Monday, August 11, 2014

Mr Pickles takes the helm

After the resignation of Baroness Warsi as faith minister, Prime Minister David Cameron has handed her role to Eric Pickles, who will fill the faith brief in addition to his job as Communities Secretary.

A couple of years ago, after the National Secular Society obtained a High Court decision banning councils having prayers to open council meetings, Mr Pickles fast-tracked laws to override the decision. "The Government recognises and respects the role that faith communities play in our society," he said.

He complained in a speech last year: "In recent years long-standing British liberties of freedom of religion have been undermined by the intolerance of aggressive secularism."

And in April this year he told the Conservative Forum: "I've stopped an attempt by militant atheists to ban councils having prayers at the start of meetings if they wish. Heaven forbid. We're a Christian nation. We have an established church. Get over it. And don't impose your politically correct intolerance on others."

He explained: "The Government has backed British values. And we've stopped Whitehall appeasing extremism of any sort. Be it the EDL, be it extreme Islamists or be it thuggish far-left, they're all as bad as each other."

Says the New Statesman: "Eric Pickles's appointment as Faith Minister is bad news for secularists."

And in a blog post about the appointment, Stephen Evans, campaign manager for the National Secular Society, asks: "Rather than a 'minister for faith,' perhaps we need a minister for freedom of belief?"

Critics complain that Baroness Warsi produced nothing but words. So will Eric Pickles do a better job as faith minister?

Time will tell.

But if his appointment causes the secular humanists to draw in their horns a little, that can't be a bad thing, can it?

No comments: