The way a nation thinks of itself is connected to
its acceptance of religion, or absence of religion, British political
writer Melanie Phillips said at Samford University Wednesday, Oct. 6.
She said that she sees America’s pride in itself
as being wound up in biblical values. “From where I sit, America remains
a religious country,” said Phillips, who views her native Britain as
being very secular. “Studies say Britain is
a post-religious nation, and paganism is increasing by leaps and
Phillips, known for her conservative columns on political and social issues that appear in London’s
Daily Mail newspaper, began her career with the Guardian, considered to be the city’s primary left-leaning paper.
Phillips says she hasn’t moved from the left to
the right but rather, has changed her opinion of people on the left. “I
decided they were intolerant and anti-progressive,” said Phillips, who
spoke as part of the Cordell Hull Speakers
Forum sponsored by Samford’s Cumberland School of Law.
She is author of several books, including the 2006 best seller
Londonistan. Her most recent work is The World Turned Upside Down: the Global Battle over God, Truth and Power.
When she began writing about such issues as
family and multiculturalism, Phillips said, she found that many values
were “turned on their heads.” Education had turned into de-education,
and certain victims groups were given a free pass
for their behaviors.
She said she soon grew to feel that when some groups were presented with facts, those facts were brushed aside as opinion.
“People on the progressive side seemed impervious
to reason,” she said, citing as examples issues related to global
warming, Iraq, Israel and scientism.
Phillips maintains there is little to support
global warming, that “greens” believe they will save the planet, and
that the movement is based on the belief that things would be better if
reverted to a pre-capitalistic phase. “Any dissenters
on that issue are considered to be against humanity,” she said.
Likewise with scientism, which is the belief that
science can deal with everything. People who support scientism believe
that life formed spontaneously, that “something can be formed out of
nothing,” and that everything can be explained.
Such thinking is at epidemic levels in Britain, she said.
Discussion on such topics plays differently in
different countries, she said. While the U.S has culture wars, Britain
has nothing similar because it’s “complete surrender,” and hass no
mechanism for discourse such as the U.S. has with
Fox News channel and talk radio.
The U.S. still has a belief in itself as a
nation, and part of that is a strength of church and a faithfulness to
scripture, she said. “In Britain, increasingly we’re told that we have
to get rid of religion to have reason. That’s why
we’re entering into a darker age.”
She did note that Catholic Pope Benedict XVI’s
recent visit to Britain, with his message to stop the tide of secularism
that is suppressing rights, was well received.
“Many people are searching and not finding
answers,” she said, adding that the English church is not meeting the
needs of the people.
Religious impulse is gone away, but not lost, she said. “But it will be if not turned around.”