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Feb 13 2012

Warsi stands with pope in fighting for faith

Oh vomit. Sayeeda Warsi is off to visit the pope, and by way of preparation she and the Telegraph unite in telling us all that we need more religion and less “militant secularism.” Warsi says it in her own article, and the political editor says it all over again in an article about her article. Why two articles where one would do? I have no idea.

First Warsi’s bullying theocratic shit, under the sinister threatening headline We stand side by side with the Pope in fighting for faith:

Today I have the honour of leading the largest ministerial delegation from the United Kingdom to the Vatican – our reciprocal visit following the momentous State Visit of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in September 2010.

We will be celebrating the decision Margaret Thatcher took 30 years ago to restore full diplomatic relations between our countries. The relationship between the UK and the Holy See is our oldest diplomatic relationship, first established in 1479.

Yes well in 1479 secularism wasn’t an option. It is now. The “Holy See” isn’t a real country; it’s a clerisy; there is something badly wrong with the whole idea of having “diplomatic relations” with a small group of Catholic priests who believe themselves to have the right and the duty to boss all Catholics in the world and everyone else in the world along with them.

For a number of years I have been saying that we need to have a better understanding of faith in our country. Why? Because   I profoundly believe that faith has a vital and important role to play in modern society. But mistakenly, faith has been neglected, undermined – and   yes, even attacked – by governments in recent years…

I will be arguing that to create a more just society, people need to feel stronger in their religious identities and more confident in their creeds. In practice this means individuals not diluting their faiths and nations not denying their religious heritages.

Really. Stronger than the people who bully and threaten random strangers who make jokes or ask questions about their religions? More confident than the people who demand that people be executed for asking questions about a religion?

What she says is wrong and morally bad. People need to stop saying things like that. Religious bullies need to stop bullying the rest of us.

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.

But the UK does fund “faith schools”; there are bishops in the House of Lords; religion is not nearly “sidelined,” meaning kept private, as it should be.

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.

Right after it gets through with creating and widening them.

That’s some emetic stuff.

27 comments

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  1. 1
    DaveL

    There is no such thing as militant secularism. Secularism is not atheism; it is the middle ground between people of all belief systems defined by the common experiences and needs of physical human beings in a physical world.

  2. 2
    Rieux

    Admittedly, Warsi has identified the signal weakness of us irreligious clods: we don’t “profoundly believe” stuff. We believe things here and there, sure, but since we don’t and can’t do so “profoundly”….

    We iz defeeted.

  3. 3
    cag

    The “Holy See” isn’t a real country; it’s a clerisy;

    I believe that the word you were seeking is “travesty” or perhaps “pederasty”.

  4. 4
    Veronica Abbass

    I have been annoyed at the Catholics and Catholic apologists all day; Warsi’s article has made me furious.

    According to Wikipedia, Warsi is Muslim, so why is she saying, “the societies we live in, the cultures we have created, the values we hold and the things we fight for all stem from centuries of discussion, dissent and belief in Christianity”?

    Her “fear today is that a militant secularisation is taking hold of our societies.” As DaveL says, “There is no such thing as militant secularism,” but atheists need to be more strident and be “noisy atheists”(see http://choiceindying.com/2012/02/12/philip-ball-noisy-atheists-and-the-truth/) in order to counteract Warsi’s drivel.

    The very last person I would stand side by side with is the Pope. Giving him the honorific, “His Holiness,” is an insult to those he has hurt and betrayed.

  5. 5
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    It’s amazing how so many get by with an extremely low signal-to-noise ratio.

  6. 6
    Upright Ape

    And she thinks she could get away with not wearing a head scarf in public if it weren’t for secularism?
    Hypocrite.

  7. 7
    Sarah AB

    I saw the piece yesterday, and ‘oh vomit’ just about sums it up. One thing which struck me, in relation to coverage of the story about prayers in council meetings, was that getting rid of prayers was seen as ‘atheist’, as a terrible attack on Christianity, not a neutral position. That made me think how seldom, despite talk of militant atheism, atheists do articulate their views, outside of books and blogs. No one is suggesting that meetings should start with a ritual assertion of God’s absence. I hated Cameron’s speech on religion (the one he made a few months ago) but would also not want a PM to make a speech vaunting the moral superiority of atheists.

  8. 8
    Brigadista

    Another piece of inflammatory mendacity:

    “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”

    Apart from the sheer deceitfulness of the claim, isn’t monotheism itself the ultimate form of totalitarianism? And which totalitarian regimes is she thinking of? There are many in this country (Spain) with very vivid memories of a totalitarian regime that lasted for almost 40 years, during which it was very much NOT the people with a “religious identity” that had cause to be frightened.

  9. 9
    speedweasel

    She pushing a political wheelbarrow by spouting demagogy and unlettered nonsense. History will judge her harshly, if it remembers her at all.

  10. 10
    Andrew Woods

    Secularism is not atheism; it is the middle ground

    They don’t want a middle ground. If there is a middle ground, they lose.

  11. 11
    John Carter Wood

    If nothing else, the Baroness’s commentary is an almost perfect example of religionist boilerplate: despite being a relative brief text, few of the typical obfuscations, distortions, euphemisms and disingenuities have been left out.

