Tag Archives: religion

Stephen Lloyd MP writes… Can good Religious Education build better communities?

lessons from quran, drasIn the UK we benefit from a truly diverse and multi-cultural society, yet we continue to be bombarded with distorted images of nationality, customs, faith and belief in the mainstream media and the internet.

Sadly some of these myths and stereotypes have become embedded in the national psyche, making it harder for our young people to make important ‘informed’ decisions around faith and belief and distorting perceptions of some minority groups.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 31 Comments

Opinion: Don’t like the exam question? Just cross it out…

The place of religious schools in a secular society is always a subject for debate, but it comes to a head when you discover that some schools are redacting questions in GCSE exam papers because they wouldn’t approve of the answers.

All schools are required to teach the national science curriculum, and are inspected on that basis by Ofsted. We are told that to present creationism as science is not allowed. Yet one school – a Jewish girls’ secondary in this case, but the same question may arise elsewhere – has chosen to cross out questions which offend their sensibilities. …

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 23 Comments

Women bishops in the CofE: what Lib Dem members think

Lib Dem Voice polled our members-only forum recently to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 550 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

84% think the CofE should allow women to be come bishops

women bishops
In November the Church of England’s Synod failed to pass a vote that would have allowed women to become bishops. Do you think the Church of England should or should not allow women to become bishops?

    84% – Should allow

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged , and | 10 Comments

Lynne Featherstone writes… Banning, or rather not banning, crosses at work

Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one, looking at the legal action over people wearing crosses at work.

I was walking down Crescent Road in my constituency the other day when a woman came up to me and said something to the effect of, ‘I think you are a fantastic MP – but I am so upset that you are banning people from wearing the cross’.

So – from the mischievous misinformation from the pages of our print …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 28 Comments

Demos: “Religious people are more likely to be politically progressive”

It seems appropriate on Easter Day to report the findings of the report entitled Faithful Citizens by the think tank Demos.

I have been embarrassed and saddened by the portrayal of “the church” as bigoted and homophobic recently, and this research helps to counterbalance that impression. Demos’ report implies that people of faith are more likely to share Liberal Democrat values than to hold the conservative fundamentalist views often described in the media.

13% of citizens claim to belong to a church or other religious organisation, so these findings refer to believers across all the faiths in the UK, although Christians are …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 25 Comments

Opinion: 3 Liberal Criticisms of Stephen Tall’s defence of Tim Farron

Lib Dem Voice co-editor Stephen Tall has produced his 3 liberal reasons to stick up for Tim Farron. Now Stephen is a man I respect and who writes a lot of sense, but on this occasion I beg leave to disagree.

To that end I thought I’d give 3 liberal reasons to criticise Stephen Tall’s defence of our party president Tim Farron. We are of course talking about the storm Tim Farron created by co-signing a letter to the Advertising Standards Agency urging the ASA to overturn a ban on a Christian group claiming prayer could cure medical conditions.

(1)

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 19 Comments

Opinion: A broad church of the religious and the secular

For the party to be strong, we need to be a broad church, and not just in our political views. This is why I think the most important fringe meeting at the coming Spring Conference is the first joint fringe meeting of the Liberal Democrat Christian Forum and the Humanist and Secularist Liberal Democrats. This is a chance for us to demonstrate that, even where we fundamentally disagree, Liberal Democrats can debate with mutual respect.

These last two weekends, I have seen concrete examples of the way Christians and atheists can work together: at the two most recent …

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 11 Comments

Opinion: An Unlikely Defender of the Faith

Eric Pickles recently sent forth an encyclical and counterblast to the “illiberal and intolerant secularists” seeking to overturn “the right to worship  a fundamental and hard-fought British liberty” and reverse “the fight for religious freedom in British history, deeply entwined with our political freedom”.

Our Town Clerk at once e-mailed us all a copy – on the very day, as it happened, that I went to Hertford for a County Council Meeting.

As usual, the meeting started at 10 30 a.m. And as usual those councillors who wished to pray met in the Council Chamber a little earlier at 10 20 a.m. Nothing wrong with that - their Prayer Meeting is not part …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 21 Comments

Opinion: Secularism is a friend to Religion, not its enemy

Baroness Warsi’s recent comments about secularism showed her ignorance about how it can be religion’s greatest friend, and should always be. Secularism, at its heart, represents a separation between religion and the state, which benefits both the atheist and the believer.

For atheists, secularism gives us assurance that religion will not be an officially supported part of our government system. That we will have no direct religious influence over our Government, no bishops in the House of Lords, and no official religion. Of course, we can’t stop people being elected who have religious beliefs, and their beliefs will affect their …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 36 Comments

Opinion: time to talk about things that don’t matter

Now, before I start, let me be clear: I am not an atheist and in fact find atheism’s certainties as puzzling as those of fundamentalists – the latter are certain that God exists and the former that he does not. Quite how, after centuries of Enlightenment philosophy, there are adherents to either point of view is beyond me.

