Monday 23 April 2007

Pots and kettles: it's the 'a' word again

Tom Horwood's' 'Face to faith' column in last Saturday's Guardian was refreshing in its call on 'faith communities' to be less defensive, and in the way it sought to take some of the heat out of the gay adoption argument. Criticising the 'new mood of defensiveness within faith communities', Horwood urges religious leaders to adopt instead a 'positive and constructive outlook' when they engage in public debate. But, for me, he spoils a generally level-headed contribution to the current debate about religion and public life with some needless swipes at secularists, who he says 'sometimes lazily fail to engage with a point of view simply because it is put forward by a believer' (not sure I've seen much evidence of that - pots and kettles and all that) and by referring to 'today's increasingly aggressive attacks on the role of religion in public life'. It's our old friend the 'a' word again, clearly the adjective of choice for pairing with 'secularism' as far as contemporary religious commentators are concerned, even the apparently 'sensible' ones (start here and work back through the links if you want to know why I find this usage so annoying).

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