Chief Rabbi 'should be grateful' to live in Britain, says secular president Terry Sanderson, president of National Secular Society
Terry Sanderson, president of National Secular Society, calls on Lord Sacks to withdraw immigration comments.
Terry Sanderson, president of National Secular Society
Mr Sanderson writes:
Lord Sacks’ remarks are fatuous in the extreme. If by religious freedom the chief rabbi means religious privilege, it is clear that he would be happier in some kind of theocracy. But, of course, it would have to be the right kind of theocracy – one where Jews weren’t persecuted. And there aren’t many of them.
Rather than fleeing this country, he should thank his God that he lives here and knows that he and his people are safe and free to practice their religion within the law.
He should remember that here the state funds and encourages Jewish schools. Exemptions from the law permit the cruel slaughter of animals so that his religious freedom is guaranteed.
Religious freedom to him seems to mean the freedom to discriminate against and persecute others. Well, in a plural society we all have rights, not just religious people. Lord Sacks should retract this foolish statement and apologise to the people of Britain for suggesting that his religion is not respected and permitted to flourish here. He should also remember that those who sailed on the Mayflower were escaping persecution by people of their own faith, not secularists.
The equality laws that he disparages are a wonderful achievement and something that most people – including many Jews - welcome as progressive, just and long overdue.
Thousands of Jews fled to this country in the 1930s and were given shelter. They valued our tolerance and the fact that no-one interfered with their worship. Most of them are now happy to live in a secular and fair-minded nation that allows everyone to be who they are without disadvantage.
His statement is selfish, self-serving and politically motivated. It is also unworthy of a religious leader of his authority.