Keep your religion out of politics!
I thought I was living in a country that kept religion and state separate. Well, apart from all the obvious and antiquated advantages that religions still enjoy in this society. The most blatant and inexplicable of these is the presence of 26 non-elected bishops in the House of Lords (Lords Spiritual). Why a bishop should be specifically well-qualified in lieu of just about anybody else in matters of the state is utterly beyond me; if somebody can give me a proper reason, please do leave a comment.
Anyway, I digress.
In addition, and more immediately annoying, is the fact that the highest politicians in the UK keep flirting with religion, for what I can only assume are opportunistic political reasons: churches still hold power (see above Lords Spiritual; it’s of course a good idea not to ruffle too many christian feathers if you’re trying to get any law through the House of Lords), have money to spend, and are allocated free time and space on broadcasting and other media outlets.
Thus, over the last few years, we’ve had Tony the Devout, who strongly promoted faith schools – which with their legalised discrimination can prevent having to hire staff of whom they don’t like the sexual or religious leanings, and are allowed exceptions to the normal curriculum can avoid teaching “controversial” stuff like evolution or how to use a condom.
After Tony left office he has actually stepped up a little; without going into detail, just visit this depressing website.
His successor Gordon Brown unfortunately is only a little less vocal in his unflinching conviction that christianity is The Only Way to being a Good Person. He has repeatedly stated that Britain is not a secular society (this maybe unfortunately, but not for much longer, be true), but more worryingly added that religion should be at the centre of policy-making.
Now superficially that may sound great; isn’t religion good? Christ as a loving person, forgiving your enemies, spreading compassion? Well, the problem is that that is all handpicked from scripture. Fundamentally it has nothing much to do with religion but it is simply people choosing to believe stuff that sounds reasonable to them. Jesus said that whomever forsakes his family to follow him would be greatly rewarded (Matthew 19:29 & others); however that verse from the New Testament doesn’t seem so popular for whatever reason.
The bottom line is that people can decide for themselves what is good, without need from scripture of any sort, and I wish they simply admitted that. Politicians included.