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Response to the Woolf Institute's Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life

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Issued by Christian Concern


News Release
For immediate release
07 December 2015

Response to the Woolf Institute's Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life

Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, has issued the following response to the Woolf Institute's Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life's 'Living with Difference' report:

"In spite of the name, we should not confuse this commission with a public or royal commission. It has been appointed by a private body and its conclusions are not all that surprising given its make-up.

"The report is right to recognise the enduring significance of religion. Contrary to the shrill claims of some secularists, religion is not going away.

"Sadly, however, the report’s response sets us off in entirely the wrong direction in terms of next steps. It says that public policy has been piecemeal but its own proposals are equally piecemeal.

"This report suggests that we need more religion in public life but less Christianity.

"It fails to recognise the benefit and coherency that Christianity brings to our past, present and future.

"We need to be honest and face up to the fact that different religions have very different views about what is right and wrong and produce very different outcomes for a society. The ‘lowest common denominator’ approach of pluralism is a dangerous illusion.

"It destroys a solid foundation for strong values and defence against evil and replaces it with a foundation of sand that could be swept away in a moment.

"A yet more pluralistic approach to our national life is precisely what we don’t need.

"Pluralism can only ever deliver greater fragmentation and confusion, as the last few decades should have taught us.

"We need a coherent narrative that is sufficiently robust to give us direction and real British values. For good reason, it’s Christianity that has provided that for centuries and it’s only Christianity that can provide it for the future.

"It is Christianity that has given Britain a strong sense of identity, purpose and direction whilst simultaneously making us hospitable and welcoming to others. Without Christianity we will lose both.

"We need to recover our confidence in our Christian heritage not continue to diminish and deface it further.

"All around us we are seeing the outworking of the cultural vandalism of our nation’s Christian foundation. It’s time to reverse that destruction.

"Who is it that really wants to diminish Christianity’s place in our national life?

"Those who are most vocal in calling for further pursuit of the failed experiment of pluralism, are usually those who really see it as a vehicle for robbing us of the benefit of our Christian heritage."  





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