Skip to comments.Christmas should be 'downgraded', says Labour's favourite think tank (U.K.)
Posted on 10/31/2007 3:00:51 PM PDT by Stoat
National celebration: But could Christmas soon be 'downgraded'?
Britain is no longer a Christian nation and Christmas should be downgraded in favour of festivals from other religions to improve race relations, according to an explosive new report.
Labour's favourite think tank says that because it would be hard to 'expunge' Christmas from the national calendar, 'even-handedness' means public organisations must start giving other religions equal footing.
The leaked findings of its investigation into identity, citizenship and community cohesion, seen by the Daily Mail, triggered a storm of protest.
Other controversial measures it proposes include:
New 'birth ceremonies', at which the state and parents agree to 'work in partnership' to bring up newborns
Action to 'ensure access' for ethnic minorities to the 'largely white' British countryside
An overhaul of Britain's 'imperial' honours system
Bishops being thrown out of the House of Lords
An end to 'sectarian' religious education in schools
Encouraging people to fly flags other than the Union Jack
The report has been prepared by the Institute for Public Policy Research, which has close ties to Labour and has shaped many of its key policies, including ID cards, bin taxes and road pricing.
It was commissioned when Nick Pearce, now head of public policy at Downing Street, was its director, and its publication delayed several times.
The report robustly defends the doctrine of multiculturalism - the idea that different communities should not be forced to integrate but should be allowed to maintain their own culture and identities - which has been widely criticised in recent months.
It insists there is no 'evidence to support the claim that multiculturalist policies lead to fragmented communities'.
It says immigrants should be required to acquire some proficiency in the English language and other aspects of British culture 'if - but only if - the settled population is willing to open up national institutions and practices to newcomers and give a more inclusive cast to national narratives and symbols'.
'Even-handedness dictates that we provide public recognition to minority cultures and traditions,' the report goes on.
'If we are going to continue as a nation to mark Christmas - and it would be very hard to expunge it from our national life even if we wanted to - then public organisations should mark other religious festivals too.
'We can no longer define ourselves as a Christian nation, nor an especially religious one in any sense. The empire is gone, church attendance is at historically low levels, and the Second World War is inexorably slipping from memory.'
The report, written by IPPR advisers Ben Rogers and Rick Muir, calls on ministers to launch an 'urgent and upfront campaign' promoting a 'multicultural understanding of Britishness'.
'Multiculturalism can be shown to provide for a fairer and more liberal society and does not necessarily lead to social division and community conflict, as its critics have claimed,' it says.
Local education authorities must act to 'ensure children mix and are able to form friendships with pupils from different backgrounds'.
The report adds: 'Any liberal state should recast the civic oaths and national ceremonies, or institutions like Parliament and the monarchy, in a more multi-religious or secular form and make religious education less sectarian.'
The presence of Bishops in the House of Lords, for instance, is condemned as a 'historical anachronism' that should be removed.
The system in which parents are required to register a new-born child at their local registry office is dismissed as 'purely bureaucratic'.
The occasion should be transformed into a 'public rite', using citizenship ceremonies for immigrants as a model, the report says.
'Parents, their friends and family and the state (would) agree to work in partnership to support and bring up their child.'
Rural Britain, the report complains, 'remains a largely white place' and the 'least culturally diverse part of the country'.
Much more needs to be done to 'ensure access' to the countryside for black and ethnic minority groups, disabled people and children from inner-city areas.
The move is necessary 'if our natural heritage is to provide a common source of identity'.
A new national 'civic day' should be held on the Monday following Remembrance Sunday, the report says, on which citizens would be thanked for and encouraged to take part in voluntary service.
The day would provide a 'unique moment, which we arguably lack at present, to reflect on our common history, fate and values'.
Large numbers of 'citizenship ceremonies' for new arrivals would also be held around the country. And people should be encouraged to 'fly many flags, not just one'.
The honours system is condemned as 'too complex, poorly understood and mixed up with outdated notions of hierarchy, patronage and empire'.
A smaller number of honours should be awarded on the new 'civic day', should no longer confer social titles and should make no reference to 'empire or the military'.
The Government should also explore the idea of making voting in elections a compulsory 'civic act'.
And national galleries and museums are also told they must do more to promote multi-cultural Britain.
'The kind of conservative nation-building projects that led to the establishment of many of these old institutions is finished,' it insists.
'The role of our national galleries and museums should instead be to provide a distinctively national space in which we can reflect on the multiplicity of identities, stories and cultures that make up modern Britain.'
Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion Sayeeda Warsi said: 'Gordon Brown's favoured think tank's advisers have clearly lost the plot.
'Their comments betray a breathtaking misunderstanding of what it is to be British. These proposals could actually damage community cohesion.'
But an IPPR spokesman insisted: 'Sayeeda Warsi clearly doesn't understand the point we are making. IPPR's report recommends that Christmas should be celebrated by all who want to but that society should respect the religious festivals of all faiths in Britain.'
Is there a depth to which the left will not sink?
I think not.
Methinks somebody's been peeing into the think tank again.
Britain is no longer a Christian nation and Christmas should be downgraded in favour of festivals from other religions to improve race relations....
Cowards. Churchill and Thatcher would not agree...but they were NOT cowards, and were true British leaders.
Dickens would be disappointed but not surprised.
I’m all for reduced spending.
Will the UKIP gain new members as a result of this brilliant positioning by Labour? There is little hope for Britain if it is left to Labour or the Tories. Left to Labour, the UK will become the UNK. UNK as in United Nations’ Kingodom or UNK as in Unknown- either will be fine with them...
Oh puhleaze!! Don't give us this "other religions" BS. There is only one religion they want to grovel to ... Islam.
After all these years they never cared to not offend any other religion, now, suddenly, they are becoming "multi-cultured? Gotta give the muzzies credit for one thing, they sure know how to get their way, don't they? They bend to no culture, but we sure as hell bend to theirs.
Wimps. Our world is getting overrun by these people and we just sit back and let them. I am sure the MEN who fought in WW2 are looking at us with sadness and contempt.
If you give up British culture, how long before you give up British rights, British courts of law, British history? Give up all those, and you cease to be Brittain.
To whom are these people cowering, and what do they think it will get them? What a sorry state of affairs.
Castro did that.
This is the ground work being laid for the antichrist and his end times one world religion, such a grocery list and how quick it is all being thrown at that fan...
That right there is worthy of bloody revolution. Or ought to be.
How much longer before the UK is under sharia law? Can’t be more than 50 years. Maybe 100 if they are likely but its coming. No question in my mind of that.
Apparantly there will not always be an England.
This is rather transparent. A religion is not a race. The only religion who's adherents like to claim it is would be Islam.