Sunday, December 2, 2007

Christina Odone's Christmas reading

Channel 4 - News - Christina Odone's Christmas reading
Christina Odone presents her Christmas reading, rejected by the Royal Commonwealth Society as too religious.

The text of the speech deemed possibly offensive to those attending a Christmas Church service:

"I wonder what the Christian children at Portree Primary school in Skye would say about equal opportunities.

Their local authority had forced them to drop the word "lord" in the grace before meals, as it was deemed offensive.

I wonder what Shabina Begum would make of equal opportunities. She was the young Muslim girl who took her school to court when it banned her from wearing the veil.

And what of Nadia Eweida? Does she think this is a country of equal opportunities? She was the woman, you may remember, who learned the hard way that a Christian may not wear a crucifix when working for BA.

When it comes to expressing their faith, this country's believers have found that opportunities are blocked. Whether it is the boss at work or the head at school, the local authority or the chattering classes, people of faith know that their worldview is under siege, and their allegiances under suspicion.

To parade this allegiance by wearing a cross, a cap or a veil is red rag to the secularist bull. For these God-bashers, it doesn't matter if you belong to the Christian majority or the Sikh minority.

Their beef is with any belief system other than their own Godless one. For them, it is not enough to exclude those who do not subscribe to their soulless scientism or their one-dimensional rationalism. Pariah status is only the first step in the punishment they mete out to those who refuse to follow their lead. There is also mockery - in public as well as in private; and outright hostility.

But ultimately nothing short of censorship will do. Secularists may criticise religions as oppressive, dogmatic and self-righteous, but this is precisely how they themselves act. They have moved to introduce bans: wearing the hijab is forbidden, ditto the use of the word Christmas, ditto the cross, and countless other symbols of belief. And we have the atheists' Newspeak, a poisonous drip-drip that tries to brainwash us into seeing people of faith as idiots, despots, bigots.

What little opportunity believers have to bear witness to their faith is being quashed. If you are black or gay or female, your plea for equal opportunity is met with respect, and your campaign is applauded by supporters. But not if you are a believer.

In a culture increasingly hostile to God and his followers, expressions of faith have become taboo. The only opportuni

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