According to the latest census figure, 72% of people in Britain claim connection to some Christian church. Of course, in Britain we all understand that any church connection for most people is extremely tenuous. Church is for weddings and funerals. The more religious may turn out for a Christmas service or an Easter service. But that's about the extent of most people's church connection. Still, 72% claimed a church connection.
Enter the United Nations. The U.N. has issued a report on religion in the United Kingdom, the work of Asma Jahangir, the UN special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. A Pakistani woman who has herself been subjected to house arrest in her native country, Jahangir claims that 66% of Britons claim no religion, no matter what they wrote on their census returns. On that basis she calls for radical changes in British constitutional law with the disestablishment of the Church of England. Basically what she says is that the Church of England no longer represents the majority of the British people, does not reflect the distribution of professing Christians over a number of denominations and so should not enjoy the special privileges of being the State Church.
There may be a lot of truth in her assertions. However, I think that it is outrageous for the United Nations to go into Britain and take it on itself to lecture the nation on its constitution. Jahangir appears to be arguing for the rights of the majority of the people to be free from religion. She asserts that most claim no religion. She makes the same mistake that many foreigners do when confronted with the enigma of the British people. That's nothing new. Hitler didn't understand them. They seemed to docile and unwarlike but, as he found out, they can be the most dauntless and immovable people on earth when the need arises. Ms Jahangir doesn't understand them any better. They may "claim" no religion. They are admittedly an irreligious bunch. But if they had wanted so badly to be free from religion and change the British constitution they were perfectly capable of stating on their census forms that they claimed no religion. In other words, we don't need the U.N. agitating for constitutional change in the U.K. To put it bluntly, it's none of their business.
So why would they make it their business? The report leaves us in no doubt. Ms Jahangir wants Britain to treat its Muslim population differently. She doesn't say whether she thinks that Muslims would fare better if there were no State Church that, however apostate was professedly Christian. But that is the implication of her report. Admitting that there is no evidence of institutional discrimination, she criticizes the country for subjecting Asians to questioning more than indigenous Britons in the wake of terrorist attacks carried out by Asian Muslims. And she finds fault with anti-terrorist laws for being too vague in criminalizing support for and celebration of terrorists.
The report is mostly a charade. Perhaps the U.N. should send Ms Jahangir to Saudi Arabia or some such Muslim country and call for them to change their constitution and to quit their open persecution of minorities, especially religious minorities. Of course, the U.N. knows that while she will gain a polite hearing in the U.K. she would be fortunate to escape with her life in such places.Meanwhile we have to deal with the millions of unchurched people in Britain. There is a vast mission field, a challenge to us to take the gospel to them and see them saved.