Anyway: I go to Church, have doubts, fall far short of my ideals. Sorry.

Last week there was a High Court judgment against Bideford Town Council. In a nutshell it said that prayers should not form part of a council meeting.

I belong to two …

Posted in Local government and Op-eds | Also tagged | 19 Comments

Lords Rennard, Carlile, and Lester, with Lynne Featherstone, defend rules on religious civil partnerships

The House of Lords yesterday dismissed fears surrounding new regulations allowing religious institutions to celebrate same-sex civil partnerships on their premises. Some campaigners hard argued that such rules could force them to do so against their will, an argument that was laid to rest by Peers. In doing so, they gave the green light to liberal religious organisations to allow same-sex couples to register their civil partnerships under their auspices.

The Lords debated Conservative Peer Lady O’Cathain’s motion to have new regulations on civil partnerships delayed because of fears that equality campaigners could use the Equality Act 2010 or the Human …

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Opinion: The Equality Bill & religious faith – Church v State? Not so much.

This has been, for me, a very sad and confusing week. Last weekend I received an email asking me to sign a petition about amendments to the Equality Bill “which potentially will take away the right of every citizen to live according to their religious faiths and consciences.” The email contained the phrase: “By not signing the petition you are inviting your own oppression” – aimed at church-goers.

Naturally I was very alarmed by this email and commenced research on this subject.

Demurring from signing the petition, I watched the relevant House of Lords debate very closely.

Quite frankly I am still confused …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 13 Comments

Opinion: In praise of Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor

To my deep amazement, it was standing room only at 9.30 am Mass at St Piran’s Catholic Church in Truro, Cornwall, on Easter Sunday. I arrived shortly before the service started but could only get a space on the floor at the back. Every bench and chair was occupied. It was easily the best church attendance I have seen for over a decade.

And for a practising Catholic like me, it was an inspiring – not to say, astonishing – sight, given the accepted wisdom that God is irrelevant, churchgoing is in terminal decline, and the only people who …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 40 Comments

Nick Clegg attacks Policy Exchange for “offensive” and “underhand” briefing – UPDATED

LDV readers may recall that last October, we ran a piece highlighting Nick Clegg’s attack on think-tank Policy exchange for circulating a a dossier questioning apparent extremist background of several of the events speakers at a forthcoming Global Peace and Unity event in London. Nick, who spoke at the event, accused the Policy Exchange’s director of “bizarre and underhand behaviour”, and questioned the validity of the evidence – attracting some flak from LDV readers in the comments thread.

I was, therefore, interested to read this article today on Liberal Conspiracy under the headline, Exclusive: Policy Exchange forced

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 6 Comments

Evan wins Secularist of the Year 2009

We may be only five weeks into 2009, but Lib Dem MP Evan Harris has already won an award – Secularist of the Year. The BBC reports:

The Liberal Democrat was named joint winner, with Lord Avebury, for their work in abolishing the blasphemy libel law in England and Wales. Dr Harris called the law “ancient, discriminatory and illiberal” as well as not compliant with human rights and against free speech. The offences of blasphemous libel and blasphemy were abolished last summer. …

Dr Harris has also campaigned to separate religion and the state claiming the current system has a number

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LDV readers say: yes to Church of England disestablishment

The last poll of 2008 here on LDV was a bit of a throwback for us liberals, with the question of church disestablishment rearing its head amid reports that Labour is considering reforming the 1701 Act of Settlement barring Catholics from ascending to the throne. LDV asked: Do you think the time has now come for the Church of England to be disestablished?

Here’s what you told us:


>> 47% (147) – Yes, the link between state and church should be immediately ended

>> 35% (107) – Yes, in principle, but it is a minor issue
>> 17% (52) – No, it

Posted in News and Voice polls | Also tagged | 4 Comments

NEW POLL: time to disestablish the Church of England?

140 years after Gladstone helped reunite the Liberal Party around the issue of disestablishing the Anglican Church of Ireland, the issue of the link between Church and State has once again reared its head. The Telegraph yesterday reported that the Government is considering

a report being drawn up in Downing Street on ways to reform a key element of the established Church, the 1701 Act of Settlement, which bars a Catholic from ascending to the throne. David Cairns, a former Roman Catholic priest who resigned as a minister at the Scotland Office two months ago in protest at Gordon

Posted in Voice polls | Also tagged | 14 Comments



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    " These feelings can be particularly acute in London, especially around Heathrow, where residents endure noise and dread the prospect of more flights." Not just...
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    Expected, but still very sad, news. We have lost a thinker, a humourist, a connoisseur of life's finer things and an all round nice bloke....
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    Perhaps the awaited email was too complex for the team to handle. Actually, I thought the piece above was about the maximum we could expect...
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    Thanks Caron - whenever things like this happen and I throw up my hands in despair - your piece and most of the subsequent comments...
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    Can we do the same for defence?
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    Welcome back!