From THE TIMES:
The Government’s main advisory group on religion has collapsed in acrimony after church groups walked out in a row between atheists and believers.
The Church of England condemned the group as “not fit for purpose” and complained that each meeting degenerated into an “impasse” between secularists and the religious. Secularists hit back, accusing Christians of “triumphalism and bullying”. Muslims had already stopped attending the group, whose remaining few members are meeting tomorrow to decide whether it is worth carrying on at all.
Hindus, Baha’is and secularists are still represented but the Church of England, Salvation Army, Methodist Church and Roman Catholic Church have all left, jeopardising its future.
Peter Vlachos, the National Secular Society delegate, said he was appalled and accused the church groups of “abusing” the forum. He claimed that correspondence sent to the society showed that the churches had hoped to turn the religion and belief consultation into an “interfaith forum” where the non-religious would be excluded.
COMMENT: This was never going to work because of the individual people invited to join it. It would have been possible to find religious people and atheists perfectly capable of engaging in debate and exploration on a level playing field of mutual respect as OCICBW... and similar blogs have proved. But the people on this quango were all, with the probable exception of the Baha’ists, far too committed to the sense of their own infallibility to ever see the other person's point of view. Now this will be used as an example as to how religious and non-religious people cannot get along with each other, when all it really proves is that people in positions of authority are nearly always completely the wrong people to be in positions of authority.