Bishops, rabbis and morality

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From Sir Fred Catherwood

Sir: Andrew Marr is the country's best political commentator, wise, knowledgeable, and instinctively right on all the main issues; but religion seems to be out of his field ("Enter priestly men, to fill our moral void", 7 March). His conclusion seems to be that the nation's moral standards are too important to be left to bishops and rabbis and that these big choices should be made by political leaders. But the hard fought tradition in this country is that church and state should be kept separate; rulers are there to tell us what is legal and illegal, but that they should not be allowed to impose their view of what is right and wrong; for if they do, they will use it to their own advantage.

If secular humanism, which is the belief of our ruling classes, tells us all that there is no life after death, that all we will ever have is what we have now and that there is no final judgement to catch up with us; then, logically, we are tempted to grab what we can while we can, however we can and hold on to it hard. That is the materialism which we now see even in formerly honest and trustworthy sections of society. And we are now beginning to tot up the cost of the permissive society since the Sixties.

Visiting city after city as President of the Evangelical Alliance, to encourage our churches to network and organise the work of social relief, I am appalled at the rate of social deterioration. It may be that "two millennia of superstition got gubbed", but though secular humanism can bring down the moral pillars of society, it cannot rebuild them. Nor can the politicians. It is the churches alone which can give moral leadership and grassroots organisation.

Yours sincerely,

FRED CATHERWOOD

Cambridge

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