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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

Evangelical Report is A “Recipe for Discord and Conflict"

The report from the Evangelical Alliance “Faith and Nation” is the best argument yet put forward for the urgent introduction of a secular constitution for Britain, says the National Secular Society.

The report argues for Christianity to be restored to its dominant place in British political and social life, even though the report admits that only a tiny minority of people in this country are active in churches.

Terry Sanderson, vice president of the National Secular Society, said: “The Evangelical Alliance says that Christianity should become the dominant force in this country again, starting with the idea that Prince Charles should not embrace other faiths when he becomes sovereign by assuming the title “Defender of Faiths” rather than being the defender of only one faith. The next coronation, they say, should be a Christian act of worship. This regressive argument immediately excludes vast swathes of people from other faiths and none from an event that is supposed to unite the nation. It is no longer an option for the monarch to serve only one section of the nation – namely that of a dwindling band of Christians. The coronation, and all other national events, should be secular occasions which are open to everyone of whatever religion or – for an increasing number – no religion at all.”

Mr Sanderson said that the Evangelical Alliance’s ideas were divisive and a recipe for discord and conflict.

“Britain needs to accept that this kind of religious power-seeking and chauvinism is dangerous. It can only increase as Christianity tries to protect its privileged position from the onslaught of other religions that are becoming ever more assertive. A secular constitution would mean that this kind of religious fight for influence could not take place in the corridors of state. That is when it becomes exceedingly dangerous.”


Published Sun, 22 Oct 2006