Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The problem in public life isn’t Islam, but religion itself - Doug Saunders - The Globe and Mail

Thanks to Brendan Reid for the link.

Note that this article is from Feb 18. There was a call in show on the BBC this morning and there are most likely comments relating to the coverage of Warsi's position in this article. The post on RD.net is here.

We always knew it could happen: A devout Muslim heads a conservative political party that takes office in a multicultural Western country, then leads a campaign to enforce mandatory prayer and to lobby for religious-based values and laws. How will people react?

Well, it happened in Britain this week, and here’s how they reacted: Judges and leading thinkers fought back in the name of a secular state, but the Queen, the Pope and Britain’s right-wing newspapers all spoke up in support of the Muslim party leader’s campaign.

This was because the leader in question is Baroness Warsi, chairman of the Conservative Party and a senior minister in David Cameron’s government. She’s a popular figure among Tories and an entertaining personality who frequently appears on British TV. She’s also a devout Muslim, a faith-based cultural conservative and a staunch defender of religion’s role in public life.

Her campaign began Monday, after Britain’s High Court ruled that the practice of holding prayers during municipal council meetings is unconstitutional (as, by extension, may be those held during sittings of the House of Commons). Prayer, the judge ruled, is a private matter that has no place in the formal proceedings of a legal assembly.

The Baroness shot back, saying her country is falling prey to “militant secularization” and arguing that religious belief should be “a voice in the public sphere.” She went to Rome and met the Pope, who appeared to give her arguments his blessing. Religion, she said, should be a basis of public life: “To create a more just society, Britons must feel stronger in their religious identities.”
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