Leading article: Faith and reason

Monday 08 December 2008 01:00

The Independent is a secular newspaper. And taking a secular view of the world does not mean being intolerant of those with religious faith. Religion still has a role in British society, and it is important not only that it should be understood, but that the different faiths and their adherents should be respected.

Among the arguments he makes in the article we print today, the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, notes that one effect of the privatisation of religious belief in recent years has been to diminish what he calls the social "oddness" of belonging to a particular denomination or faith. This has reduced discrimination and helped bring Catholics, among others, into the mainstream. That is all to the good. But the Cardinal also has a point when he warns that the "intolerance of liberal sceptics can be as repressive as the intolerance of religious believers". Indeed. Tolerance must be mutual if it is to be worthy of the name.

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