Labour regarded faith as sub-rational, says C of E

The previous Labour Government tarred all faiths with the same brush in the wake of terrorist attacks by militant Islamist groups, the Church of England has said.

In strongly worded comments the Church said all faiths were viewed as “sub-rational” and any involvement in the public square was generally frowned upon.

It commented that the new coalition Government’s attitude to faith in society was “mixed”.


The observations came in a report, which focused on the Government’s Big Society plan, and was written by the Church of England’s Director of Mission and Public Affairs.

Revd Dr Malcolm Brown also wrote that, on the whole, politicians’ “policy and rhetoric” had not been “‘religiously literate'”.

But he did say that on the issue of faith schools there was a “more positive stance”.

He commented that politicians believed government’s task was to “contain, and mediate between, religious groups”.


Looking at the Coalition’s position on faith, the report highlighted comments by Communities Minister Eric Pickles who has said that the “days of the state trying to suppress Christianity and other faiths are over”.

But the report warned that “the mainstream view among LibDems (and perhaps among some Tories)” is one of suspicion of religion in the public square.

The Church report also said there was a third position, which is “present in all parties”, that values churches “but only in social roles”.

It continued to say that this position also “sees religion as a means to achieve political ends rather than an end in itself”.


In September Government Minister Baroness Warsi said the Coalition will “do God”, and hit out at the previous Labour Government for marginalising faith.

Later in September a Labour MP said his party should not treat people of faith as eccentrics or oddities as it may have done in the past.

Stephen Timms, the Labour Vice Chair for Faith Groups, said: “To demand that people leave their faith behind when they engage with politics would be absurd.”


In 2009 The Christian Institute released a report on the marginalisation of Christians in modern Britain.

Mike Judge, head of communications at The Christian Institute, criticised the “stream of equality and diversity laws” which have failed to reasonably accommodate the rights of religious believers.

He said: “Christians in particular feel like they have been pushed to the back of the queue.

“When it comes to applying equality and diversity laws, Christians seem to be the first to be punished and the last to be protected.”

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