As a church we can't teach how bad sin is, to love your neighbour as yourself, to live in Jesus' example; then attach 10 asterisks at the bottom of the page with our 'terms and conditions'. I'm sick of feeling part of a faith that, in part, will charitably give with one hand and damage with the other. Its literal hypocrisy, and its nothing like the religion that I believe in...
Being a Christian doesn't dictate my political position in the way that you might stereotypically think. I don't believe in a theocracy! I am a liberal in my politics so naturally I'll vote differently from my colleagues in other parties. But it does shape what I get passionate about - housing for those in need, compassion and dignity for those claiming asylum, tackling poverty. What is more, realising that you are part of a religious (and political!) minority tends to heighten my liberal instincts to protect freedom of speech and association, and to defend those on the margins whose worth is undermined, ignored or misunderstood in a rush to appeal to the majority.
One of my earliest memories is as a 5 year old singing 'Hark the Harold Angels sing' during Christmas 1964. I sang 'Harold' partly because I'd never heard of a herald, but also because I thought it referred to Harold Wilson. With dad being a local councillor, and mum also politically active, names of political figures were regularly mentioned at home. ..
Equality is a human right that cannot be 'exempted away' - especially when this means providing cover for the multi-faithist ideology of a political class that is so much about faith and so little about basic human rights, including the right to practice one's religion without being subject to gender discrimination.
As a Christian I am always pleased when someone comes out of the closet and admits that they are a Christian, but it was with very mixed feelings that I read David Cameron's admission of faith. He seems rather muddled about what Christianity means and there are reasons to think that his declaration has a rather different motive.
It is this debate that secularists, both religious and otherwise, are fighting for. The movement doesn't aim to destroy or dismantle religion, but to create a society where no one group is granted special privilege or power. A society which ensures that all beliefs are protected and welcomed equally. But this debate can only be had once you stop using "secularism" as a slur.
With storms like Typhoon Haiyan becoming a scarily more frequent occurrence, we need a truly global movement of people from all backgrounds and walks of life who are wide awake to the reality of climate change. Mosques in the UK and further afield in Europe are getting ready to Green Up! and do their bit to reduce their carbon footprints.
One Sunday one of our merry band was having his regular bedside Mass with his priest and his Mum, when the priest asked us all to join with them. When we all refused the way the priest replied to us has stuck with me throughout my life. "Well if you don't believe then you deserve to be sick. God is punishing you all for your lack of faith".
Faith based societies at Universities have huge potential with their increasing number of members yet we have seen few actively engage with their students' unions... It is important to demonstrate to these societies that the union offers a lot more than generic advice and can help empower them and their members by bringing the different societies onto one platform and opening up channels of communications between them.