So many things have occurred within the past month in the run-up to the Christmas season.

We had the Paris attacks exactly one month ago today, then the San Bernardino attack. Terrorists are being arrested, shot or blowing themselves up.

A few days ago, Donald Trump spoke his mind. Britain no longer wants to allow him into the country.

Whatever one’s opinion on the matter, the Trump controversy is a distraction from more important events which emerged recently.

Earlier this month, as I wrote for Orphans of Liberty, The Mirror and The Telegraph revealed that one of the Paris attackers had somehow managed to visit England earlier this year. He stopped off in Kent and London. Before the attacks, he also made several telephone calls to Birmingham. What’s more, a number of immigrants have been landing in England from France by private aircraft and speedboat.

That’s more of an immediate concern than how to react to a billionaire. Before reaching for the combox, more will follow this week on the subject.

Meanwhile, we have carol concerts up and down the country. Many will attend, including agnostics and atheists who admire the aesthetics of a grand church or ancient cathedral.

And, as ever, during this time of year, the English ask whether they live in a Christian nation.

Let’s see. England has an established church. England’s monarch is the Defender of the Faith. Our monarchs have been Christian for centuries. Our laws reflect biblical precepts of fairness and justice, even though judges and lawyers might not always interpret them in the best way.

On December 8, The Telegraph‘s Alison Pearson wrote that she would be attending a carol service in Canterbury Cathedral. She points out that we enjoy our Christian-based national culture. Nowhere is this more evident than in chorales, concerts and church services held during Advent and Christmas.

Pearson brought up the depressing report dated December 7, 2015, from CORAB, the Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life. CORAB is ‘convened’ by the Woolf Institute, a multifaith body which has close links to Cambridge University.

Pearson tells us about CORAB and the report:

Corab, which includes pillars of the establishment like Baroness Butler-Sloss, Sir Iqbal Sacranie, former head of the Muslim Council of Britain, and Lord Williams, better known as the former Archbishop of Canterbury, says that Britain has seen “a general decline” in its Christian affiliation, and the time has come for public life to take on “a more pluralist character”.

Only two in five British people now “identify” as Christian, and the commission wants a new settlement for religion in the UK. Major state occasions should be changed to be “more inclusive”. “Socially divisive” faith schools must be phased out.

The number of bishops in the House of Lords should be cut to make way for other religions, the law requiring schools to hold a collective act of worship should be scrapped.

She is not wrong. The report’s summary of recommendations are on pages 80-85 of this PDF.

There’s something else. The final recommendation, on counter-terrorism legislation, reads as follows:

In framing counter-terrorism legislation, the government should seek to promote, not limit, freedom of enquiry, speech and expression, and should engage with a wide range of affected groups, including those with which it disagrees, and also with academic research. It should lead public opinion by challenging negative stereotyping and by speaking out in support of groups that may otherwise feel vulnerable and excluded. (Paragraphs 8.22–8.25 and 8.32)

It seems to me, rather ironically, that all this has been moving forward since the London bombings of July 7, 2005. Muslim representatives, including Mr Sacranie (as he was at the time), quickly appeared on the BBC to say their people were afraid of being abused or harassed.

Soon afterwards, hate laws were successfully strengthened to prevent that from happening.

Where schools are concerned, many have fewer assemblies and have moved towards a general, non-religious gathering.

It seems to me that most, if not all, of Butler-Sloss’s recommendations have been moving along since 7/7. It is unclear why she and CORAB need to repeat them or present them as if they are new ideas ten years later.

Pearson points out:

Apart from God help us, two thoughts occur to me. Firstly, if Corab gets its way, British children will never become familiar with the Judaeo-Christian religion which underpins 2,000 years of Western civilisation; if you banish it from schools, they will certainly not get it at home. And the stories and attendant values which those of us over the age of 40 take for granted will be lost.

Sadly, you have to conclude that this is exactly what those hand-wringing members of the liberal establishment want.

Second? We probably have 10 years tops before we stop greeting each other with the unpluralist “Happy Christmas”.

Yes, indeed. It is acceptable to wish those concerned a happy Eid or Diwali but offensive to use Christmas in a context other than a quiet personal greeting.

Birmingham has had ‘Winterval’ instead of a ‘Christmas festival’ for at least 15 years. One of the comments following Pearson’s article says that a mall elsewhere in England has posters for ‘Gift Giving Day’, meaning Christmas. Local Christmas lights have changed from stars, bells, trees and reindeer to anodyne strips of coloured bulbs wound around a light-pole. Every council suddenly sees the need to get new lights, which automatically means the demise of traditional symbols of the season.

We should also remember that whilst Lord Williams served as the Archbishop of Canterbury, he said in 2008 that it would only be a matter of time before Britain implemented Sharia law.

One cannot help but wonder what these people are thinking and, more importantly, why.

As a number of Pearson’s readers point out, we’ve never been asked our opinion on these changes, actual or proposed.

Apparently, our role is to say nothing and await further legislation.

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