    So, on this point: bravo, Baroness.

    The ‘militant’ secularist meme has been around for a long time now and sadly shows no sign of dying the death it so richly deserves, which is particularly unfortunate given that there is so much real ‘militant’ activity going on the world on the other side of the fence.

    http://obscenedesserts.blogspot.com/2012/02/i-didnt-expect-secular-inquisition.html

  12. 12
    Dunc

    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.

    As a Scot, I find this absolutely hilarious. In a country where “what team do you support?” is still code for “are you Protestant or Catholic?” the notion that “faith has a key role to play in bridging these divides” is rather like the notion that gasoline has a key role to play in extinguishing fires.

    I’d love to see her try and explain that position to the crowd at an Old Firm match…

  13. 13
    Brother Yam

    cag @3

    I believe that the word you were seeking is “travesty” or perhaps “pederasty”.

    Actually, a pederasty is a group of priests kinda like a murder of crows.

  14. 14
    Sunny

    Look at all the totalitarian regimes in Scandinavia. Yes, my heart bleeds for these societies taken over by militant secularists. So much suffering due to the absence of belief.

    Meanwhile in parts of the world where religion holds sway, it is helping overcome ‘divides.’
    ——–

    How does one become a Baron(ess)?

  15. 15
    John

    Warsi is, at the very least, somewhat confused.

    A Muslim going to Catholic clergy to shore up religion in an Anglican society?

  16. 16
    Ophelia Benson

    Sarah AB -

    No one is suggesting that meetings should start with a ritual assertion of God’s absence. I hated Cameron’s speech on religion (the one he made a few months ago) but would also not want a PM to make a speech vaunting the moral superiority of atheists.

    Indeed. I did a piece for one of Comment is Free’s “question of the week” things a couple of years ago, when the question was would atheist schools be a good idea; I said no of course not. Secular, yes of course; atheist, no of course not. (Well I think that’s what I said. I know I said No.)

  17. 17
    Ophelia Benson

    John – yes – tick tick tick all the boxes. That’s partly what made it so sickening. She could have simply cribbed it from the pope. I suppose that’s what made the Telegraph so excited – Extra: Muslim Peer Talks Christian-type Bullshit!!

  18. 18
    haymoon

    Richard Dawkins is on BBC Newsnight beginning at 10.30 pm GMT tonight. No doubt he’ll have something to say about Ms. Warsi’s statement.

    http://tinyurl.com/7ywboxh

  19. 19
    Don

    It’s not as though they weren’t given a fair crack of the whip. They had, what? a thousand years of dominating western Europe. By their fruits shall you know them.

  20. 20
    mywall

    I’m not sure if this is of interest to anyone but I chose another place for my thoughts on this issue; the govt petition site. It got approved today so consider having a look.

    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/29618

  21. 21
    Sili

    Well, if the Vatican is a country, it does give us the option of telling Bill Donohue, Santorum and Gingrich to go back home where they belong.

  22. 22
    GordonWillis

    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.

    Surely only the deepest and most deeply blind faith could be responsible for this extraordinary remark. If this is her idea of justifying her position, it expresses a very high order of confusion indeed. Warsi tells us that faith is about separating the believers from the unbelievers (and the believers say faith is about separating the saved from the damned and the sheep from the goats and are certainly united in their belief that they are sure which is which). And as her peroration she gives us this muddled piece of turpitude, apparently thinking it quite unnecessary to tell us which communities she considers at fault: no doubt the believers know, and of course, it certainly isn’t theirs.

    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.

    If. Fighting bigotry necessitates fighting one’s own bigotry, among other things.

  23. 23
    Ophelia Benson

    I know; it’s astonishing, isn’t it? First she demonizes “the secular community” then she says the cure for inter-religious hostility is more religiosity.

  24. 24
    GordonWillis

    Another problem is that so many people who call themselves christians are people who have always assumed that that is what they are for merely traditional reasons. I used to live with a family with just such an outlook, at a time when I was turning towards religion myself. They didn’t believe a single christian doctrine — honestly, not one — didn’t think that they were proper christian beliefs, even, but strongly insisted that they were christians. Does Warsi realise that there are many many poeople like this? What exactly is she hoping to mobilise? Are we all to suddenly become strong in the faith, for the sake of beating back the terrible totalitarian supporters of totalitarian human rights and totalitarian pluralist democracy? I really don’t think she realises that she is attacking exactly what she claims to believe in.

  25. 25
    GordonWillis

    then she says the cure for inter-religious hostility is more religiosity.

    Have you noticed that this is what believers always do? It’s always “believe more“,never “maybe it’s time we thought about this”. It is just assumed that faith is true. So the unseen self-contradictions go on and on. Talk about brain-washing. This is real totalitarianism.

  26. 26
    GordonWillis

    I’m astonished by what she says about denial of history: where does that come from? And all this stuff about watering-down one’s identity: is she about to start telling people that if they don’t come out as religious believers they are denying their identies? By what right does she impose an identity on anyone? Disturbing stuff.

  27. 27
    The Doubter

    When did words and dialogue translate into becoming ‘militant action’?

    Common sense is asking that church and state should be separated. Religion should not by default gain special privileges in society…..quite a simple concept really….how is this militant?

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