Much has been made here in the States in efforts to get "In God We Trust" off of currency (to much opposition) and remove religeous symbols from public venues. I highly respect europe in it's more seculer and well 'logical' approach. However, god is in the U.K. National Anthem and the Monarch holds a hereditary hounarable title as "Head Of The Church Of England".I'm curius as to how my fellow U.K bretheren take to this?
I understand the U.K. is considerably less religeous than the U.S. (isn't saying much) but how do you folks take to this? Personally I could care less if my currency says "In God We Trust" and I don't care if I'm slapped in the face with a cross every 10 miles driving.
Appreciate any feed back!
Most people regard the national anthem as a rather dreary dirge, I think, and pay little attention to the words. "Land of Hope and Glory" is a bit more inspiring and very popular at "Last Night of the Proms" performances! The UK is way less religious than here. Any politician so much as mentioning god in an election speech is on dangerous territory and likely to lose, and the Conservative party in the UK is nothing like as right wing as the Repubicans currently seem to be here. The Protestant Church in England was founded by Henry VIII so the monarch has held the title of head of it since then. the C of E is generally a very moderate institution, and has ordained women and gay priests for some time now. Most people are, to quote Dawkins, "cultural Anglicans" and pay lip service to it bu really don't have it central to their lives.
Also should be noted, I "tolerate" it because I'm used to it and isn't any more offensive to me than a McDonald's add.
What bothers me is that America is not a theocracy, but there are Christians with that very agenda in mind. This is a "secular" nation that unfortunately is populated by a majority of Christians who fail to understand that the establishment clause in our constitution was there to protect them as much as anyone else. Yet they have sought, and achieved, these small changes to edge closer to what they believe to be a Christian nation.
Is it a huge deal that our money reads "In God We Trust"? Not in itself, but it is a step down a path that takes us backwards in ideals, for a belief system that encourages inequality and bigotry. That is not the America I want for me or my children. We should be moving forward as a country. When the Catholic Knights persuaded the powers that be in 1957 to replace "E pluribus unum" with "In God We Trust" they, in my opinion, took a little shit on the constitution. Playing off the fears of a godless communism movement.
Every little "In God We Trust" step we take is further away from the republic our founding fathers established for us and one step backwards to the theocratic government they fled and fought to be rid of.
Hi. I am not too worried about this - I am not really concerned about culturally historical Christianity. The fact that our history as a nation has been so intertwined with Christianity makes it very hard to separate. I am actually in favour of preserving our history, our nonsensical monarchy and aristocracy, our medieval churches and cathedrals, our hymns, music, poetry, books - all bound up in monarchy and church. I would simply like to see the church reduced to having the same amount of power as the monarchy - none at all. Sentimentality and culture and history - no real relevence to today. Christianity has caused some major bloodshed, misery and oppression here as everywhere and should not have any power but the music, the buildings, poetry and art inspired by Christian devotion etc are beautiful and part of our history and culture.
The real problem we have with Christianity over here is all to do with the power of the church - we have 26 unelected bishops in the House of Lords - this affects policy. We have compulsory Christian worship in schools (compulsory for the schools - parents can remove kids but then they cannot be in any shows or concerts or take part in anything else which happen during assemblies) Our Prime Minister has just said that we are a Christian country and should not be afraid to say so despite the fact that less than 15% of Britons are practicing Christians (go to church) He said that we need some standards of morality that Christianity supplies and mentioned the riots. I sent him some quotes of the Christian God's positive stance of rioting - to do this biblically rioters should really have killed all men and non-virgin women, kept the virgins as sex slaves and bashed babies' brains out on rocks. I also sent him statistics relating crime to religiosity on a global scale - it is quite damning - the more Christians there are in a country, the higher the murder rate and crime rate generally. I have had no response.
It is very strange that you, in the US who have a constitution which supposedly guarantees religious freedom and a secular state have a powerful and dominant culture of Christianity - 80% Christians - all sorts of social problems due to this - poor sex education leading to increased teenage pregnancy among Christians, high divorce rates among Christians probably because they have not had sex before marriage and married too soon and mistook sexual attraction for love, 1% of your population in prison and mostly christians, a lack of understanding re evolution, big bang, abiogenesis among Christians, a suspicion of science - people like Pat Robertson and Rick Santorum getting millions of supporters. We, with an official religion which affects government and education are much more secular in reality - if someone mentions god over here, people look embarrassed and change the subject.
