Ok, count to 10..........no it's no good, I am furious with party vice chair Stephen Timms MP, because he speaks irritating, ignorant and insulting nonsense, and in the process has produced what I see as a disgraceful slur on the character of non-religious voters.
In a speech to Traidcraft - the Christian-based fair trade organisation Timms said:
“There is positive impact when people of faith are involved in the lives of their community, because these people bring valuable qualities in their service which are rare elsewhere and they are qualities modern Britain urgently needs,”
It's is hard to translate that this in any other way than a gross, and discriminatory, slight against the millions of British citizens who lead their lives, quite happily, without a religion. Of course, Timms was brown nosing to his audience, but that is no excuse for this US Republican style rhetoric.
What qualities Stephen, does someone who believes in
a faith the paranormal and follows religious rituals bring to a community that I as a Humanist, or the growing millions of other non-religious UK residents, do not?
Timms is saying that when I, as a non-believer, do voluntary work in my community, donate money to local causes, give time and support to local clubs and societies, when I join in and support progressive campaigns, it is of less value and "rarely" of the value of the very same activities undertaken by "people of faith". The contribution of the non-religious is not to be regarded as holding the same value as any contribution from believers. This is bare-faced discrimination against the non-religious and has no place coming from the lips of a representative of the modern Labour Party.
"We" atheists work in our millions across the public services, as nurses, teachers, as volunteers in local charities. But we don't put ourselves above other citizens when we do so. Stephen clearly thinks his Christianity makes him more valuable citizen than any Humanist. Shame on him.
The O Project agrees Timms has insulted the non-religious
"The point is if when speaking to a (thoroughly noble and admirable) Christian organisation he can generalise about them being a faith-based organisation why does he not generalise about them being a charitable organisation, a social-justice organisation or a part of civil society. Surely that would hardly be a slap in the face to them and wouldn’t take anything away from their amazing work.
But making faith-based organisations out to be a special case is an insult to those who “have a vision of a world freed from the scandal of poverty, where trade is just and people and communities can flourish” that is not based on belief in a God."
Stephen Timms needs to explain his remarks, he needs to apologise and publicly state that when a Christian and an atheist take part in their community their efforts are of equal worth. Timms holds a campaigning remit within the party's structure, insulting millions of voters in this way is some strange way of carrying out those duties.