So the new Liberal Democrat leader is in hot water already with the “revelation” that he does not believe in God. No sooner had he answered the question than he was having to beat a hasty retreat and saying things like that he had “enormous respect for people who have religious faith” and that his wife was a Catholic. But what does it really matter these days and who does it actually matter to?
According to the last census in 2001 36 million people recorded themselves as Christian while 15% had no religion at all. Of that 85% who have some religious affiliation only 6.3% attend church. So, they may not get out much on Sundays any more (probably too busy shopping) but as Nick Clegg has found they are clearly a scary lot. It is still the case that you need to have some form of religious belief in a public and political position and as Tony Blair found out that had better not be of the Catholic variety.
Of course religious affiliation makes no difference to your ability to do the job whatsoever and I was heartened to read the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who said: “It matters less to me than to know they are honest and reliable and that what beliefs they have they hold sincerely.” Now all we need to do is find an “honest and reliable” politician and we’re in business!