Is Britain still a Christian country?
Britain is not a Christian country anymore, according to two-year study, headed by a retired senior judge Baroness Butler-Sloss. Her report on the place of religion in the UK showed a drastic decline in the number of Christians in British society. It also suggests Christianity should be removed from British public life and for a greater voice to be given to other faiths and non-religious views.
RT: In the figures the number of Christians is declining in the UK. Isn't it fair to say it's no longer a Christian country?
Robin Tilbrook: I think we still have got a large number of people who identify themselves as Christians. After all, in England we’ve got the Church of England, which is the established church. It has bishops appointed automatically as part of the legislature and the House of Lords. Our head of state is also the supreme governor of the Church of England. So Christianity is very much embedded in a way of doing things in our politics, and it is also very much part of our culture.
RT: Cabinet ministers condemn the report as misguided. Earlier this year, Prime Minister Cameron firmly stated that the UK is a Christian country. Is the government likely to listen to anything in this report?
Mo Ansar: Well, I hope so. I have to declare an interest. I was one of the participants in the evidence gathering. And I spoke to Baroness Butler-Sloss, with a number of other groups and organizations to give some evidence for this report.
The reality is that people like Robin Tilbrook and the English Democratic Party, and I have to say to some degree the Prime Minister [David Cameron], driving their car down the road, looking in the rear view mirror. This isn’t about looking back… The supreme governor of the Church of England is our Head of State. Isn’t it bizarre that in 2015 and even going ahead and even going backwards that the monarch, the head of the country, has to be a Christian? Why can’t they choose to be Muslim or a Buddhist, or a Hindu or a Sikh?
RT: Robin, is Britain stuck in this way?
Robin Tilbrook: Of course there are plenty of countries where Mo can get exactly what he wants, but England isn’t one of those countries. The fact is, we are and have been well over one thousand years a Christian country, our traditions are of a Christian nature.
Mo Ansar: That is an archaic view... I was born and bred here, my grandfather fought in WWII; I am as British as the next person, and we are a pluralist, liberal society. We have different faith groups, different faith traditions and they are entitled to be represented.
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