Christians are increasingly reluctant to express their religious views because they are being “turned off” by the “disturbing” and “very damaging” rise of religious fundamentalism, the Attorney General has said.
Dominic Grieve said that atheists who claim that Britain is no longer a Christian nation are “deluding themselves” and must accept that faith has shaped this country’s laws and ethics.
He said that 1,500 years of Christian values are “not going to disappear overnight” and said that many people remain believers even if they choose not to go to Church.
However, he warned people are being discouraged from openly declaring their beliefs because of the “deep intolerance” of religious extremists of all faiths, including Islam and Christianity.
He told The Telegraph: “I do think that there has been a rise of an assertiveness of religious groups across the spectrum. That is why those with softer religious views find it disturbing and say they don’t want anything to do with it.”
The Prime Minister hasn’t thought through the consequences of offering privileged access and public funds to Christian groups, argues Joan Smith. Many non-religious organisations helping domestic violence and sex trafficking victims will miss out
Does it matter if the Prime Minister welcomes leaders of Christian organisations into Number 10 Downing Street? He is a Christian himself and it isn’t as if he doesn’t invite other ‘faith’ groups to mark religious festivals. But wait: when David Cameron welcomed prominent Christians into his official residence, he went much further than celebrating a set of shared beliefs. He made promises which will affect the lives of people who weren’t present and don’t share those beliefs. Many of them, I’m sorry to say, are likely to be women who find themselves in dreadful circumstances.
I’m thinking about women fleeing violent marriages and victims of sex trafficking. In the recent past, a wide range of organisations existed to help them, and religious belief played a small part or none at all in the services they offered. Many of them received public funding, either from local councils or central government, but George Osborne’s austerity measures means that funding has been slashed. On a typical day in 2011, Women’s Aid was forced by lack of funds to turn away 230 women seeking refuge from a violent husband or partner.
Tony Blair has warned Western leaders they must put aside their differences with Russia over Ukraine to focus on the threat of Islamic extremism.
In a speech the former UK prime minister - now a Middle East envoy -said powerful nations must "take sides" and back "open-minded" groups.
Mr Blair told the BBC ahead of the speech the West would pay a "very heavy price" for not intervening in Syria.
He said the opportunity to create "an optimistic solution" had been missed.
Mr Blair gave his speech at Bloomberg in London amid high tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine.
Western leaders accuse Russia of using undercover military personnel to back separatists in eastern Ukraine - a claim Russia denies.
Before the speech, the former PM - now envoy for the quartet of the UN, EU, US and Russia - spoke to the BBC's security correspondent Frank Gardner.
Minister suggests teaching of religion at either end or start of school day
Irish Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn has thrown down a challenge to the Catholic Church to give concrete examples of how its schools can be “genuinely inclusive” for children of all faiths and none.
In an address to be delivered at a teacher union conference this morning, Mr Quinn says is it “disappointing” that the church has failed to provide such information to his department as had been promised in previous discussions.
He also suggests that, in developing policies on inclusivity, Catholic schools in areas where there is no alternative patronage should consider timetabling faith formation at the start or end of the day to minimise disruption to class.
Muslim schools 'must respect British values' says Jack Straw as Birmingham MP admits there is a 'Trojan Horse' plot by extremists
Schools with large numbers of Muslim pupils must respect British values, former home secretary Jack Straw said yesterday.
He spoke as a Muslim MP said a radical ‘Trojan Horse’ plot to take over state schools was operating in Birmingham.
Khalid Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, claimed a ‘small group of individuals’ was trying to change the ethos of schools by stealth.
It was also claimed that roving 'morality squads' have been instituted at the affected schools, and would censor talk of non-Muslim festivals and smash pupils' Easter eggs.
Mr Straw said more and more schools were mostly or entirely comprised of Muslim pupils, adding: ‘We have to accept and the schools with a majority of Muslim parents have to accept – as they do if they are Hindu, Sikh, Jewish or Christian – that we also live within the United Kingdom.
‘Alongside values which are religiously based, there has to understanding that this is the UK and there is a set of values – some of which I would say are Christian based – which permeate our sense of citizenship.’