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Goodbye Christianity, hello multicultural wasteland...

Peter Hitchens -THE MAIL ON SUNDAY - Tue, Dec 15th 2015

If you want to wreck the country, get some grandiose people to sit on a panel. Make sure you don’t choose anyone who disagrees with your aim. Then write a pamphlet demanding the destruction of something good, and call it a ‘report’.

And most of the media, especially the BBC, will oblige by treating your propaganda as if it is some sort of impartial study.

The latest example is from the self-proclaimed ‘Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life’, whose demands were published last week, masquerading as the conclusions of a balanced study.

Would you believe they want to make state schools even less Christian than they already are – accusing our many excellent Church schools of being ‘socially divisive’ and of promoting ‘segregation’ – and to revise the Coronation and services of remembrance to make them more inclusive?

'Divisive': The Commission of Religion and Belief in British Public Life wants to make state schools less Christian than they currently are (file image)

Of course, there are luminaries of the poor, bewildered Church of England among this report’s ‘patrons’ and on its ‘steering group’. Its chairwoman is a jolly nice church-going baroness. But what purpose do they serve in such things? They do not necessarily stand for the established order, even if they belong to it.

This may be a clue: among those who paid for this ‘commission’ were the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, which until recently funded the rather militant Islamic rights group CAGE (about as far from a vicarage tea party as you can get) and the Open Society Foundations, backed by the ultra-liberal billionaire George Soros, a keen supporter of relaxing the drug laws.

Now, these modernisers have a point of view. I have a lot of time for atheists, humanists and members of other religions from my own. At least they’re interested in what seems to me, more and more, to be the most important question we face – what sort of universe is this? (Full disclosure: I am an old-fashioned Broad Church Anglican, 1662 Prayer Book, King James Bible and all.) But the idea that we should carry on adapting Britain and England to ideas and religions from elsewhere seems to me to be a mistake. All we have and are is based on the Christian faith, which has shaped law, government, morals, music, landscape and education here for a thousand years. Abandon it, and what holds up the trust which keeps us from chaos?

I accept that Christianity is dying fast in this country. I know that many schools teach religion badly, if at all, and that ignorance is everywhere. But there is more than one response to this. You could say, as this ‘report’ does, that we should accept that this isn’t a Christian country any more, and adapt it to become a sort of religious salad of all faiths and none.

You could give up trying to teach Christianity as a living faith, and instead get children to study it as a quaint, eccentric curiosity. Or – and the weeks around Christmas are a good time to say this – we could say that we still have a chance to rebuild and restore what has been lost.

Why do we so lack the confidence to do this, and readily abandon a heritage of such power and beauty, which has brought us so much good, for a multicultural wasteland in which a dozen competing faiths squabble in the ruins, and everyone else bows to the neon gods of consumerism?

Perhaps there is a multibillionaire out there somewhere who would fund a ‘commission’ that would be pretty much bound to come up with such a conclusion (I could pick the members). We could call the resulting propaganda a report. Then everyone would have to take it seriously.


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