Built on Christian values

I guess Labour people are panicking about the Forcible Christianity Gap, and rushing to catch up with David “we are a Christian country” Cameron.

Jack Straw says that the way to deal with Islamist takeovers of state schools is to do a Christianist takeover instead. I take it he’s never heard of secularism?

Muslims must accept that Britain is built on Christian values, a former Home Secretary has said, in the wake of mounting evidence that a group of schools have been taken over in a ‘Trojan Horse’ plot by radical Islamists.

It is “inevitable” that many Muslim communities will not integrate with the rest of British society but it must be made clear that attempts to isolate Muslim pupils from the rest of society are unacceptable, Jack Straw said.

And the obvious way to do that is to shove a rival religion at them. Naturally. Not to tell them that school is neutral ground where children from all religions and none can mix, but to tell them that Our Religion is better than Their Religion. I think I spy a difficulty.

Mr Straw said Muslim parents must accept that their own beliefs cannot supplant the Christian values that underpin British society.

“The parents have to accept… that we also live in the United Kingdom and that alongside values that are religiously based, there has to be a clear understanding that this is the UK, and there are a set of values, that are indeed Christian based, which permeate our sense of citizenship,” Mr Straw told the BBC.

No they’re not. They’re not Christian based. That’s wrong.

Society must “spell it out to them” that it is not acceptable to teach that non-Muslims and women are inferior.

Yes, but not with Christianity. Read any Paul lately?


  1. Blanche Quizno says

    Oh ugh. Flashbacks to former President George W. Bush invoking “crusade” in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a term horribly offensive and belligerent toward Muslims…

    Alexander Cockburn, “The Tenth Crusade,” Counterpunch, September 7, 2002. : “Islamic fanatics flew those planes a year ago and here we are with a terrifying alliance of Judaeo-Christian fanatics, conjoined in their dreams of the recovery of the Holy Lands of the West Bank, Judaea and Samaria. War on Terror? It’s back to the late thirteenth century, picking up where Prince Edward left off with his ninth crusade after St Louis had died in Tunis with the word Jerusalem on his lips.”

    James Pinkerton, “Century In, Century Out – It’s Crusade Time,” Newsday, December 4, 2003: “And now, in 2003, the Americans, the Twelfth Crusaders. The West is no longer ‘Christendom,’ but we, as first cousins to the Europeans, retain the old faith and bring new kinds of idealism, such as democracy and human rights. But the Crusader spirit is still there; it’s still about bringing civilization and salvation of a backward people. As the born-again George W. Bush says, ‘This is about good vs. evil.'”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenth_Crusade

    Hint: Muslims don’t take kindly to filthy kaffirs looking down on them as “backward”.

    Say, does Cameron happen to enjoy doing paint-by-number Scottie dogs when he’s off duty?

  2. Blanche Quizno says

    Surely Cameron can’t be so young that he missed out on THIS:

    Europe cringes at Bush ‘crusade’ against terrorists

    As Europeans wait to see how the United States is planning to retaliate for last week’s attacks on Washington and New York, there is growing anxiety here about the tone of American war rhetoric.

    President Bush’s reference to a “crusade” against terrorism, which passed almost unnoticed by Americans, rang alarm bells in Europe. It raised fears that the terrorist attacks could spark a ‘clash of civilizations’ between Christians and Muslims, sowing fresh winds of hatred and mistrust.

    “We have to avoid a clash of civilizations at all costs,” French foreign minister Hubert Vedrine said on Sunday. “One has to avoid falling into this huge trap, this monstrous trap” which he said had been “conceived by the instigators of the assault.”

    And down falls David Cameron!! AAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!

    “This confusion between politics and religion…risks encouraging a clash of civilizations in a religious sense, which is very dangerous,” he added. http://www.csmonitor.com/2001/0919/p12s2-woeu.html

  3. says

    Built and destroyed on Christian values, I’d say. It would seem Mr. Straw isn’t too keen on his history. He apparently does not know what the whole “My religion is better than your religion” attitude has done to Europe and England in the past. Here are just a few links that popped up searching for “england protestand conflict”:

    It’s rather frustrating, I must say, how so many have forgotten how Protestants and Catholics used to really, really despise each other.

