Simon Barrow of Christian Think-Tank Ekklesia writes in the Guardian that the antagonism between organised religion and militant secularists is unproductive and excluding:
“Religion, identity and ethnicity are not singular and homogenous. They are varied and diverse. The problem comes when we adopt stances which suppress alternatives and enshrine negative ways of thinking.
This happens both when Richard Dawkins speaks about religion as a nasty virus to be eliminated, and when the Church of England talks as though our national freedom depended upon its franchise.
…if the vision of a fair, secular society is to be seen as other than the interest of the anti-religious, it must become more inviting to some who currently perceive it as a conspiracy among the chattering classes.
Secularity means worldly life, resourced in a variety of ways. This requires practices of “shared space”, an idea developed within ecumenical Christian theology and other streams of thought, both religious and non-religious.
The fact that secularity can be commonly owned from multiple perspectives shows why we have to stop regarding our different viewpoints as predominantly other-excluding. What we need is difference based on friendship. Then we can listen rather than just shout.”