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Uthman
11-18-2009, 06:22 PM
Faith groups are to be given a central role in shaping government policies, a senior minister has vowed.

John Denham, the communities secretary, said the values of Christians, Muslims and other religions were essential in building a "progressive society".

He attacked secularists who have called for religion to be kept out of public life.

Mr Denham revealed that a new panel of religious experts has been set up to advise the Government on making public policy decisions.

The move has been criticised by secularists who warned that it represented a worrying development.

However, Mr Denham argued that Christians and Muslims can contribute significant insights on key issues, such as the economy, parenting and tackling climate change.

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, he admitted that the Government had failed to listen to these voices in the past, but is now determined to include them in the decision-making process.

"Anyone wanting to build a more progressive society would ignore the powerful role of faith at their peril," he said.

"We should continually seek ways of encouraging and enhancing the contribution faith communities make on the central issues of our time.

"Faith is a strong and powerful source of honesty, solidarity, generosity – the very values which are essential to politics, to our economy and our society."

The minister said that the Government needed to be educated by faith groups on "how to inform the rest of society about these issues".

Last year, the Church of England was highly critical of Labour, with bishops questioning the morality of its policies and accusing it of giving preferential treatment to the Muslim community.

Mr Denham said it was wrong to give special status to minority faiths, such as Islam, and stressed that faiths should not be free from criticism.

"I don't think you should have special treatment or special favours for any particular faith. I think the treatment, in terms of the ability to have robust debate or criticism of it, should be equal."

He added that he was sympathetic with religious leaders, such as Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who had complained of the rise of aggressive secularism in Britain.

"I don't like the strand of secularism that says that faith is inherently a bad thing to have and should be kept out of public life," Mr Denham said.

The religious panel is being launched this week to coincide with a series of interfaith initiatives designed to increase social cohesion.

It is being headed up by Francis Davis, a fellow of Blackfriars Hall, Oxford University, who is a prominent figure in the Catholic Church.

Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, criticised the Government's move.

"It's totally wrong to have faith groups as consultants," he said.

"It's not right that they should have this privileged position to promote their dogmas, many of which are unacceptable.

"We shouldn't have unelected people influencing decision making."

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Supreme
11-18-2009, 11:14 PM
Even though I personally support secularism, I welcome such an idea. The Government has a lot to learn from religion in today's society, and religion's grip is still a tight one.
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Pygoscelis
11-19-2009, 07:30 PM
Separation of church and state is important, to protect both the church and the state.
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aadil77
11-19-2009, 07:42 PM
Theres no harm in using faith in life, especially looking at how kids are growing up now a days in this country
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AlHoda
11-19-2009, 07:43 PM
Seperating church from state, but how is it going to affect muslims in the the area.
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Pygoscelis
11-20-2009, 01:21 AM
That is a valid concern.

To have freedom of religion you need freedom from the other guy's religion. And if "faith groups" ever start making policy (not what they are doing here exactly but heading in that direction) you just may have your religious views forced out due to it clashing with the majority's.
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Eric H
11-20-2009, 07:52 AM
Greetings and peace be with you Pygoscelis;

Originally Posted by Pygoscelis
That is a valid concern.

To have freedom of religion you need freedom from the other guy's religion. And if "faith groups" ever start making policy (not what they are doing here exactly but heading in that direction) you just may have your religious views forced out due to it clashing with the majority's.
I kind of agree, that we should not have a Christian or Muslim government, but there is still a need to search for God.

William Wilberforce battled for about twenty years in parliament, for the abolition of slavery, and lost each time. That is until he came up with this reply. At some point we shall all have to stand before God, how are you going to justify your stance on slavery. There was a complete U turn and he won with a landslide victory.

I believe most religions look on marriage as a sacred institution, not to be taken lightly, until death us do part. Husbands and wives should love each other as they love themselves.

Government policies seem to ignore this, they treat all kind of partnerships with the same equality, and they seem to overlook policies that encourage stability. We now have about forty percent of children from broken homes.

In the spirit of searching for God

Eric
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Amadeus85
11-20-2009, 10:10 AM
Originally Posted by Pygoscelis
Separation of church and state is important, to protect both the church and the state.
Since the separation, both state and church were weakened in Europe. The Church and state shouldn't be seperated, but co-operate together. The Church and state are already two different bodies, they are not the same, but it is against common sense, against tradition and against traditional catholic teaching to seperate them from the work for common good.
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Pygoscelis
11-21-2009, 03:03 AM
Originally Posted by Eric H
Government policies seem to ignore this, they treat all kind of partnerships with the same equality, and they seem to overlook policies that encourage stability. We now have about forty percent of children from broken homes.
An interesting note - gay marriage would encourage stability. It always struck me as odd when I heard conservative folks complain about homosexuals and say they are promiscuous and then deny them the meaningful public declaration of monogamy we call marriage.
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Eric H
11-23-2009, 05:18 AM
Greetings and peace be with you Pygoscelis;

An interesting note - gay marriage would encourage stability. It always struck me as odd when I heard conservative folks complain about homosexuals and say they are promiscuous and then deny them the meaningful public declaration of monogamy we call marriage.
Faith in God should encourage us to search for a greatest good in all things, I cannot understand how Gay marriage can be considered a greatest good.

We also struggle with the commandment of loving our neighbours as we love ourselves, so how should we treat our gay neighbours living together?

In Britain, I think it is somewhere around forty percent of children, come from broken homes, this is tragic for the children. Government policies seem to have no affect, because in a way people can do as they please, and government policies do not seem to encourage straight marriage.

I really believe that governments need to change their policies, and faith groups should be involved.

In the spirit of praying for our leaders to have wisdom and to act wisely.

Eric
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