Episode 3 The Big Questions

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Today on The Big Questions: sexism, prisons and religion in politics.


Good morning, I'm Nicky Campbell, welcome to The Big Questions.


Today we're live from Appleton Academy in Bradford.


Welcome, everybody, to The Big Questions.


On Friday Donald Trump became president of the United States


of America, having beaten Hillary Clinton in the electoral


college, although not in the popular vote.


Yesterday millions of women across the world took


to the streets in protest, calling for women to have parity


and equity at all levels of leadership in society.


And this week, in the Swiss Alps, at Davos,


the World Economic Forum brought together the most powerful movers


and shakers in business, finance, and governance to discuss the state


Prime Minister Theresa May was there, but she was part


of a minority group - only a fifth of the


Is the system still stacked against women?


Well, Aisha Ali-Khan from Shipley, feminist zealot, so-called because I


think the MP Philip Davies referred to you as zealots, so you took it


and ran with it? We owned it, basically, we thought, this is what


we will be branded as, we might as well only at. It's great to have a


zealot on the programme, it's not the first time! Listen, what does


victory by a man whose apparent views about women, what is it with


these apparent views about women, what does it tell you about where we


are in the struggle for equality? I think with Trump's election, I think


we've gone backwards massively. I think if we can have somebody in the


White House with views that are so degrading to women, and the comments


that he's made over the years, not just obviously during the election


campaign, but previously as well which then came to light during the


election campaign. If somebody like that, with his views, is in the


White House today, I don't know what hope we have for women across the


world. Belinda is gearing up here. This is just one dinosaur, isn't it?


Hang on the second, I will be going around the audience shortly. This is


just one dinosaur. The universities are full of young women. The march


of progress goes on and the promised land will be reached, surely? The


sad thing is that it's not just one politician or one person or one


reader. We have so many similar minded people over the world. Look


at Philip Davies, his comments around equality, women and so on, he


has an issue with women who want equality,... Do you think those


views are prevalent, widespread, common amongst men, still? I think


the danger is that these men have platforms with which they can


disseminate these views to a much wider audience. Last night we had


Piers Morgan who took to his Twitter account and he branded feminists


rabid feminists, women at work protesting. Protests are really


inconsistent because I've not seen any protests against the Saudi


government even though people know for years women have not been


allowed to drive or do anything. We have so many amazing feminists, so


many amazing women who are protesting. And these are obviously,


I recognise the fact that women in Saudi Arabia, and not just in


Islamic countries, who are being discriminated against, who do not


have the same access to education, health care. That's part of the


struggle, obviously. Belinda. I think the important thing is that


we're talking about feminism in this country, we are talking about women


in this country, we should not be using the terrible situations of


women and men in developing countries to boost the feminist


campaign. Speaking personally as a woman, I don't feel I have ever


experienced disadvantage. Ayew a feminist? Absolutely not, no.


Strongly opposed to feminism. And this idea, are things stacked


against women? When I look around me, the evidence is pointing to


actually things stacked against men. If you look at the education system,


all the way through, boys are disadvantaged in relation to girls,


resulting in 33% more women ending up at university resulting in the


fact that up to the age of 35 women are actually earning slightly more


than men. There are all kinds of ways. But women have to do so much


better and achieve so much more to get to the same level. That is a


complete myth, that is a complete myth. The reason why women are not


at the same level in politics is because of choices we make. We


prioritise our families and our private lives more than men do. We


are not talking about inequality. Do you want to come in, Jackie? I was


rather taken aback by the passion. I feel a lot of passion about the lack


of parity, the lack of equality. But it's a myth? I think the myth is


that we have equality, parity. I think we still have a long way to


go. I think there's been great strides in terms of women in


society, women in organisations, there's been focused on developing


women in more senior roles at leadership levels, but we still have


a long way to go. Belinda says it's because of the choices that women


make. I think we do have choices and I think feminism isn't against


choice. The idea of feminism is that we have the opportunity to choose to


eat what we want to do, whether we want to work, whether we don't want


to work, whether we have careers, whether we don't. It's all about


choice. There are a couple of things there. I don't think feminism is


about choice, it's actually put women in a situation where now we


are much more compelled to work than ever we were before. We are forced


to go out and leave our children in child care and much earlier ages.


And let's look at the facts, who lives five years longer? Women do.


Who constitute the majority of homeless, about 95%, men do. In all


these different areas. Who constitutes 79% of the suicide rate?