  4. says

    Hint: Muslims don’t take kindly to filthy kaffirs looking down on them as “backward”.

    And Blanche raises another bit of potential contradiction. Mr. Straw apparently thinks that it is “not acceptable to teach that non-Muslims and women are inferior.” Such a statement itself could be seen as implying that Muslims are inferior, particularly when his “solution” is to push his religion on to Muslims.

  5. deepak shetty says

    the Christian values that underpin British society.
    I suppose that includes invading other countries and killing people ..

  6. AsqJames says

    in the wake of mounting evidence that a group of schools have been taken over in a ‘Trojan Horse’ plot by radical Islamists.

    Is there actually mounting evidence, or just an increasing level of coverage and speculation? I haven’t seen any actual new information since the original allegations, just that Birmingham council are investigating.

    @deepak shetty,

    “the Christian values that underpin British society.”
    I suppose that includes invading other countries and killing people ..

    That depends, do they have a flag?

  7. aziraphale says

    If I were a Muslim and the only practical choice of school for my children was secular, I think I could accept that. But if the only choice was a Christian school? That’s where I would start to feel alienated.

  8. Trebuchet says

    Replace “Muslim” with “Catholic”, and it all sounds rather Elizabethan…

    Which one?

  9. Tim Harris says

    I thought that Jack Straw was Jewish or of Jewish extraction – which, if so, makes his intervention even more foolish.

  10. jesse says

    Well, unlike the US, England (and the UK as I understand it) still has an established church, as do many other European countries, which may be part of the problem. In the US at least we can be more explicit about secularism, even though there has been a LOT of pushback.

    The thing is, I’ve noticed that many westerners have no problem with secularism — until they run into religions and people who are “other.” Then, all of a sudden, it’s a bad idea. The connection between what looks like secularism and entrenched privilege for largely western cultural norms (which can be just as negative and arbitrary as anyone else’s) seems lost on such people.

    One of the flip sides of secularism — at last coming at it from an American point of view — is that it means secularism for everyone. That means that if we are going to do work-arounds to accommodate people’s freedom of conscience, then that applies to everyone, whether you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish or Zoroastrian. The school cannot operate in a way that privileges one group over the other. It’s really that simple.

    You can’t stop people from praying in school, but you can’t lead one (as a person in authority). You can offer space to religious clubs or groups but you can’t tell the Satanists or atheists they can’t meet in your gym while Campus for Christ can. You can’t tell students not to wear yarmulkes or headscarves or turbans, and you can’t have the 10 Commandments posted in the classrooms. People can do whatever they like within their religious community (within reason) but you can’t give it state sanction.

    I don’t know why this is such a hard concept for people.

    At least in the US, one of the reasons for an explicitly secular constitution is that there was a large variety of Christian sects in the US even then. Secularism was meant in part to leave room for that, so you wouldn’t leave anyone feeling alienated.

    Let’s not forget that in 1780 the religious wars in England and Oliver Cromwell were not so far in the past — a century or so — and in fact much of the violence that we associate with Cromwell’s rule in Ireland spilled over into the Americas as well, though the targets weren’t Catholics. (In that case it was the Puritans, who supported Cromwell, engaging in battles with the people in places like Maryland, who supported the monarchy and its restoration). To say nothing of the then-current religious violence in Ireland. The founders of the US were not eager to repeat those experiences, nor create any more divisions between the colonies than already existed. Secularism was a principled position, but there was a very concrete political reason for it also.

    When people feel alienated from the political process or the society in which they live, that’s when you get political violence (and religious violence). It is no accident that the countries that have a lot of terrorists and insurgencies tend to be ones that have managed to convince large sectors of the population that the ballot box and politics are ineffective. And that’s why secularism is so important to a modern — and yes, multicultural — society. You need to have a situation in which everyone feels like they are getting heard, where everyone has a stake in continuing some established order and method of resolving disputes. Otherwise yes, you do have whole classes of people who feel like they have no stake in the society at large, and that’s not good.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *