Faith, fairness, and family

I'm not sure why Cardinal Keith O'Brien felt the need to go on the attack when a Labour politician made a constructive speech about faith and politics.  Jim Murphy MP, the Secretary of State for Scotland, gave an interesting speech this evening to an event organised by Progress.  I was there so I know that the tone of his remarks was constructive and that he was trying to open a dialogue.  He made the point that the majority of people have some sort of belief in God and that millions attend religious services.  They are also motivated to vote.  Labour should not ignore them, for a whole host of reasons.  He said too that Labour needs to highlight more the role that family plays in peoples lives.


Cardinal O'Brien welcomed the speech but suggested a 'tangible example' of how the government had recognised religious values would be welcome.  Well, I'm not sure what Bible the Cardinal is reading but mine has a lot in it about helping the poor and oppressed for example.  It says much about how we are equal before God.  Social justice; equality; these are some of the values that Labour has been putting into practice.  And as Jim Murphy pointed out, faith played a major role in the foundation of the Labour Party.


Beyond countering the Cardinal's general point, we should recognise that he is articulating some particular concerns that he has, and fair enough.  But that's why I think his intervention was too hasty.  For the speech he was attacking was focused on starting a dialogue and on listening to each other.



Stephen Beer, 23/02/2010

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