Sheela-na-Gig aka Jeanne Rathbone

Baroness Warnock defends Christianity at secularism conference.

Posted in Baroness Mary Warnock, Defender of the faith, Secularism by sheelanagigcomedienne on September 12, 2011

Mary warnock was invited to speak at the National Secular Society conference on Secularism last Saturday 10th september 2011.

National Secular Society

Baroness Mary Warnock wrote the book Dishonest to God: On Keeping Religion out of Politics. So the Secular Society invited her to speak at the conference on Secularism.

Mary Warnock photographed by Des Willie

In an interview with Laurie Taylor in New Humanist in the September/October 2010 edition he writes: ‘She’s trained her no-nonsense approach on all those religious bodies and groups that seek to claim some special right to adjudicate upon the moral issues of the time. But although this takes up the bulk of the volume she also appends a chapter in which she argues for the significance and importance of religion and religious thinking in everyday life. I begin the interview by suggesting to her that in this latter respect her book is intended as an antidote to the writings of the so-called New Atheists.

“That’s absolutely right. I find Dawkins’ simple-minded view of religion very difficult to take. It pays no proper attention to the history and tradition of religion. It says that religions have done nothing but harm but that is manifestly not true. He omits all the good things, the education, the cathedrals, the music. All that’s disregarded.”

She came along to the  conference on Secularism to again propound her position as she defended the Church of England and its privileged role in England against those of us who believe that church and state should be separated. She seemed to be trying to usurp the Queen as ‘defender of the faith’. The churches , the cathedrals, the music, the ritual and memorial services are so wonderful and part of our culture and that therefore she disagreed with us on our pursuit of secualism. I heard moans and groans about me as she went on and on about religious music. She especially mentioned the effect that the St. Matthew Passion had on her. Of course, I think that the sado/masochistic account at the heart of Christianity is pornographic and is misnamed – passion it ain’t .  One questioner remarked that he thought he had come to the wrong meeting and another asked Mary Warnock if she had ever been to a Humanist ceremony. She admittted that she hadn’t.  So, she was telling a bunch of atheist/secularist/humanists that the Church does ritual better even though she has not even experienced a humanist ceremony. It reminded me of another Mary – Mary Whitehouse.

I felt that she displayed the arrogance common to C of E atheists who have had a private/grammar school/Oxbridge educational experience as they defend it and its superiority to other religions.

However, as a woman I know how important it is to hear from women in academia as science and philosphy are so dominated by men. I do get so pissed of with them being trotted out all the time. From the  Unholy Trinity of Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris

The Irrational Atheist: Dissecting the Unholy Trinity of Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens

The Irrational Atheist: Dissecting the Unholy Trinity of Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens

to the FOUR HORSEMEN with an added Dennett


4H Cover

I was pleased that we had Mary Warnock at the conference as well as Sue Cox who is co-founder of Survivors Voice Europe, Anne Marie Waters, spokesperson One Law for All and Baroness Turner of Camden.  Last year at the Protest the Pope meeting in Conway Hall it was an all male platform of speakers.  They definitely have done better this year. Well done to Gerard and the team for a stimulating conference, especially the comedy turn to finish by Dr. Edward Presswood.

2 Responses

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  1. Gerard said, on September 13, 2011 at 8:35 am

    Thank you for this review of the NSS Conference on Saturday. From the feedback I’ve had directly, many people found it a a stimulating and energising day. The people I talked with afterward were highly motivated to promote secularism and challenge the presumptions and power of religions in the UK.

    Gerard Phillips (NSS Vice President and conference organiser)

  2. Bryan Augarde said, on September 16, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Yes, it was a great conference, most enjoyable and informative well done NSS. I am just reading Mary Warnock’s book ‘Dishonest to God’ but I am puzzled as to whether I was listening to a traditionalist in radicals clothing or a radical in traditionalists clothing. I am a great music fan but unlike her I do have problems with the St.Matthew’s Passion because I cannot get the message out of my head beautiful though the music be. Bach did write secular music which I find enjoyable. My preference is for opera, an enlightenment art form full of propaganda against the social mores of its times. Beethoven, Mozart and Wagner were all such rebels in their own way hurrying on the enlightenment. Darwinner1809.


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