Sunday, 11 May 2014

Christian Country II

Apropos of my post of a few weeks ago regarding Cameron's claim that we are a Christian country, I found the following quote from Lord Justice Munby regarding Christianity and the law, which many are of the opinion is based on Christianity:

"Although historically this country is part of the Christian west, and although it has an established church which is Christian, there have been enormous changes in the social and religious life of our country over the last century. Our society is now pluralistic and largely secular. But one aspect of its pluralism is that we also now live in a multi-cultural community of many faiths. One of the paradoxes of our lives is that we live in a society which has at one and the same time become both increasingly secular but also increasingly diverse in religious affiliation. 

"We sit as secular judges serving a multi-cultural community of many faiths. We are sworn (we quote the judicial oath) to "do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of this realm, without fear or favour, affection or ill will." But the laws and usages of the realm do not include Christianity, in whatever form. The aphorism that 'Christianity is part of the common law of England' is mere rhetoric; at least since the decision of the House of Lords in Bowman v Secular Society Limited [1917] AC 406 it has been impossible to contend that it is law."

Indeed, I would say that a lot of the legal changes over the last few decades  have been aimed at righting the wrongs caused by the church's influence. To quote Bertrand Russell: "I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world."

If one looks at the Ten Commandments, you can only award 3 points out of 10 for aspects of the Big 10 that have any relationship with our legal system - and even then they are the mark of any civilisation, Christian or pagan.

Let's, on Sunday, look at the 10.

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me (not codified in UK Law).
  2. You shall not make idols (not codified in UK law).
  3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain (no longer codified in UK law).
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy (no longer codified in UK law).
  5. Honor your father and your mother (not codified in UK Law).
  6. You shall not murder (award 1 point).
  7. You shall not commit adultery (not codified in UK Law).
  8. You shall not steal (award 1 point).
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour (award 1 point).
  10. You shall not covet (not codified in UK Law).

3/10 is hardly a compelling argument that our law is based on the Bible.

OK, you could move to Leviticus, but there's hardly anything in there pertaining to English common or civil law either. It's mainly concerned with dietary rules, ritual, sacrifice and how to treat your slaves - oh, and homosexuality, the law against which was repealed.

1 comment:

  1. This is probably one of the best pieces that you have written