Religion And Politics In England

by Andrew Sullivan

Matthew Bloch comments on British evangelicals:

While David Cameron has defied the evangelicals on a few issues – to his credit, he supports civil partnerships, for example – he is poised to deliver them the biggest gift they will have received in generations. He will provide state funding for any group of parents who want to set up a school and can attract pupils. We know from Sweden – where this idea was taken from – that one sector is always waiting with the willpower and the organisation and the disgust with the existing schools system: religious fundamentalists.

As the National Secular Society has shown, Cameron's proposals will cause an explosion in fundamentalist schools. This will, over time, subtly alter the shape of Britain. Far more kids will be taught that abortion is evil, homosexuality is sinful, and evolution didn't happen. (Gay kids are 10 per cent more likely to be attacked in faith schools, a Stonewall study found.) And the horrible effects caused by New Labour's expansion of faith schools will get even worse.

This reads like fear-mongering to me. Are religious schools really that scary? They've existed in Britain for a very long time, funded by the government. Douthat, links to a FT article on evangelical Tories and  is – surprise! – more sympathetic to "a distinctively Christian approach to right-of-center politics" in Britain and suggests that "there are ways in which American conservatives and social conservatives, obviously, in particular might profit from their example." Many leading Tories are worried about this– because with open primaries, religious fundamentalists might start infiltrating the right in Britain, rendering them unelectable and easily mockable in a still mercifully secular British polity.