Because of this we are able to see our Christian cultural heritage as quite benign - the church bells, the vicar on his bicycle, harvest festival and cute 5 year olds with tea towels on their heads playing the wise men in the nativity play. Church of England Christianity is quite apathetic really but American fundamentalism is scary. Few of us are bothered by God Save the Queen whilst for you - In God we Trust is a warning which cannot be ignored. This started in 1864 - way after the founding of America as a secular nation. Europe was very concerned about your godlessness at the time! We have become more and more secular whilst you have become more and more Christian and I think American atheists are quite right to protest the writing on the money and the banners in schools and the nativity scenes in public. I wouldn't give them an inch!
Yeah I'm all for that as well even here, I just wish it could be more "benign" as you eloquently said.
I appreciate history very much but it is like america is stuck in it's college years as the rest of it's friends have jobs.
college years? In this sense I'd say you're being generous. lol
The 80% Christians is unfortunate, but thankfully a shrinking percentage. I am gladdened at the thought of the 20% non-religious demographic is a step forward from 20yrs ago (10-15% I think). I hope for the day when America as a culture looks upon a candidate and doesn't know his/her religious affiliation because it is (as it should be) a non sequitur.
I think Helen states it perfectly.
For all that religion and particularly the Church of England is ingrained into the whole of our society it is largely irrelevant to most.
I sing the National Anthem if it is played at a sporting event but it would have to be one involving some version of the national team for that to happen. It is the only hymn I ever sing. Those that don’t sing usually remain silent as a result of republicanism rather than secularism.
In politics practically no candidates declare their faith while campaigning. To do so is more likely to draw ridicule rather than votes. In the last 20 years I have had five MPs over two constituencies. One was an affirmed Humanist and one declared themselves agnostic. The other three never seemed to have given any indication about their faith.. One does have links to a church charity but not necessarily the church while another has interests that suggest a secular outlook. The last does take an interest in Islam and the middle-east but only, I believe, from a political perspective.
The reaction that Nadine Dorries got from both her parliamentary colleagues and the wider press shows the British attitude to someone who is as close to the US political wingnut as we get over here. Of course we also have nationally elected representatives with a Muslim background even though those from that faith only represent a small proportion of any constituency. Those MPs seem particularly keen to make their representation inclusive as possible rather than gain capital from their roots.
Perhaps in some way the absence of faith is a reflection of a very liberal media with an intellectual base and parts that don’t pander to “filthy lucre”. Certainly unless you invest in an expensive radio or a multi-channel TV platform you won’t find any religious broadcasting. Yes you might get a hour of church karaoke interspersed with human interest stories or a few minutes on Radio 4 with a vague bloke in a dress musing about god being mysterious but that is about it.
We have an established church and religion is irrelevant to all but a small percentage of the population. In the US there is an established divide but the Christian religion pervades all of politics.
Please reannex it?
I'd be more irritated by having a monarch for God to save in the first place.
Ged rid of the queen, get rid of the silly saying.
For most in the UK, christianity is more like a nice social club. The days when, on hearing the national anthem, everyone stood to attention are long gone, in my opinion. I'd bet that most people in the UK don't even realize that the anthem has that line in it.
If you ever watch a UK sporting event, where they play the national anthem, it singing normally goes something along the lines of
"God save our <mumble> Queen,
God save our <mumble> Queen,
<mumble mumble mumble> QUEEN,
Send her <mumble mumble ....... mumble>
<mumble mumble> The Queen".
I cant wait until the secular/non-religious demographic here in the US reaches critical mass. It can't be soon enough.
I wait with bated breath when the god of Abraham falls into place with the other gods of antiquity...the latest manual for the game Dungeons & Dragons. In the meanwhile I will do what I can to educate those in my circles of influence to critical thinking and spread that circle as best I can, in a positive manner (When I can help it...LOL).