote in an article for the Daily Telegraph.

“We see it in any number of things: when signs of religion cannot be displayed or worn in government buildings; and where religion is sidelined, marginalized and downgraded in the public sphere."

Her comments came a few days after a High Court ruling outlawed formal acts of prayers before council meetings last week.

Reports also say that the Church of England could soon lose its traditional role as the provider of the chief chaplain to the Prison Service.

The Ministry of Justice has also confirmed that it is considering arrangements for appointing a new Chaplain-General, but the job might not go to an Anglican.

“For me, one of the most worrying aspects about this militant secularization is that at its core and in its instincts it is deeply intolerant,” Warsi said.

“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.”

Baroness Warsi leads an unprecedented government delegation to the Vatican where she will be received by Pope Benedict.

The two-day visit to the Holy See will include a private audience on Wednesday with the pontiff, who visited the UK in 2010.

This visit marks the 30th anniversary of the re-establishment of full diplomatic ties between Britain and the Vatican.


During the Visit, the British minister will say that Christianity is a vital part of British life and will warn of the dangers of eroding its importance.

“You cannot extract Christian foundations from the evolution of our nations any more than you can erase the spires from our landscape,” she will say in her speech at the Holy See.

“I see a great danger to this confident affirmation of religion today. It is what the Holy Father called the 'increasing marginalization of religion' during his speech in Westminster Hall. I see it in the United Kingdom and I see it in Europe. Spirituality, suppressed. Divinity, downgraded.

“Where, in the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury, faith is looked down as the hobby of 'oddities, foreigners and minorities'. Where religion is dismissed as an eccentricity because it's infused with tradition.”

This was not the first time the senior Conservative had called for a revival of traditional Christian values.

Last October, Warsi said that Britain should become a more Christian nation which would allow different faiths to understand each other and communicate towards a common ground.

She also urged the British government to create a country where people were not embarrassed to say they believed in God or attended church.

Yet, Baroness Warsi's comments were condemned by the British Humanist Association (BHA) as "outdated, unwarranted and divisive".

"In an increasingly non-religious and, at the same time, diverse society, we need policies that will emphasize what we have in common as citizens rather than what divides us," said BHA chief executive Andrew Copson, the BBC reported.

Britain has a sizable Muslim minority of nearly 2.5 million Muslims, mainly of Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Indian origin.

Over the past few years, the numbers of non-believers have been noticeably increasing in Europe and the US.

A 2005 survey published in Encyclopedia Britannica put non-believers at about 11.9 percent of the world's population.

An official European Union survey recently said that 18 percent of the bloc's population do not believe in God.

Reproduced with permission from