…it is surreal to hear secularism being condemned as intolerant – it is not secular schools that select pupils according to their parents’ beliefs, it is not secular agencies that reserve employment opportunities for staff according to their beliefs, and it is not secular organisations which lobby to maintain privilege and have exemption from laws – like equality laws – that should affect everyone equally.
…why is the British Government courting the Holy See in this way? Why should the last absolute theocracy in Europe be invited to participate in the affairs of the British Government?
Well, it might be argued, the Holy See participates — indeed in some cases, interferes — in every other Government’s affairs. Only last week it succeeded in forcing President Obama to compromise his health reforms and in Britain it is gearing up to give the Cameron plan for gay marriage a real kicking.
Lady Warsi talks of “militant secularism” with some distaste. But secularism’s militancy is as nothing compared with the aggressive tactics of the Catholic Church when it is not getting its way.
What world does she live in? The progress over the last couple hundred in creating more just, free and equal societies is largely the result of the diminishing of religious influence over governments. At nearly every turn and in every country, the most important advances in freedom and equality — ending slavery, giving women the right to vote, protecting the equal rights of racial, ethnic, sexual and, yes, religious minorities — have required overcoming the opposition of the dominant religious creeds and dogmas.
If only we had a secular pope who would help us fight the militant theocracy of Sayeeda Warsi.