Ed Miliband: he may be an atheist, but is he a secularist?
The Jewish Chronicle says Ed Miliband is the first person from a Jewish heritage to lead the Labour Party, although he professes no religion and is an unmarried father with a non-Jewish partner, Justine (who is pregnant).
During an interview on Radio Five Live, he said: “I don’t believe in God personally, but I have great respect for those people who do. Different people have different religious views in this country. The great thing is that we are all, whether we have faith or not, by and large very tolerant of people whatever their particular view.”
Almost at once, the God-squad went into action. The Christian Institute’s hysteria index rose to bursting point and the Daily Mail reminded Mr Miliband that other leaders of the Labour Party who professed atheism (Neil Kinnock and Michael Foot) never got to Number 10. You can be sure that the right wing has taken Ed Miliband’s atheism down in evidence and will use it against him at every opportunity.
But they should calm down. In the same Radio Five Live interview he said: “Some faith schools – in fact many faith schools – do a fantastic job in our society and many of them also, people don’t often realise, take people from different backgrounds. I want good education in this country so I’m not going to slag off faith schools. It’s important for people of different backgrounds and faiths to go to school together and many faith schools do that.” Regrettably, though, many do not.
Speaking to The Church of England Newspaper, Andy Flannagan, director of the Christian Socialist Movement, said: “Ed Miliband attended our service at the conference when around 500 people turned up. His words were really, really warm and he thanked CSM for its Christian contribution to the party over the last 50 years.” Meanwhile, a poll of Sun readers showed 85% were unconcerned about his marital status.