Who gets sentenced for longer times? Men do. Who gets less funding on


health care? Men do. It's hard to find one area where women are


disadvantaged in relation to men. I think it's really unfortunate to


conflict things like homelessness statistics and the length of prison


sentences solely on the grounds of gender. The things we talked about


so far around women and men are all happening in a context that is all


happening in a context. And directly strongly disagree with a lot of the


points that you have made around education. The idea is when I buy my


niece and nephew clothes, I can buy a superman outfit or a Little


Princess outfit, and it begins even before the womb. We are so


conditioned. And in our parliament we have 29% of the MPs are female.


20% of the Conservative MPs, chosen by committee is full of women. At


every level across our society, statistically and anecdotally we


still do not have equality, and to suggest that as a feminist I should


only care about women in this country is deeply offensive. Allow


me, if I may, to go to the audience. After your opening salvo which was


absolutely fascinating, lots of hands went up. Good morning. My


point is, there is a quality to certain levels up to middle


management level, I think we are talking about, employment or even if


we are talking about political roles. The gap really widens when it


gets to leadership level. And what I've observed, and I've talked to


hundreds of women on this subject is, often it's because other women


are judgment or about other women. There is discrimination. But when we


get to a certain level we pull up the ladder is behind us and that's


really unhelpful and that is why changes and happening as quickly in


my opinion. Good morning, are you a feminist? Yeah, I am a strong


feminist and I'm actually quite shocked, it is quite worrying to


hear people still today misinterpreting feminism. For me


feminism is literally just all about equality. It really annoys me when


you have misogynists such as Philip Davies saying that, yeah, but men


have higher suicide rates. We completely agree, that's feminism.


Ironically the fact that men have high suicide rate is because of the


fact they don't feel comfortable expressing themselves. The whole


point of feminism, the whole point behind feminism is to deconstruct


this kind of gender expectations so many feel comfortable to express


their emotions so men, if it's their choice, and let's say for example


you have a couple and a man has a lower paying job than the female,


that they feel comfortable being a househusband. That is actively


supporting feminism. And these statistics you are coming out with,


I completely agree with the lady with the purple hair, it should not


be seen in a vacuum. You have intersections with race, class, and


to say that there are white working class men out there, I completely


agree, but it's not just based on gender. Why are you rolling your


eyes at what she is saying? There are some basic points which


undermine this whole argument. As women and men, biology doesn't make


as equal, it makes us different. And because of that, if I may, I did


listen to you, it means that women biologically may have to make


different choices. Even if they have childcare from the day after they


deliver a baby, they might be in a hormonal cauldron that makes them


make different choices to the ones they perceive they might make. The


other thing about living in a meritocracy is that it should be the


best man or women for the job. So female quotas or short lists, I


don't want to be chosen for a job because of that, I want to be the


best person for that job. It may be because of lifestyle choices, or


because they are not good enough, that women are not getting the


positions of. But how do you address the inequality? Aisha? The numbers


do not lie. Fortune 500 companies, only 4.4 have female CEOs. Maybe


they're not good enough! Internationally, across the world,


and what she said is spot on, yesterday the female zealots raised


over ?100,000 on the day in donations, half of which are going


to Women's Aid, and half are going to a charity that helps prevent male


suicide. So we are not against men, we support men, we support everybody


who is disadvantaged, discriminated against. One of the big issues is


there is a problem of raising awareness for the issues men and


boys have an feminist organisations have systematically been undermining


this process. For example, York University, 2005, men stay was


marked as an important point in time -- men's day. But a group of 200


almost only female feminists took it off the agenda, they protested


against it. This is a good example of it and that is the problem. Women


have bigger issues but we need to have a balanced view. In response to


you, the problem is that when we raise these issues like male


suicide, rough sleepers, 95% of people who die at work are all men


and do the nasty work that feminists don't talk about, but when we raise


those issues you say, we need to see it in a different context, but why?


Why do we need to put it in a different context and when we talk


about female issues? I work in the prison system so to tell me I don't


know about male suicide and homelessness is very unfortunate.


Professor Jackie Ford, I do want to hear from the men in the audience in


just a second, don't worry, David, I will be with you, I'm doing my very


best here. What about the point from Angela that in a true meritocracy it


is absolutely just on your merits, your talents, your abilities, and


the fact that there aren't more women at the top as CEOs of the top


companies, she said it might just be because they are not good enough?


Well they are not good enough if you only class the norms of behaviour as


masculine norms. Privilege and in a hidden way what we value here are


masculine characteristics and behaviour is. What are they?


