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Faith Communities — Question for Short Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:56 am on 29th May 2012.

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Photo of Lord Bates Lord Bates Conservative 11:56 am, 29th May 2012

My Lords, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Sacks, on his contribution. I also congratulate him on securing this sell-out debate, the way in which he introduced it and the leadership which he gives within this House and in wider society on the importance of faith as a force for good. I associate myself absolutely with his generous remarks about Her Majesty the Queen and her example through faith.

At its best, religion is the wellspring from which societies are refreshed and our attitudes and institutions are irrigated. At its best, religion builds bridges of understanding; at its worst, it builds walls of prejudice. At its best, it is the measure by which we seek to live our own lives; at its worst, it is the stick we use to judge others whose lives and choices we disapprove of. At its best, religion is a light in dark times which guides us and gives us hope that tomorrow can be better than today, but only if we are prepared to devote ourselves sacrificially to making it so. At its best, religion inspires us to rise above the narrow confines of our own experience to reach out and serve the needs of others. I believe that over the past 60 years we can take pleasure from the fact that we have seen far more of the best of religion in this nation. I hope that over the next 60 years we will see and be more of the same.