Do we need a Minister of faith

Sep 14, 2012

Discussion by: SomersetJohn
David Cameron has made Mrs Warsi the minister for faith (and communities) in his reshuffle. Does this role have any place in our government, and even if the answer is yes (really?) is Warsi the right person for the job?

31 comments on “Do we need a Minister of faith

  • 1
    LJofSpades says:

    It depends on what the role entails in practice. The fact is that there are “people of faith” and they make up a significant percentage (if not a majority?) of the UK populace, so I think there is some basis for this to be reflected in the government set-up, in some way.

    But what’s the purpose? If it’s just to pander to the religious’ (particularly Muslims) reactionary taking of offence at every juncture then forget it. If it’s to actually affect change within these communities – i.e. integrating them better into society and keeping them in check – then, MAYBE, there MIGHT be room for such a position. With Warsi, it seems like the former is likely to be closer to the truth; in which case, forget it.

    I think I’m being far too accommodating and, truth be told, intuitively, it just seems pointless to me. If the religious want to make their own little community, where they discuss and debate issues, let them get on with it (as if they could ever agree with each other!) – but it’s difficult for me to see any proper purpose for a government position specifically for them.

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  • 2
    sunbeamforjeebus says:

    This is just another example of the spinelessness of Cameron.He appointed and enobled this nobody as a token woman/black/muslim to make the tories look inclusive and to try to garner the Asian vote.It has grossly backfired on him and now he is stuck with her.Even so, to actually create the post of minister of faith is a step too far even for him.What is this woman to do on a daily basis i would like to know ?

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  • No we don’t need a minister of faith. There is way too much government already – get rid of her and her department. That’s a few million £s saved.

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  • It does all sound a lot like Harry Potter, the exaggerated incompetence of the Ministry of (whatever).  I hope she doesn’t take her job too seriously or the whole country is in trouble.  Tax breaks for church attendance or attending community meetings?  Brain-numbing cricket matches on the green?  Flower-arranging committees?

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  • It’s interesting that while the UK is a significantly more secular society than the United States, you have a Minister of Faith. This would be unthinkable in the US.

    Answering your question; NO is my answer. No secular system of government should recognize let alone have ministers of faith.

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  •  That’s all very well, but in reality the constitutional separation of church and state in the USA is largely ignored. If Romney is elected, you’ll have a whole Ministry of Faith!

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  • 9
    Alan4discussion says:

    He really could not have picked a better “foot-in-mouth” comedienne for the job!

    I wonder if she will now dress in accordance with the customs or her “faith”, or if she will adopt western dress to pander to the Xtians!



    Answering your question; NO is my answer. No secular system of government should recognize let alone have ministers of faith.

    The UK already has CofE bishops in the upper house, (the reform of which is currently being hotly disputed).

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  • 10
    inquisador says:

    A  Ministry of Muslim Outrage could be useful right now.

    She could organise a place full of icons and representations of hated western beliefs, like free speech, democracy, liberated women, liberated men, liberated children, films of allah and his prophet etc.; then surround them all with a walkway broad enough to accommodate the muslim multitudes, who would then stone them all.

    Just like they stone the devil in Mecca.… 

    Just a thought. Too sick? Probably.

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  • 13
    logicophilosophicus says:

    Could be worse. If we had Proportional Representation (which UK and USA have managed to avoid) then I guess that maybe 10% of representatives (+/- 10%, just to cover my rear) would be elected on sectarian lines. Then the-big-but-no-chance-of-an-over-all-majority parties would have to do deals with the lost tribes. I’d rather see a few funny hats in the House of Lords, including Sayeeda Warsi’s conveniently occasional ethnic garb.

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  • 14
    ufischer says:

     Cameron already has a Minister of Magic since he appointed a homeopathy believer as minister of “Health”  (quotations needed since now it is also the ministry of SCAM).

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  • 15
    Rocky Damson says:

    I think Cameron was trying to find a job for a discredited minister who was brought into politics to make up the numbers rather than do anything useful. Hmm that could be said for the entire cabinet couldn’t it?

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  • 16
    Jonathan Dore says:

     That’s surely it: an entirely on-the-hoof decision, once it had been pointed out to Cameron that his reshuffle had, embarrassingly for his government, just removed the only women and the only non-whites from the cabinet. Hey presto, a couple of days later, this “minister for faith” position suddenly emerges as a sop to Warsi, who despite her public record of idiotic remarks just ticks too many boxes to be left out of the cabinet: female, black, religious, and specifically Muslim. By giving her a job, Cameron quite cynically regards all those constituencies as being dealt with and brought onside, even if it means creating a temporary bogus job for her  —  and temporary I confidently predict it will be. Why? Because while she may be a minister, she has no ministry. There’s no such entity as a “Department of Faith” in the UK, thank God.