Rationality, aggressiveness, ruthlessness, these are what are


going to be rewarded in our leadership roles. We talk about this


great heroic charismatic leaders. Ruthlessness and aggression? Rather


than a more collective approach to leadership which gets a lot of


mileage, of entertaining issues. Are those feminine characteristics? They


might be. I'm suggesting that both men and women can have masculine and


feminine characteristics. What are the strengths? We draw also on


communal behaviours, draw on emotion, recognise passion, and


views about other issues, allow people to speak, and not get talked


over. Some of those are the issues. I do my best! It wasn't personal!


Bishop Toby? I came in as a bishop before there were women bishops and


now, thank God, there are women bishops. It took much too long but


it has made such a difference to the way we work together so it is in all


of our interests. Women bishops, a triumph, Belinda? I'm not supportive


of women bishops. I think it... I'm not in favour of women bishops. Why


not? I feel it is important, we need to get more men, actually, into the


church, and there is a reason that we have male leadership... It is


full of men! What about the traditional roles, as you would


perhaps have it, have men been emasculated? Have women become


de-feminised? I think what feminism has done has made women appear to be


more feminine and more victim like than they ever were before. When I


see, recently I heard this thing about, if you have got problems with


your day, you -- with your date, you go to the bar and ask for a


particular drink and they understand the problem. When I was young, we


could deal with these problems and I feel feminism has made women feel


much weaker and more helpless than they were before. This is dangerous,


because... I agree. Your attitude is dangerous because what you are


talking about is something we should have stamped out years ago. You are


saying that women, because we want to keep ourselves safe, have no


right to expect a safety from society around us. I don't


understand why that is relevant. I think what feminism is doing is


creating hostilities between men and women... Mary! Wait a minute, Mary?


I class myself as a feminist, and I've seen, during my life, how


feminism has actually enabled women to progress and get to where they


want to. What I think feminism is about is actually about choice. It


is about women being able to go out to work, have careers, and also the


other side of it, I think, is also about men having choice. In my


capacity as a member of the European Parliament, we have done a lot of


work on worklife balance and there is more and more of the need for


that, and there are more men who actually would prefer all wish to


spend more time at home with their families. And, for me, that is what


it is about. I must come back to this question about quotas for


women. Women are just as good as men and we have to get that in our


heads. APPLAUSE.


I would like to say I am a declared non-feminist because I think a lot


of the current feminist arguments are spoiling for an argument. That


campaign about getting Jane Austen on a bank note, I want the same


number of banknotes as my male colleague, I don't care whose basic


is, it could be Mickey Mouse as far as I'm concerned. I went to school


amongst the alumna of my old school, they were suffragettes. We were


encouraged to aim high, powered through any ceiling, the first


female bishop in the country went to my old school, Lee B Lane, I went to


school with her. There was no suggestion even back then, several


years ago, that she was in anyway held back. I can't speak on her


behalf. So this notion that somehow we are being arm locked because


society is clipping our wings, I think it is nonsense. If there are


concerns such as sexual objectification of women, heinous


conduct towards women, it is a concern for all society, and as far


as Donald Trump is concerned, he was elected by a majority. Peter,


quickly, then we will have some hands up in the audience. I think


feminism is a beautiful thing, one of the most profound and insightful


things understandable inhumanity. The ethics of care that feminism


brings us, I think it is a way of understanding both men and women,


the lady who spoke behind as putted beautifully, absolutely fantastic,


and as an man I would say I think feminism is fantastic and I think we


should have more feminism, it is very important. And to go back to


one point, the feminisation of poverty, since the 70s there have


been more and more women impoverished, going without food to


feed their children, you are missing the point. Think about what the


world was like before feminism... Feminism in principle sounds really


good. I think all of us, all humanity, men and women, we all have


sons and daughters, we care about both genders. The problem I think is


with the sort of extreme feminist activist who undermine initiatives


to raise awareness, and I have just given and it -- given a good example


of it, and there are many. You have only seen from the sideline the


positive news stories but people who look into these issues, called


anti-feminist, they can show you exactly what sort of things are


going on. We have to leave it there, thank you all very much indeed for


that, thank you. APPLAUSE.


