Bishop of Rochester welcomes protective security funding for places of worship

17.10 RochesterOn 7th May 2019 Baroness Williams of Trafford repeated a Statement by the Home Secretary on protective security funding for places of worship. The Bishop of Rochester, Rt Revd James Langstaff, responded to the statement: 

The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I too am very grateful to the Minister for repeating the Statement from the other place. From these Benches, I welcome it and echo some of the things that have already been said by the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, and the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, not least about the wider context, although I recognise that this Statement has a limited focus.

The Minister has already observed the tragic events in Christchurch, Sri Lanka and San Diego. It seems to me that one of the learnings from those events is the impossibility of predicting where, or even when, a dreadful event might occur. With that in mind, I am particularly grateful for the broadening of the eligibility criteria in relation to potential grants from the fund, whereby it is now not necessary for places of worship to have experienced an incident of hate crime in order to make an application. That is an important loosening around the unpredictability of where things might occur.

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Bishop of Durham highlights the importance of religious literacy at all levels of government

14.06.10 Bishop of Durham 5On the 18th January 2016 Baroness Butler-Sloss asked the Government, on behalf of Lord Harries of Pentregarth, “what is their response to the report of the Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life Living with Difference published on 7 December”. Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, asked a supplementary question.  Continue reading “Bishop of Durham highlights the importance of religious literacy at all levels of government”

Lords Debate on Religion and Belief in British Public Life

A full transcript of the House of Lords debate on Religion and Belief in British Public Life, which took place on 27th November 2014, is below.
A video of the debate can also be watched on the UK Parliament website, here.
The speeches made by the Bishops of Norwich and Birmingham are also available on this website, here and here.
Motion to Take Note
11.53 am
Moved by Lord Harries of Pentregarth
That this House takes note of the role of religion and belief in British public life.

Red Benches

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Bishop of Birmingham speaks of shared values of religious and non-religious

“I celebrate today the contribution of humanists and atheists to the common good. I revel in our common humanity, our shared commitment to society and the gift of friendship.”

On 25th July 2013,  Lord Harrison led a debate in the House of Lords to take note of the contribution of atheists and humanists to United Kingdom society. The Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, welcomed the debate and the contribution of humanists and aetheists to the common good. He hoped that the debate would challenge intolerant tribalism and noted that people of faith, atheists and humanists had in common a desire to explore profound questions about life.

01.04.14 Bishop of BirminghamThe Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, while I am still privileged to occupy the Bench of the Lords spiritual on behalf of the nation, I am delighted to say that the debate today is most welcome and I am honoured to follow the previous three speakers. They have given us the opportunity to hear the great deal of good that can and should be recognised, wherever we find it, whether in philosophy—the noble Baroness, Lady Whitaker, reminded us of the great traditions of humanist philosophy—or in science. I note the point of the noble Baroness, Lady Meacher, about the very serious business of assisted dying; I am sure that we will work hard on that together to get it right.

There is also the wonderful good that comes from humanists or atheists ringing bells. So often in society we appear to be motivated simply by our own interests, with the consequence that acknowledging good in others is interpreted simply as disloyalty to one’s tribe. Within the church, we are not immune to this problem. None the less, the Christian tradition points to the wider generosity; when Jesus was asked for an example of neighbourliness, he told a story about the Samaritan and not a good religious Jew, such as himself. I hope that, among many other themes, this debate will challenge intolerant tribalism in all walks of life wherever we find it. Continue reading “Bishop of Birmingham speaks of shared values of religious and non-religious”