Delia Smith and Melvyn Bragg launch assault on atheism

TV chef Delia Smith and prominent arts presenter Melvyn Bragg have both launched stinging attacks on atheism and secularism for trying to marginalise religion.

Delia Smith warned that “militant neo-Atheists and devout secularists” are attacking people of faith.

And Melvyn Bragg strongly criticised leading atheist Prof Richard Dawkins.


In his comments, for a programme on Sky TV, Lord Bragg said Prof Dawkins had recently thrown off his academic credentials in an “odd pursuit, particularly of Christianity”.

Lord Bragg also criticised a call from Alain de Botton for an ‘atheist temple’ in the City of London.

The presenter said that while he believed going to church was only a “tribal thing”, he commented: “I do believe there are things that I can’t know.

“I do believe that there are things beyond the human mind, and oddly enough, I respect those things and to cadge a lift on faith, for atheists, seems to me a bit of a last resort.”


In her comments Delia Smith, who is a Roman Catholic, warned of strident anti-religious activists “busting a gut” to drive people of faith “off the radar and try to convince us that we hardly exist”.

She made the remarks on her personal website as she encouraged readers to support a Roman Catholic charity during Lent.

The comments criticising secularism follow in the wake of a court case which attempted to ban the saying of prayers as a ‘formal’ part of local council meetings.


The National Secular Society won its case against Bideford Town Council after a High Court judge ruled saying prayers at the beginning of council meetings was unlawful.

However in the following days government minister Eric Pickles fast-tracked the commencement of new laws which overtook the court’s ruling and restored councils’ right to hold prayers if they wish to.

The move means all major local authorities in England can continue to hold prayers at formal meetings. For smaller councils, such as Bideford, this power is set to come into force by the end of this month.

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