It was considered and consensual and it was just... If you have got


something to say about the debate, log onto bbc.co.uk/thebigquestions


and follow the link, where you can join in the discussion online or


contribute on Twitter. We're also debating


live this morning at Bradford's Appleton Academy -


does prison work? And, should religion have


any role in politics? So get tweeting or emailing on those


topics now or send us any other ideas or thoughts you may


have about the show. Last November, the Justice


Secretary, Liz Truss, promised prisons were going to get


their biggest overhaul A couple of days later


there was a riot at Bedford Prison involving 200 inmates,


followed a month later by another riot of 240


prisoners at HMP Birmingham. Reductions in prison staffing,


gang violence, and psychoactive This week the House


of Commons Select Committee on Justice began examining


the Government's plans. Many critics say the biggest


question they need to address Let's address that one. Sara, as you


mentioned earlier on, working in prisons in the field of criminal


Justice, men touring women in custody as well. We have got more


prisoners in this country than any other in Western Europe, and, as a


whole, only Russia and Turkey have more. Some of these statistics are


stark and astonishing. Why is this happening? Well, we have got double


the number of people in prison now than we had 20 years ago. Crime


rates are going down? So much of this is directly the result of


policy. As Bob Neill, chair of the Justice select committee, said at


the start of the fetching on Wednesday, the wide consensus now is


the prison system we have is in crisis and that is significant, the


Conservative chair of the Justice select committee saying that. We


know it doesn't work, by any measure, not for victims of crime,


not for society, certainly not for the people in it when you have the


scale of rioting and frequency of rioting, which is unprecedented


since Strangeways 25 years ago. Peter, it is a while since you were


in but it was pretty bad then, and you were just failing beforehand


that it is even worse now? Yes, my first sentence was at 14 years old,


I was a regular attendant. Not at any point was prison a deterrent or


an event -- and intervention. Since getting released and working in the


community with people that are getting out of prison, the stories


I'm hearing now, it is getting scarier and scarier. The challenges


people are facing about settling into the community after release


from prison, showing the work that is taking place in the custody


setting is not supporting them to get to a point to manage themselves


in the community, which then encourages the cycle of offending


again and back into prison. Is it just too brutal, do we need to


change our society? I'm not sure it is brutal, there are examples around


the world, good practice in custody settings, initiatives I'm aware of


where people studying in universities and the community go


into prison to study alongside prisoners, breaking down barriers


and stigma that people carry. There are intervention is going on but I


think, on the whole, there is not enough and it is not consistent


enough, those community support networks are not consistent enough.


I provide a mentoring service to address how people identify


themselves, if we can get people to see themselves as somebody who can


fit in with society, that is not just an offender or substance


misuse, then we can raise their aspirations. And today, you will be


interested in this, in Norway prisoners are allowed all manner of


comforts, much more lenient, in a way that would send some of our


popular press apoplectic. But the reoffending rate here is 60%, the


reoffending rate in Norway is 20%. Well, you can do anything you want


with statistics. If that is what they say, that is what they say.


More lenient regime 's? As far as I am concerned, prison has four


functions. Yes, there is rehabilitation, we want to feel


people have learned something from the sobering experience prison and


come out as a better person who hopefully won't reoffend. We hope it


will be a deterrent. But we also hope it will keep members of the


public safe. The fourth thing is anybody who has committed certainly


a violent crime should have their liberty taken away from them in a


way that makes them the punishment. A very simple comparison, if you


jump a red light you have to do a speeding course, get points on your


license, you feel it, and afterwards, if you have been done


for speeding, you tend to watch the plot a bit more. It has to be made


to feel that, thankfully I have not been inside... The loss of liberty


in a much more lenient regime in Norway has a 20% reoffending rates.


What is your conclusion other than saying, oh, statistics can say


anything? My conclusion is still the fact is that prison, first of all


people who commit violent crime need to be taken off the streets will


stop how do you stop them committing violent crime when they come out?


Some people you can hopefully rehabilitate but some people will be


sobered up by the experience of prison. I would have thought


somebody locked up would not want to go through it again, but if they are


given an iPad, Amazon orders, a la carte food, whatever, it will not


encourage them to not reoffend. I'm sorry, but prisons are exceptionally


painful irrespective of the conditions that a person lives in.


Prisons are about the waste of life and the consciousness of time, the


sense of loss, the estrangement from family members. These are all


absolutely fundamental and essential to how a prison works. You may well


have other aspects, for example around austere regimes, punitive


regimes, you may have restrictions in terms of access to all sorts of


things like educational resources, but prisons are profoundly painful.


That is why we have such a high rate of death in prison. We have,


apparently, one of the highest rates ever in prison deaths. Last year,


113 prisoners in England and Wales killed themselves. There are still


57 awaiting classification so that number will go up. Since 1990, more


than 1900 self-inflicted deaths. To top regimes work as a deterrent?


There is no evidence a tougher regime will lead to the slightest


decrease. In fact, what works is when we try to help people. Belinda?


