07 April 2007

Secularism and Islam Vs Society

"There is a version of secularism going around which is antireligious, which wants to banish religion from the political public forum."

Developing the recent denouncement of the EU's Berlin Declaration made by the Pope, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham says in today's Times:

“The deep roots of our contemporary secular culture lie in Christianity and there is, in Christianity, an instinctive understanding about the notion of the rights of the human person.

“There is now a clear understanding that politically democracy is the best way of organising the use of power in this society. There is, devolved from Christianity, a notion of justice and courts, of the police and supervision of society, of hospitals and of education.

“All of these things come, if you like, from the root of the Christian heritage of Europe and of this country. But Islam is a newcomer and therefore the whole process of welcoming and integrating and understanding needs to be far more explicit and far more open and far more measured. At the same time, society without its roots will lose some of those qualities.”

Did he believe that Islam threatened those deep roots? “I think it remains to be seen.”