In his speech to European security experts about Islamic State this month, David Cameron said: “It says religious doctrine trumps the rule of law and Caliphate trumps nation state and it justifies violence in asserting itself and achieving its aims. The question is: how do people arrive at this worldview? I am clear that one of the reasons is that there are people who hold some of these views who don’t go as far as advocating violence, but do buy into some of these prejudices giving the extreme Islamist narrative weight and telling fellow Muslims ‘you are part of this.’”
I entirely agree with him about the evil of violence and any justification of it but he clearly doesn’t understand some basic things about religion. Instead he shows his naïve support of the trend towards domination of religious views by the state, including with its vague concept of “British values.” Of course religious doctrine trumps the rule of law when the law seriously conflicts with it. Take, for example, my firm belief that Jesus is the only Saviour and no other religion brings a person to eternal salvation. If, as is possible, that ever becomes illegal because (allegedly) it is causing offence to people of other faiths and creating division, I would have no alternative but to break the law.
I certainly don’t want to see the establishment of the Caliphate (worldwide Muslim state) with its violence but I do believe the church trumps the nation state, where the state seriously conflicts with the church’s beliefs.
One problem is that our politicians don’t really understand religion and how important it is to believers. Of course the state has the right to try to stop violence and therefore to oppose religious beliefs which GENUINELY incite hatred, violence and oppression. But, that apart, it has no right to tell us what to believe and to stop us proclaiming what we believe.