The evidence suggests that the longer people are in prison, the


less likely they are to reoffend, and the number of deaths going up I


think has coincided with slightly greater liberalisation. What you


have happening is the prisoners themselves have more freedom but the


really hard and ones I think our ruling get over the perhaps slightly


more... There is a lot more bullying because there could be a slight, I


don't know if a vacuum of authority is the right word, but a stronger


regime would prevent the bullying that happens inside prisons which


probably contributes towards the rates of suicide.


If you want to look at what works you don't even have to go abroad.


There is an intensive therapeutic community here. The highest rates of


prison deaths including self-inflicted deaths directly


correlates in a benchmarking exercise, you can see it drop off,


presents become more overcrowded, they are understaffed, the rates of


violence, assaults on staff and suicide go a long, it is that


simple, the equation. As for a la carte food? ?1.81 is what prisoners


spend on a whole day's food. The idea there is plenty to do, many


people are currently in cells for 23 hours a day. That is why there are


riots. The huge increase in violence and self-inflicted deaths. The


chairman of the prison officers Association, good morning. I've


listened to some of that debate and I've got to say that presents an


oppressive any more, people have this view that prisons have prison


officers going round giving someone a clunk when they step out of line,


it does not work like that any more. You have wings in closed


establishment of 200 prisoners where they've got three members of staff


try to control that, there's no way three members of staff can be


oppressive and maintain the levels of discipline that people are trying


to allude to. What you have got is prisons run on prison officers that


have away and ability of controlling and managing people without having


to show force unless someone steps out of line. If there were fewer


prisoners the whole thing would be easier to manage? Overcrowding is a


problem, and we put people who should be in mental hospitals in


prisons nowadays because we cut the funding to the NHS. So there is a


concern around the population we are housing within prisons, and there


are interventions for those people. They are not sufficient, I agree


that to -- too time is spent behind doors. Because you do not have the


numbers, you have prisoners maintaining order and they are not


the people you want controlling orders, and that causes the drugs


and violence and all the problems in prisons. In the long-term if we


control it it will benefit society and prisons. Hello. In my view a


punitive prison system does not work. Therefore we need to take a


much more liberal approach. And believe it or not, there are


countries in the world that servers perfectly good examples. I would


also like to advocate for the Norwegian prison system as a model.


Their prisons are not overcrowded, their main objective is to


reintegrate those who have been excluded from society back into


society. And they have one of the lowest recidivism rates in Europe


and indeed around the world at 20%. Compare that to hear at 55%. Over


there? I have been to prison, I served a nine-year prison sentence.


I have been into category B, category a and two categories C and


D. I was told different things in category a presence, you are going


to come through the same door again, there's nothing out there for you.


Different prison officers have different approaches. There were


mechanisms and things for me to get involved and do rather than sitting


in a room watching a wall and wondering when my food will be


happening. The only way it's going to work is if there are more


category D prisons where people can act surely go whilst they are in


their knowing, if I get there, I can do something that will give me a


chance to do something and get on with my life. Having a support


mental, like the Prince's Trust who supported me from day one, they gave


me the help and support even to this day, to say, we are there for you,


we are not letting you go. Probation service can help but there are too


many people to look out for. How do you feel when people say it is cushy


being inside prison? I'd say come inside and have a look. You've got


inmates who are getting food and what they are doing straightaway is


physically throwing it at officers and saying, what is this? Give us


food that is proper. That's the only thing they can afford. Do deterrents


work? There's no doubt it would be beneficial to all of society if


people could leave prison and unable themselves to make a useful


contribution to society again. And education in prison shouldn't be


seen as some kind of reward. You said earlier on when you were hoping


that people would not want to go back there. So presumably I can


infer from that, you think deterrence works? I think deterrents


do work. If you are made to feel you are in a situation where you don't


want to repeat against a .31 US states, can I just say, with the


death penalty, have . The kind of people who commit that


level of crime that necessitates the death crime are the kind of people


that are programmed to keep reoffending anyway. OK, you can all


touch and shake your head is. We are not all tutting. There is an


absolute tsunami of statistics and surveys being thrown across the room


here, we don't know what the criminal mentality is. Is this not


dispassionate logic? We can all think about vengeance and righteous


indignation. These are actually facts and statistics. Do we know how


many prison officers are on duty? How many prison officers per capita


are there in Norway? We don't know the broader picture. This is just an


attempt to make it objectively, to you, it really does seem that you


are quite unpleasant, your unpleasant desire to punish people


is making you ignore the statistics that you have heard. More liberal


prison regimes that give people opportunities make society safer by


reducing the crime when those people come out of prison, you've just


heard that, it seems really strange that you can't process it. I do


think it is very risky comparing two different countries. I mean, Norway


is an incredibly wealthy country. And it is a very different society.


