Christmas should be 'downgraded' to help race relations, says Labour think-tank
CHRISTMAS SHOULD BE downgraded in favour of festivals from other religions to improve race relations, says a controversial new report.
Labour top think-tank says that because it would be hard to ‘expunge’ Christmas from the national calendar, ‘even-handedness’ means public organisations must start giving other religions equal footing.
The report by the Institute for Public Policy Research was commissioned when Nick Pearce, now head of public policy at Downing Street, was its director.
The report defends multiculturalism – the idea that different communities should not be forced to integrate but should maintain their own culture and identities.
It suggests that immigrants should be required to have some proficiency in English and other aspect of British culture, but ‘only if the settled population is willing to open up national institutions and practices to newcomers and give a more inclusive cast to national narratives and symbols.’
The report continues: ‘Even-handedness dictates that we provide public recognition to minority cultures and traditions.
‘If we are going to continue as a nation to mark Christmas – and it would be very hard to expunge it from our national life even if we wanted to – then public organisations should mark other religious festivals too.
‘We can no longer define ourselves as a Christian nation, nor an especially religious one in any sense.
‘The empire is gone, church attendance is at historically low levels, and the Second World War is inexorably slipping from memory.’
Along with the dumbing down of Christmas, the report, written by IPPR advisers, Ben Rogers and Rick Muir, also suggests that religious education be made ‘less sectarian’, that ‘largely white’ rural Britain offers better access to black and ethnic minority groups, and that councils should ‘ensure children mix and are able to form friendships with pupils from different backgrounds’.
Sayeeda Warsi, the Conservative spokesman on community cohesion, said: ‘Their comments betray a breathtaking misunderstanding of what it is to be British. These proposals could actually damage cohesion.’
She added: ‘You don’t build community cohesion by throwing out our history and denying the fundamental contribution Christianity has played and does play to our nation.’
‘As a British Muslim I can see that – so why others can’t just staggers me.’