My argument that Islam should become our state religion is pretty simple. We need a state religion, to provide moral purpose to our politics and moral guidance to our people. As an Anglican, I obviously believe Anglican Christianity is best, but unfortunately our Establishment finds it impossible, any longer, to be respectful of Christian goals and morals. We cannot simply have no state religion, so we must try something other than Christianity. Not just anything would do, but Islam has, in past forms, served as the state religion in successful tolerant multicultural societies such as Andalusia. So there is every reason to believe that a suitably Anglicized form of Islam, willing to compromise for influence (as Protestant Christianity did) by accepting that secular rulers would select its religious leaders, could be a successful state religion for us.
Some of you appear to imagine my remarks to be satirical. I am quite serious about this. I suspect that those of you presuming satire are not really believers in having a state religion at all. That is the key point. I believe in constitutional monarchy but have no attachment to the Windsors, and believed in having a large unelected and unappointed component in the Second Chamber but had little attachment to the specific hereditary families involved. Similarly, although I do have some personal preference for Protestant Christianity, I have a belief in state religion that goes beyond the specific religion concerned.
Our Establishment is already enamoured of Islam, and understandably so – it is an intuitively very attractive religion. And our Establishment also hates itself and what it has stood for, with the unpleasant consequence that it has become virulently anti-Christian. Precisely because the Establishment conceives of Christianity as “inside”, it feels it appropriate to oppress Christians in ways it would not contemplate oppressing Muslims. We have reached the point where it would be better for Christians if they stood apart from the Establishment. Do not misunderstand me – I’m not one of those Christians that opposes its becoming entangled with (and so corrupted by) the state. Christianity's moral guidance, its concepts of justice and mercy, its liberalism, its concepts of human freedom and choice, its teleology were gifts Christians had to offer the state, and will continue to offer states around the world where those states are wise enough to listen. But in Britain the Establishment has simply stopped listening, or when it does listen it does so only to hate Christians because it hates itself.
Perhaps the suggestion that we should adopt Islam might shake our Establishment out of its torpor. Maybe it will suddenly realise that, actually, it wants to take guidance from Christianity and listen to what Christians have to say. If so, wonderful! But I think that most unlikely. More probable is that our Establishment, creaking under the burden of the many chips on its shoulders, will soon prefer immolation and replacement by a European establishment that lacks our qualms and has the energy of novelty.
Instead of despair and suicide, our Establishment should seek meaning and purpose. Islam can provide that meaning and purpose to it.
What might this involve in practice? Here are a few things:
• Establishing an official British Islam, with leaders appointed by the Monarch. The British Islamic leaders would anoint the Monarch when a new one was selected.
• These Islamic leaders would say prayers at the commencement of Parliament and at the beginning of daily sessions.
• Major Islamic festivals would become public holidays.
• These Islamic leaders would sit in the Second Chamber.
• These Islamic leaders would be consulted by Monarch and Prime Minister for their views on the moral implications of all significant policies (including, for example, most economic questions).
• These leaders would be given slots on public service broadcasters to offer their views on major issues of policy.
• Fund the establishment of local Islamic congregations in every area of the country. It wouldn’t matter if there weren’t many attendees.
• Publicly funded schools would, by default, have a short Muslim act of worship each day, and children in all schools would be required to have a working knowledge of the central doctrines of Islam.
• Lawyers would be required to study key tenets of Islamic concepts of justice.
• Local Islamic leaders would attend civic events and local government.
I’m sure many of you consider this wacky, but it could be made to work, and would be better than the way we’re going at the moment. If you don’t want to try this, and don’t want our Establishment to persist in its current despair, drift, and self-hatred, let’s hear your better alternative to my proposal.