So is America. I think Norway has got a stronger economy because of


its links with oil, it's got very strong welfare. I just think, I


would be cautious. I'm sure there is a lot to be learned from the


Norwegian system. I'm not coming down too much on one side or the


other but I think we have to be very cautious comparing two countries.


Bishop Toby. Some people are just irredeemable, are they not? I wonder


if they are? I mean, who are we to say that somebody is or somebody


isn't? The point is most of the people in prison are going to come


out and the question is, are we going to enable them to live as our


brother here has said in a way that is going to be positive for us all,


or are we going to put them in a place where they will have to go


straight back again. We haven't really talked about the economy in


this. How much does it cost to repair, say, Birmingham, after that


riot? If the money spent in repairing that prison could have


been put in a few more prison officers to be working with you to


enable that not to happen, isn't that better use of the money? To


come in there, I think the debate has been reduced to staffing.


Prisons have always been places of violence, suffering and death, since


their inception in the 1770s. Prisons have always failed in terms


of rehabilitation. Dozens are failed institutions. We cannot teach people


how to be free in captivity. Two wrongs do not make a right. Our


first debate was, is the system stacked against women? It is said as


well that the prison system, the criminal justice system is stacked


against women, is that right? Well, absolutely. Belinda is making a face


beside you. I enjoy being sat here. We have a system built by men,


designed by men, for men. There are just many, many things, for example


when the system was rearranged, nobody thought what happens when


women have babies in prison, if you look statistically of women in


primary care before entering, the impact on family, and you get people


in prisons that do not think about employment, that a woman would need


a job and you get out. The whole journeyed there are different


points. She's champing at the bit. I don't know where to begin. One point


is that there is a lot more spent per woman in prison than per man in


prison, women are much better funded in prison. For the same crime, men


get much longer prison sentences. If you look closely at the data, for


the same crime, men are likely to get longer prison sentences, they


are also more likely to get sent to prison and more likely to have to


sit through their prison sentences. There are also issues a family.


People talk about 17,000 children without their mothers, this


statistic is likely to be grossly exaggerated because it would suggest


that each woman has got ten children. There are 150,000 children


whose fathers are in prison. One thing they do with men, they will


use as a punishment, they will say, you can't see your children because


you've been bad. They would never do that with women. They absolutely do


that with women. The reason why we are seeing an increasing number of


people in prison, there is a constant thrust from society to


punish more and more people but at the same time there's a constant to


protect women. Our prison system heaves with injustice, and women


from BME backgrounds, LGBT backgrounds, are disconnected


against the board, it is set up, there is often a massive income


inequality. Many people in our prisons are victims and my opening


gambit was about, if prisons are going to work, they've got to work


for victims which include some of the people. Thank you all very much


indeed. You can join in all this


morning's debates by logging on to bbc.co.uk/thebiquestions


and following the link Or you can tweet using


the hashtag #bbctbq. Tell us what you think


about our last Big Question too - should religion have


any role in politics? And if you'd like to apply


to be in the audience at a future show, you


can email [email protected]. We're in Glasgow next week,


Southampton on February 5th This week, Christian churches around


the world begin marking the 500th anniversary of the Protestant


reformation in Europe. Martin Luther pinned his 95


Articles to the church doors The two most senior bishops


in the Church of England, the Archbishops of Canterbury


and York, have called on the Church to repent its part


in the Reformation, and to remember the many who died or were


persecuted, both Roman Catholics and Anglicans, all in the name


of the same Lord, Jesus Christ. In those times, Cardinals


of the Catholic church or the archbishops of the Church


of England were at the very heart of power in each


Tudor monarch's court. And even now, 26 Church of England


bishops still have seats Yet all the world's great


faiths now have followers in today's United Kingdom,


and only 49% of Britons say they are Christians,


while 42% claim they have no religion at all, according


to a 2015 YouGov poll. Should religion have


any role in politics? There we are. Why did I know you


were coming to me? The new White House is full of fundamentalist


evangelical Christians, young earth creationists who believe that Jesus


is coming soon, and they want it to happen soon, people who don't


believe in climate change or don't care because it is a case of the end


times, the rapture. They should not be allowed anywhere near power,


these people. Are you asking? I'm not making a speech. Religious


people in politics, that's an example, Bishop Toby, they shouldn't


be allowed anywhere near it. One of the really terrible things about


Donald Trump speech at his inauguration was when he asked God


to bless that. But I do think that if religion is a part of some of,


the source of our deepest motivations, our hopes, then it's


got to be able to have a place in politics. Are you worried about some


of those people at the centre of power? Of course I'm worried. They


are religious people. Do you say we will keep religion out of question


mark who else are you going to keep out question much everybody who has


a view about something because you don't like it? The point is we bring


into politics everybody we are, and if we are religious we have to be


able to bring that into politics, to. I'm so sorry, I wanted to come


to you in the last debate because I know you had something to say.