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  • 18
    Neal O'Kelly says:

    In all fairness, she’s neen appointed as the minister FOR faith, not the minister OF faith.  Yes, we need one.  We, here, al know that the sky-fairy doesn’t exist – but it would be foolish to ignore the fact that some aren’t as enlightened as us.  Appointing someone to manage the relationship between government and those communities seems sensible to me.  Her?  Er,… no coment…

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  • 19
    SaganTheCat says:

    clearly Warsi has some incriminating photos of DC or something since she is clearly such an utter waste of public money that a surely even an incompetent populist mediocrity such as our esteemed prime minister must have been racking his brain for some time trying to keep her happy with the least impact on running the country.

    for that reason I accept that if this unelected daily mail mouthpiece needs to be given a ministerial job at the expense of UK taxpayers, the “minister for things people beleive are really there” is possibly the best role for her.

    it will be interesting to see what this office invovles. i suspect Cameron sees it as a meaningless assignment that saves him having to deal with angry men in dresses while Warsi sees herself as some sort of hero for the working class bigot but in reality.

    This means every time there’s something outrageous done either in the name of or under the protection of religion, we all have a scapegoat to demand answers from. we can all aske what is she going to do about the people who sully the pure and clean reputation of christianity, islam, judaism etc, we can demand she does something about it that is both acceptable in the teachings of the religion, and within the law of hte land.

    This appointment is steeped in irony. the woman speaks out against secularism is about to get a crash course in it

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  • It’s politics..They will say anything to look good. Truth is that peoples faith is peculiar to their own ideas of where their soul is destined. It is not for politics to seek to represent something so personal. I certainly feel uneasy about state a religion building bridges. Too many of my secular free thinking ancestors have died at the hands of religion and politics mixed.

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  • 21
    papa lazaru says:

    Hell, no. Separation of Church and State and all that. Oh, wait…

    Ah well, throw in a Minister of Political Correctness, A Minister of Silly Walks, and we’re square.

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  • 23
    ShadowMind says:

    All this “minister for some sub-group or other” – why not have a minister (or more than 1) for people? Instead of separate ministers for women, children, seniors, religions of one sort or another, etc, etc. I’m a member of the most ignored sub-group – employed single white male.

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  •  Ceva,

    Let’s just say that our Constitution continues to be a work in progress. By the way, we already had a Minister of Faith in Bush II. With Romney I,  He would be “His Most Excellency The Emperor of the Planet Kolob” and President of the United States.

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  • 25
    Stephen of Wimbledon says:

    To keep this short:

    2. Yes, if there has to be such a Minister, then Warsi seems well suited. Please note that this opinion is in no way connected to my being anti-theist, or with Warsi’s, er, effectiveness as former Party Chairman.

    1. To the best of my knowledge no case was made for the creation of this post. What does she do? What are her Britain-wide and foreign policy objectives?

    The fact that her role includes Foreign Office responsibilities, human rights (!) and chatting, at length, to religious leaders is probably a bad sign …

    Pass the scrumpy.


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  •  I can see your effort to be patient and polite but there is also a large portion of the population who drink, smoke and take drugs on a regular basis but I think a minister for piss artists seems a stretch (though I would prefer it!). The government is there to run the country not listen to fairy tales or comfort and accomodate those who tell them. The only responsibility they have to people of faith is to make sure they are not discriminated for being so.

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  • 28
    Alan4discussion says:

    It depends on what the role entails in practice. The fact is that there are “people of faith” and they make up a significant percentage (if not a majority?) of the UK populace, so I think there is some basis for this to be reflected in the government set-up, in some way.

    …    ” if not a majority?”   …  Let’s not confuse theist fanciful thinking with data!

    In a 2006 Guardian/ICM poll:

    63% of people say they are not religious (compared to 33% that do)

    82% of those questioned see religion as a cause of division and tension between people

    Only 17% of those polled believe the UK is best described as a Christian country

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  • 29
    Dawkin's Goddess says:

    In the so called civilised world, the government have to be seen to be paying lip service to minor fora and quora.  This role does not (really) have a place in our government but it will appease minority groups; so its role will not have much visible impact on our day to day lives.  Live and let live.

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  • Yes/no, and no. IMHO, the minister should act secularly in all matters. It is probably impossible for a religious person like Baroness Warsi to be secular unless every decision and action is secular and transparent. Since no current government is totally secular and transparent, a religious minister of faith cannot be so monitored – so the minister of faith should be a ‘confessed’ atheist in order to usher in secularism into the government. A minister of faith is required to specifically identify, address and expel faith interests out of a secular government at least where they conflict, but David Cameron’s government is clearly against transparency and secularism, so there should be no minister of faith in his government. It’s up to us to vote him out, but often voting is a game of compromise?

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