Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury and leader in the Anglican church, was asked in an interview this weekend whether Britain is a Christian nation (as Prime Minister David Cameron recently alleged).
Williams’ response was very revealing:
… Is Britain still a Christian country?
[Williams] ponders this for a moment, head on one side, eyes on the garden. The sound of the traffic presses in, before he speaks. “If I say that this is a post-Christian nation, that doesn’t mean necessarily non-Christian. It means the cultural memory is still quite strongly Christian. And in some ways, the cultural presence is still quite strongly Christian. But it is post-Christian in the sense that habitual practice for most of the population is not taken for granted.
No one’s doubting the influence of religion on the nation’s history, but good for Williams for acknowledging that it no longer has the power or prominence it once did. Much of what’s left is purely tradition.
If only the United States could get to that point… right now, we’re a shining example of what happens when religion runs amok. We have politicians in charge of science policy who don’t understand and reject basic science. We are in a constant struggle to obtain equal rights for people whose only “crime” is to have a different sexual orientation from the majority. We have women who can’t get proper medical care because those in charge think giving them too much control over their own bodies is somehow immoral. We have a culture that makes believing in God almost a prerequisite for getting elected to higher office.
And we have elected officials who claim we are and always have been a Christian nation.
You win this round, Britain.