Introduction — Dec 7, 2015
I’m not about to defend the conventional Christianity. Nor am I about to argue for or against any particular religion. Indeed I would have ignored the following until I saw who chaired the panel compiling this report.
The fact that it is former High Court judge Baroness Butler-Sloss really calls into question the report’s true agenda. For Butler-Sloss is a fully fledged member of the British establishment who had previously been named to head an inquiry into the disappearance of a dossier concerning child abuse in high places. A dossier moreover that had been handed to former Home Secretary Leon Brittan for scrutiny, and which then promptly went missing.
Butler-Sloss was forced to step down after it came to light that she was the sister of former Attorney General Michael Havers, who had been named in the missing dossier as having been involved in underage sex rings.
This in turn led to suspicions that Butler-Sloss may have been appointed to oversee what was to be in effect a cover-up.
Rather than help expose child abuse in high places, the concern was that Butler-Sloss was appointed to lead the inquiry astray. Thereby protecting highly placed child abusers such as her brother and other members of the British establishment.
So given her previous form one cannot but wonder about Butler-Ross’s latest appointment. From heading an inquiry that may have been intended to actually cover-up child abuse in high places, Butler-Sloss now leads a commission investigating religion in public life.
That’s quite a turn around.
Strip away the stilted outer trappings and you have a stark contradiction in terms. A member of the establishment, who has been implicated in providing cover for high ranking child abusers, has just steered a committee that will make recommendations for spiritual practises in public life.
All of which begs the question: why was Baroness Butler-Sloss chosen to head the inquiry? Is she really an such authority on spiritual concerns? Or has she been appointed to help emasculate genuine spirituality and render it harmless to the powers that be?
In this regard the report’s politically correct tone is none too encouraging. Ed.
Britain is no longer just a Christian country, says major report
Jonathan Owen — The Independent Dec 7, 2015
Britain has seen a “general decline” in its Christian affiliation and the time has come for public life to take on a more “pluralist character”, according to an official report.
Major state occasions such as a coronation should be changed to be more inclusive, it said, while the number of bishops in the House of Lords should be cut to make way for leaders of other religions.
The recommendations from a panel chaired by the former High Court judge Baroness Butler-Sloss come in light of major changes in British society.
Only two in five British people now identify as Christian, the two-year inquiry found, while there has been a general move away from mainstream denominations to evangelical and Pentecostal churches.
Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism have overtaken Judaism as the largest non-Christian faiths in Britain.
The Commission on Religion and Belief in Public Life (Corab), which compiled the report, includes Christian, Muslim, Sikh and Hindu representatives as well as theological experts.
The proportion of people who do not follow a religion has risen from just under a third in 1983 to almost half in 2014, the report states.
Yet the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, as well as the Bishops of Durham, London and Winchester, automatically take seats in the Lords – with an additional 21 seats reserved for other bishops.
“The pluralist character of modern society should be reflected in national forums such as the House of Lords, so that they include a wider range of world views and religious traditions, and of Christian denominations other than the Church of England,” the commission said.
Dr Ed Kessler, vice-chair of Corab, told The Independent: “It’s an anomaly to have 26 Anglican bishops in the House of Lords. There needs to be better representation of the different religions and beliefs in Britain today.”
The report also recommends scrapping the law requiring schools to hold acts of collective worship, reducing the number of children given places at schools based on religion, and including non-religious figures on the BBC’s Thought for the Day.
There also needs to be an overhaul of how religious education is taught, it argues. Many syllabuses tend to “portray religions only in a good light … and they tend to omit the role of religions in reinforcing stereotypes and prejudice around issues such as gender, sexuality, ethnicity and race.”
The report’s proposals “amount to a ‘new settlement for religion and belief in the UK’, intended to provide space and a role for all within society, regardless of their beliefs or absence of them,” said Lady Butler-Sloss.