Politics and religion are two massively different ideas, one is a


leap of faith and of love and passion while the other is logic


with passion removed. These are two massively different ideologies. Also


when we look at religion in politics you can only look at the recent 70


years, George Bush being fuelled by God in the invasion of Iraq, and the


Holocaust, Hitler being motivated by his hatred of the dues. They are so


separate. When you try to put politics and religion, what


interpretation of that religion do you look at and who interprets it?


Let's throw that Mary. People are passionate, without religion we


would not, in this country, have had some of the great social movements,


caring for the sick, in the past, lots of great social movements were


driven by people's faith. I couldn't agree more. Right, next question!


That is all very good, and I also agree with the idea that you can't


keep people out of politics. We live in a democracy and in a democracy


everybody over the age of 18 in this country should be able to enter


politics if they wish to, that is a fundamental thing about democracy.


The prison reform movement, abolition of the Atlantic slave


trade... Exactly, we will have people in legislatures and


governments who have political views, and that is absolutely fine,


but it is what you do with them, and a lot of good has come from people


who have done that, absolutely right. But it is when these things


come together and there are difficulties that you have to do


then look at what your Government, for instance, is about, and the


difficulty comes when people try to oppose and do things against the


Government which has been elected by a democratic election. On


conscientious objection, that is a good thing? Not necessarily, some of


the things where the wisdom is that conscientious objection is right,


such as reductive -- reproductive rights and abortion, abortion is


accepted in this country and if you have a move to change that


legislation I don't think there should be conscientious objection.


If you are religious and don't agree with it and you are in Government,


you have to think yourself about how you deal with that. I think that is


the right point that Mary and the Bishop have made, we live in a


liberal democracy, individuals will always have their religious or


humanist beliefs, or nonreligious beliefs, which will compound them to


do certain things one way or another, that is good, you listed


social reform that religious people were involved in, you could do the


same with people with no religious belief as well. People do things


because of their beliefs, that is fine. Groups lobby as well, churches


lobby, that is fine as well. The problem comes when people take


religion into Government and start legislating on the basis of it and


bring religion together with power. You mentioned some of the people now


in donald-macro's White House, it is implementing those things will all,


you see that all over the world. We have such religious diversity in


this country, do we not have to do something to reflect that in the


House of Lords, not just having 26 Church of England... It is all about


representation. If there needs to be 26 people in the House of Lords


representing fatal and nonfatal, there must be a better way to do it.


Having non-quez-macro Or saying, we have got 25% of the senses Kristian,


25% non-believers, we could quote that if we wanted to. There is no


clear distinction between religion and politics, religion is an


improvement of the South, politics is an improvement Society, and the


improvement of the Selt should help you improve society which helps you


prove yourself, so one improves the other, there no clear definition.


Very difficult to know... One of the issues here, the faith leaders that


politicians listen to have not been democratically elected, and I agree,


we don't have a problem that people have religious opinions and bring


that into politics, the problem is these faith leaders, for example the


Pope, does not represent the opinion of most Catholics who use


contraception, so the problem is when established religion comes in


and get privileges. It is also a consequence of the change of


religious authority where in previous generations they were


looked up to buy a lot of adherents of tradition whereas now, given the


Internet and the way society has changed, religious authority itself


is very different. Let's go to the audience. My Judaism drives forward


my beliefs and the way I work in this world. You will not find any


key piece of legislation in any country that isn't based on some


religious principle. I am not allowed to murder somebody, it is


against the law. Where does that come from? The ten Commandments. It


predated the ten Commandments! Fine, but it is certainly codified in


those instructions given to us as human beings as how to act with each


other. Religion drives these things forward, it is what makes people go


into politics and not just do things because they want the power, they do


it because they believe that they want to change the world. Human


beings' behaviour read the Bible, not the other way round. We could


get into a long discussion about who wrote the Bible! I'm happy to accept


it could be that the Bible was written by human beings, but who


inspired that? Who was the thinking behind it, where did it come from?


Read the Bible, re-creation is close to Darwin's theory of evolution,


there is no separation between scientific laws and religious laws.


