martes, 15 de diciembre de 2015
Britain in 2015 is, nevertheless, increasingly characterised I believe by a creeping intolerance towards Christianity, and towards religion more generally
Faith, Freedom and One Nation: the full text of Stephen Crabb’s Wilberforce address
By Stephen Crabb MP
"Britain in 2015 is, nevertheless, increasingly characterised I believe by a creeping intolerance towards Christianity, and towards religion more generally, which we should be deeply concerned about. There is a strain of hard-edged secularism at work which seeks to push faith entirely into the realms of the private and away from the public space. It is illiberal and is fundamentally at odds with the values we proclaim provide the foundation for a free and open society."
The Welsh Secretary delivered this address earlier this week at Westminster Cathedral Hall.
“I would like to start by thanking the Conservative Christian Fellowship for the kind invitation to deliver the 2015 Wilberforce Address this evening.
It is an honour to be asked to give this lecture which is named of course after one of our Party’s most important social reformers – a passionate and untiring campaigner, and someone who embodied the very spirit of Compassionate Conservativism.
William Wilberforce continues to fascinate and inspire in so many ways. His achievements and his importance within British politics and the Conservative Party are things we rightly continue to recognise and salute.
It is a particular privilege to address you in this the 25th anniversary year of the founding of the Conservative Christian Fellowship and I congratulate you on reaching this very significant milestone – a quarter of a century of bringing Christians together, from all backgrounds and denominations, in friendship and faith, to provide a forum of shared interest and identity within the Conservative Party.
Our values will overcome?
My theme this evening is Faith, Freedom and One Nation.
It brings together a number of thoughts which I have had for some time, but which have been sharpened by some of the challenging events we have seen in recent days. It is also quite timely given the issues raised yesterday in the report from the wonderfully Victorian-sounding Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life, which sought to address issues of community, diversity and the common good.
Among the reactions of anger, grief, fear and sorrow that came pouring out into public in the hours following the Paris attacks on the night of Friday 13th November, one of the most powerful was a declaration of solidarity and unity – linked to a declaration that our shared values are stronger than the bullets and suicide vests of those driven by the poison and rage of Islamist extremism – and that these shared values will ultimately prevail.
Millions of people took to social media to share this message. Many users of Twitter and Facebook changed their profile pictures to include a French flag to demonstrate their solidarity with the people of France who had been subjected to a second murderous assault in less than a year.
A few days, later one of our most prominent political commentators, the BBC’s Andrew Neil, opened his programme ‘This Week’ with a blistering critique of the terrorists and a powerful statement of where the balance of history lies:
“Well, I can’t say I fancy their chances…. the outcome is pretty clear to everybody … Whatever atrocities you are currently capable of committing, you will lose. In a thousand years’ time, Paris, that glorious city of lights, will still be shining bright as will every other city like it. While you will be as dust”.
The assertion and underlying assumption here is that our values, our traditions of free speech, tolerance, our essential freedoms which allow lovers to dance together on a Friday night in Paris, families to eat and laugh together in restaurants, artists to paint mocking cartoons of political and religious figures… the assertion is that this type of society – this civilization – will endure in the face of a unprecedented wave of terror generated by the modern day phenomenon of global jihadism.
But how safe is this assumption that the victory of our values over the forces of hate and intolerance is self-evident and inevitable?
I think it is worth asking the question.
But to ask the question properly requires an understanding of what values exactly do we believe constitute the core freedoms that we cherish. I call these our ‘freedom values’.
One of the responses from governments to the Paris attacks has been an immediate increase in security activity and cooperation – within our own shores and across Europe, and also following the vote last Wednesday the projection of force into Syria where much of the terror is inspired and coordinated.
But alongside this, I argue, is a need to reassess and reassert our fundamental freedom values.
I believe an essential part of our armoury in the fight against ISIS/Daesh and their ideology – as with every other previous fascist threat – will be our clarity and strength of purpose when it comes to our own values, our own beliefs.
Because in the same way that jihadist militant groups take advantage of the ungoverned and bombed out spaces of cities and towns wracked by civil war, so they smell opportunity in what they see as societies whose values and core unifying beliefs have been hollowed-out or are contested. Hence one of the key objectives of their terror attacks in Europe is of course to sow those seeds of social, cultural and religious division.
Any failure on our part to articulate clearly our core values, or any lack of willingness in defending them in a muscular and committed way within our own shores, is proof, so they believe, of our decadence and the superiority of their twisted ideology and inevitability of their ultimate victory – in this life or whatever they consider comes next.
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