Clegg ‘Doesn’t believe in God’

In news that will surely delight Lib Dem Voice’s resident militant atheist (and at least one fluffy elephant), our new leader does not count himself amongst the nation’s theists, according a report over at the BBC.

The revelation came as part of a Radio 5 ‘rapid fire’ interview when he was asked whether he believed in God, and he replied no.

He later qualified his remarks, saying he had enormous respect for people with a faith (unlike LDV’s RMA) and that his wife and children were Catholic:

I myself am not an active believer, but the last thing I would do when talking or thinking about religion is approach it with a closed heart or a closed mind.

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58 Comments

  • Andrew Duffield 19th Dec '07 - 6:42pm

    I’m warming to him already. Merry Yule!

  • Cheltenham Robin 19th Dec '07 - 6:51pm

    WHAT!

    You mean he doesn’t believe in Chris Rennard?

    What a heathen

  • Chris Rennard isn’t God !!!!!!

    According to my old Young Lib colleagues (young then, old now) my God had a beard, lived in Colne, and worked in Hebden Bridge.

    Can you tell who it is yet??????????????

  • Martin Land 19th Dec '07 - 8:34pm

    I really don’t understand why he was asked the question. Surely at Christmas we all have other things on our mind than God?

  • Cheltenham Robin 19th Dec '07 - 9:20pm

    “shimmys down the chimney”

    Surely there’s an easier way to deliver “Good Morning” leaflets?

  • Geoffrey Payne 19th Dec '07 - 10:30pm

    Now what was this about God?

  • I couldn’t have been happier with his answer. He says what he believes, and I think that is quite frankly refreshing…

  • Steve Comer 20th Dec '07 - 1:14am

    I thought at last Nick and I had something in common when I heard this on Radio 5…then “He later qualified his remarks, saying he had enormous respect for people with a faith….and that his wife and children were Catholic:”

    Sounds like he was back pedalling later – Why?

  • That he doesn’t believe in a god is fine (who does?) but by his own admission he’s quite willing to indoctrinate his own children into a belief system he considers to be untrue. That’s not good.

  • I wasn’t neccessarily disagreeing with Nick’s ‘later qualification’, just making the point that to the ordinary listener it just sounds like a “typical woolly liberal comment”, or “sittting on the fence.” That may be unfair, but it is a criticism often levelled at Lib Dems.

    Mick had an opportunity to present his ideas with a clarity that he didn’t manage in his rather lacklustre leadership campaign. All I’m saying is that he needs to be clearer and more decisive in his answers to simple questions.

  • 27 – Jennifer, yes, the bit about his children rather annoyed me. I was delighted when I heard this news, but as I read further into the story the notable backpedaling “but I’m bringing his kids up as religious!” was obvious.

    Translated: “please excuse me atheism, because I am just indocrinating my children instead; they will suffer on my behalf”

    Nice man, that Cleggy.

  • Perhaps the issue here is that we live in a secular society, and that means keeping the social reactionaries of the sky-father religions marginalised when determining policies.
    And to allow your own children to be corrupted by an organisation as harmful to children as the RC church is a real worry.
    Think it through Mr Clegg.

  • Matthew Huntbach 20th Dec '07 - 12:27pm

    I read from this that a substantial number of Liberal Democrats would like to snatch little children away from their parents and put them in state institutions to be taught an approved national ideology, just in case those parents might “indocrinate” their children into some nasty habits of which they don’t approve. Why stop at Catholics? Why not ban Jews from allowing their children to participate in the pesach seder etc?

  • 31 – Joe, my point was more that a lack of belief in a God does not quite square with allowing your children to believe in one. I would have thought, in such an asymmetric marriage, that they would go for the only sensible, rational position, which is to allow them to decide which religion, if any, they would like to choose only when they are fully able to.

    The way Nick seemed to present his position was almost to excuse his lack of faith, aware that he had to protect against the risk of losing votes.

    After all, why did he bring his children into the equation at all? The question was explicitly about his faith. Why did he feel he had to half-justify his answer by making reference to the religious “beliefs” of his children? (and, of course, children will know no better) Why was it not enough to just accept that he is an atheist and that’s that?

  • Matthew Huntbach 20th Dec '07 - 1:17pm

    [email protected]

    I think it is obvious that I am exaggerating to make a point. Why is it that even the slightest attempt to have children understand their parents’ culture is described as “indoctrination” when that culture happens to be Catholicism? People who make that point should understand where their argument they are using goes when you take it further. Force-feeding bacon sandwiches to the kids of Jews on the grounds that growing up in a kosher household amounts to “indoctrination” in Judaism?

  • I’m sure Nick’s kids are being brought up as liberal Catholics.Santa will be bringing some Hans Kung books for the household shortly.

  • Matthew Huntbach 20th Dec '07 - 3:12pm

    He’s going to allow his kids to have some experience of his wife’s culture.

    What should he have done, Laurence? Say “Shut up woman, I’m the big papa and my kids do what I say”?

    Sheesh, look how thin some of these “liberals” liberalism is when it comes to people doing things they personally don’t like.

  • Laurence
    Doesn’t a wife get a say in the upbringing of the children?

  • What should he have done, Laurence? Say “Shut up woman, I’m the big papa and my kids do what I say”?

    Of course not, but the Catholic church does say that catholics can only marry outside the faith if the partner agrees to bring up the kids as Catholics. So she is saying “I’m the big mama and my kids do waht I say”.

    For the record I am also an atheist who was brought up a catholic. perhaps there is hope for the kids yet!

  • Reading this thread makes me wonder whether a lot of my fellow Lib Dems understand what being liberal means.

    Nick clearly realises that there are doctrinal atheists who demonstrate the same bigotries that the more unpleasant religiosos do. Quite rightly he wants to make it clear he ain’t one of those. He also might just happen to love his wife. I’m amazed particularly at the female posters here who think he should indoctrinate – yes, the word is just as applicable – their joint offspring into atheism. Shame!

  • I come from Northern Ireland. I know about indoctrination and bigotry (oops is that a bigoted comment?)

  • Theist and atheist of course aren’t the only two options available. Indeed, if Clegg keeps an open mind, he is likely to be closer to an agnostic.

  • I expect all party leaders to be highly intelligent: as such, I assume that none believe in god. If Brown/Cameron/Clegg said that they were theists, surely this would be a big reason not to vote for them?

    Well done Clegg.

  • Denis, in message 49 says:
    “I’m amazed particularly at the female posters here who think he should indoctrinate – yes, the word is just as applicable – their joint offspring into atheism”

    How on earth is not raising your kids in a religion “atheist indoctrination”?

    People are not saying he should teach them that God is a fairy tale and all believers are idiots, simply that they should be not be raised explicitly as Catholics (or any other religion), so that when they’re old enough they’ll have an unbiased view of all viewpoints.

    Why do so many people fail to see the massive difference here.

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