Joey Barton says ‘privatise religion’

Joey Barton says ‘privatise religion’

In the run-up to the General Election in the UK, the Independent is publishing the views of 100 people, none of whom are politicians. Last Friday it published a piece by footballer and philosophy student Joey Barton, who said that if he were Prime Minister he would ‘privatise religion’.

Barton, who plays as a midfielder for Queens Park Rangers, wrote:

All public money would be withdrawn from religion. Taxpayers money will cease to sponsor religion in any and every form. I would disestablish the Church of England. There should not be an official state religion. Church of England bishops will lose their right to hold unelected positions in our House of Lords. I would cease to subsidise the livelihoods of Church of England bishops and priests.

Land and buildings which were given to the Church will be returned to state. If the Church of England want to continue to use their land and churches then they must pay commercial rent to the Government for the privilege of using what will revert back to state property.

He continued:

The Church of England should earn their keep in the religious marketplace. If a particular church can attract enough paying Christians to fund the running costs of their church, the salary for their priest and land rent to the state, then it can survive. If a church can’t be economically self-sufficient on these terms then the land and church building should be returned to the state.

The state can then use the valuable land to build houses, a school or a hospital instead.

All tax payer funding for faith-based state schools will also cease. If parents want to teach their children in their own homes then they are free to do so. However, what they tell their children in the privacy of their own home will not be backed up by taxpayer funded faith schools. It is not the state’s business to subsidise the training of a child for one religion.

My government would promote a spirit of tolerance and mutual understanding by standing neutral on the issue of religion. The ghettoisation of religious teaching in state schools, and the ghettoisation of religious communities which one-sided and narrow religious teaching promotes, will end.

All tax payer funded schools should be pluralist in the approach to religious education. Children should be told about the major world religions, minority religions and cults. Children should be told about the different kinds of Gods that humans have worshipped throughout history and in all corners of the earth. Children should also be told about those who think life is best lived in accordance with godless, secular and humanist values.

He concluded:

If I was Prime Minister children (and then broadly educated adults) will be free to make up their own mind about religion based on the most comprehensive religious education possible.

The state should neither be for or against religion. People will continue to be free to indulge in religion in their own time and with their own money. However, religious people should cease to expect taxpayers to subsidise their particular religious thinking and life styles. We shouldn’t waste public money on religion when we can better serve the common good by spending money saved on social housing, the NHS and a pluralist education.

When I posted this piece this morning, a poll by the newspaper showed that 364 people strongly agreed with him, 20 agreed, five didn’t care, six disagreed and 67 strongly disagreed.

Hat tip: M A Chohan

30 responses to “Joey Barton says ‘privatise religion’”

  1. Ex Patriot says:

    Count me as one of the 364 than strongly agrees with him

  2. zombiehunter says:

    isn’t religion already privatised in the US, which is why they have televangelists who rake in millions every year??

  3. barriejohn says:

    Zombiehunter: No – it’s all hype again, as I said on the previous thread. Their income is tax free, so they are state subsidized!

  4. Broga says:

    Excellent. Great ideas.

    zombiehunter: I may be flattering ourselves but I don’t think we are as ready to succumb to the preachers as the USA. Also if people are so misguided as to give their own money that’s up to them. It won’t be my taxes paying for it.

  5. David says:

    Count me in as a total supporter of this position. Excellent.

  6. