It’s official. More than half of the Brits are no longer “Christian, according to this data from the British Election Study, 2015. We’ve all watched the apparent slow fizzle or “general decline” in its Christian affiliation and the powers that be are now proposing that something is done about it. The time has come for public life to take on a more “pluralist character”, according to an official report. Major state occasions such as a coronation should be changed to be more inclusive, it said, while the number of bishops in the House of Lords should be cut to make way for leaders of other religions. The recommendations from a panel chaired by the former High Court judge Baroness Butler-Sloss (Anglican, 82) come in light of ‘major changes’ in British society.
So, what should be done? One possibility would be for the bishops to leave the Lords entirely. The other would be for everyone to be given a fair thrash at it, which would mean a few Christian bishops, the odd Papist, representatives of all the chapels, Third (or is it Fourth) Wave plus a fundamentalist or two, a Sunni Imam, a Shia Imam (keep these two well apart), a gaggle of Rabbis, a Sikh guru, a Hindu priest able to represent Krishna, Vishnu, Ganesh, Durga, Lakshmi, Kali and all the rest of them, a couple of Buddhist Lamas to cover both the Red Hat and Black Hat sects, a Witch Queen, a Nordic Skald and a selection of Druids to represent the Pagan religions who were here before all these strange Eastern imports arrived, a Jedi complete with ceremonial lightsabre, a representative of Steikhegel, God of isolated cow byres, whose job would have to include representing anyone I’ve left out, and finally Richard Dawkins, bringing up the rear and forlornly bleating “look at me, I’m the only one in step here”. Debates – or should they now be more properly called ‘interfaith dialogues’ – would be televised, of course and aired between endless reruns of the Muppets Christmas Carol and Spitting Image. Can’t wait.