Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Religion and Politics

Religion is not something I am comfortable writing about, although I did try it once before here. I don't think that religion has a place in politics. In the UK, religion has normally been considered a personal matter and not a political one. Alistair Campbell was once quoted as saying "I'm sorry, we don't do God." in response to a question from a reporter.

It seems that this is changing. The BBC headline Blair shuns US religion politics should set my mind at rest. But it doesn't. The Guardian headline on the same issue is Blair praises faith's place in society, but not politics. This should stop me worrying. But it doesn't. Mr Blair has been speaking to a Christian group about the role of religion in British society. To be fair, I should mention that both Mr Howard and Mr Kennedy have already spoken to this same Christian group. Now, I'm really worried.

I often write about events related to US politics, and this story is a good example of why I do this. I'm probably stating the obvious (even more than usual, I mean) when I say that US politics is normally a good indicator of the future direction of UK politics. If we are to have a religious debate as part of the general election campaign this year, then I'd say, if anything, that this process is happening faster than ever.

Another article in the Guardian, For Bush, science is a dirty word, gives us some idea of where this might lead. Now, I'm extremely worried.

I looked out my copy of The Salmon Of Doubt by Douglas Adams as an antidote to my worries. It contains an interview with a group called "American Atheists" which I've read before but which I still find thoughtful and funny. I was going to quote from the interview as a counterpoint to all this talk of religion but I've decided not to. Instead, I'll quote this question and answer which are printed immediately after it:

What are the benefits of speaking to your fans via email?

It's quicker, easier, and involves less licking.

I feel a bit better now.

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