You can bring them together and so long as you don't act in the


extreme... It makes evolutionary sense not to kill somebody in your


own tribe. I don't this is ready disagree but it is worth pointing


out that politics today and the world we are living in today and the


political questions we face are more complicated than those faced by the


writers of the Bible, you did not have to deal with the potential


destruction of the planet by climate change or the need for complicated


states to deal with hyper diversity in religious and other terms or


reconcile questions on a much larger global scale that we have to


reconcile today like justice, equality and fairness and so on,


Andy Powell as human beings hold over our destiny which is greater


than in the past. -- and the power human beings hold. So one of the


problems that I mentioned earlier is when you start ignoring these and


giving inappropriate answers, so those states in the world that are


completely religious like Saudi Arabia or Iran, or those states


where religion is very much a part of the state but the state is not


completely religious, like Pakistan, I think tends to rank low on scales


of justice of equality and social fairness in the world and that is


partly because they are using religious ways of dealing with big


questions which are old-fashioned. If we want to talk about the


Commandments, thou shalt not kill, bear full swing this, steel, those


are three basic that predate religion, they essentially you don't


need to be religious to take those things into your morality, so what


is special about people who might have a belief in a supernatural


divine being that qualifies them in anyway to be part of a political


process? They are talking about eternity, not the political cycle.


The question is, is it based in the way our society is and our world is?


As a Christian, I would say that is the case because God made it that


way, so if we are living according to those, we are living according to


the grain of the way God made it, so that is the point. I'm a person of


faith, it is all about the next thing, I live in this world, I can


see the problems Andrew is talking about about global injustice, if the


journey of faith was you find faith and then you die, basically, because


it is about rapture and the next world, that is not what it is, it is


working out those values, all kinds of different fates uphold justice


and equality and so much is about interpretation because I would


absolutely not align myself with many of the things that happened at


the inauguration so much is about interpretation but at its best...


You are just criticising someone else's religion now! This is how


divisive religion can be! This is true! Religion and politics are


about serving communities, about others and getting rid of your own


power to empower other people's power. Melinda, we have not heard


from you for a while, your eyes sparkling with a need to come in on


this. Should religion have a role in politics? I think religion does have


a role in politics because we are motivated, if you do have a faith,


often it is that which drives you forward, and whatever you might


believe, you were saying about thou shalt not kill, and maybe this is


what God has said, it perhaps gives an extra authority to it, I'm not


sure about that, but I think our religion plays an important role in


the individual conscience which then influences how we act in politics.


I'm also a person of faith, and we can have maybe the same religious


belief but we might have very different ways of putting that into


practice. So I think that religion does influence individuals and


individuals influence politics. Theresa May is the daughter of a


vicar, maybe she will bring some of that... She gave a good answer to


this question Roger was asked, even though I don't agree with a lot of


her policies like the expansion of state schools, -- of faith schools,


when she was asked, she said, I do have religious beliefs but in that


country we tend to keep these things to ourselves, and that was a good


answer! Merhi, I would as do the question but it is all stacked


against women here! What I would like to say, we have talked about


people with faith and bringing fates to politics, and of course as you


said in your introduction, 42% of people in this country don't have a


religious faith and I think it is important to get through this idea


that you have morality dependent on religion. It isn't. Most people,


apart from maybe some of the people we are talking about in prison in


the earlier debate, the vast majority of people across the world


have morals, morality, have a basis for their lives and how they live


them which is what we all agree as a moral basis and there is a consensus


about what that is. It doesn't actually depend on a religious


faith. Look at somewhere like Pakistan with the blasphemy law and


the religious laws there. Massively, massively anti-human rights law and


it needs to be repealed, absolutely. Going back to the marches yesterday,


a lot of the concerns that a lot of women had, especially in America, is


this idea that Trump is surrounded by these men who basically don't


believe in abortion, don't believe in the right to the woman to have


control over her body and her reproductive choices... A lot of


Catholics watching would take the same stance, driven by their stance,


and they have every right to believe it. Everybody has a right to


practice their religion as they see fit, I have no concerns about that.


Many people I speak to have no concerns about that either, but what


is concerning is when you have people in power dictating policy


which will then impact not just men but women in America, this is one of


the reasons why so many of us wanted to stand in solidarity with women


who are now seeing all the choices and changes made under Obama, all


the improvements, now being taken back brick by brick. Obama had a


very interesting quote... I don't think we have got time for an


interesting quote! We are at the end! But thank you all very much


indeed for your participation, thank you!


As always, the debates will continue online and on Twitter.


Next week we're in Glasgow, so do join us then.


But for now, it's goodbye from Bradford and have a great Sunday.


We will see you very soon. Thanks once again to our excellent audience




To break someone physically... Agh! ..is not a problem.


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