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Archive for the ‘Religion Watch’ Category

It seems that there have been a number of challenges to the special treatment that religious people seem to enjoy in the UK. While I would love to say that the UK government is taking positive steps to reverse the level of privilege they have extended to religions this is not the case. However, at least there are signs of a few rumblings that some steps might be taken. Here are a few of the hints that there might be a change in the way the government treats religions.

  1. First of all was Jack ‘boot’ Straw’s comments regarding the wearing of veils when people are in meetings with him. A simple request which caused a lot of fuss. My 1st thought was ‘they can wear what the hell they like’ but then I considered what would happen if I tried to meet with Jack wearing a veil. I think I would be lucky to get out without being shot but his police escort. As they are a religious minority, Muslims are given special privilege and that is clearly not right.
  2. Next up Alan Johnson, the Eduction Secretary, wants all faith schools to offer 25 per cent of places to non-believers or pupils from other religions. “We cannot ignore segregation any longer; people must have a greater understanding of one another,” said Shahid Malik, Labour MP for Dewsbury.” Why non-religious people would want their children brainwashed with all the other children I am not sure. However, religious schools often offer a better standard of education and certainly have far less problems with problem children and I can see how some people might want a shot at this.
  3. Today, our dearly beloved PrimeMinister has added his backing to a Local Authority who have suspended an Islamic teaching assistant who refused to remove her full veil while teaching children. Now we need to see if he is willing to take a similar stance against fundamentalist chrstian groups who are pushing the teaching of creationism in our schools.

I would like to think that the government is doing this because they think it is right that religious people are not given special treatment in out secular society. However, the government no doubt has their mind on the election in a few years time and I suspect this is one issue they can gain some votes from both secular voters and traditional christian voters.

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Oh dear.. It looks like churches in England are having a slight problem with their numbers after they announced some shocking figures this week. It would seem that people are leaving churches twice as fast as they are able to recruit. The influx of immigrants into the UK seems to be helping to keep congregations floating but the long term trends look promising. At this rate there will be no one left to attend these churches. The only down side I can see here is that a huge number of ancient building may be at risk as congregations decline. The government should be starting to consider how these ex-religious institutes can be used and maintained once people stop worshiping there or we will be in danger of loosing a great deal of history. Some figures from the report:

  • 6.3% of the population go to church on an average Sunday, compared to 7.5% in 1998
  • 29% of churchgoers are 65 or over, compared with 16% of the population
  • 9% of churches have no-one under 11 in their congregations
  • Black people make up 10% of all churchgoers in England, while other non-white ethnic groups add a further 7%.
  • In inner London, fewer than half of worshippers are white.

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