This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Comment

← Prime Minister’s dissembling, hypocritical and disingenuous speech to religious leaders

hungarianelephant's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by hungarianelephant

It would be a shock to find that Cameron had managed a speech in which he said anything whatsoever of substance. So a reading of the speech was in order. And at the end of it all, I really can't see what Terry Sanderson is getting so fraught about.

Dave is speaking to religious leaders. What do you expect him to say? "Listen up, dweebs, we've all had enough of your religious crap, and there are going to be some changes around here."? Of course he isn't. He wants the churches onside - partly for his weird and ill-defined Big Society project, and partly because faith schools are one of the few bits of the English education system which actually work. Few here will agree with him, but it's hardly the collapse of the Enlightenment.

I suspect that Dave is genuinely a "believer in belief". If you think of religion and moral values as intertwined, most of what he says makes sense, and it's pretty clear from the context that he regards the "Christian fightback" not as against militantseculardogmaticatheistintolerantmilitance, but against a (possibly imaginary) decline in standards generally. He is wrong, but that doesn't make him a liar.

Some of Sanderson's arguments are just plain nonsense. It's perfectly legitimate to think that anyone should be able to wear a cross without mandating it by force of law - go over the threads here and you will find lots of posters arguing that precise point perfectly cogently. There is nothing in here to suggest a backing down over gay marriage. Cameron supports it - he said so in unusually clear terms, despite the likely reaction. He was making the perfectly reasonable point that it might not be a bad idea if the debate were conducted in terms which didn't utterly alienate the other side.

As to Bideford council, Sanderson needs to read the judgment properly (as well as the road signs). The judge rejected most of the secular arguments, and decided the case on the very narrow ground that prayers could not be part of the agenda. The council could still have prayers if they want to, or for that matter a group rendition of Knees Up Mother Brown - just not include them on the agenda. And the provision which prevented this has now been repealed anyway.

Not many people like Cameron. He even provokes irate into saying something complimentary about Margaret Thatcher, which I have printed and will use in evidence. But you can't blame him for making insubstantial magic-and-kittens speeches like this, any more than you can blame a cat for scratching the table.

There's no point getting upset with him. It will just bounce off him. If you don't want politicians like this, then just stop voting for them and they will eventually go away. The same goes for those stuffed suits on the other side of the house, and indeed both the likely White House candidates in November.

Wed, 04 Apr 2012 10:22:42 UTC | #932299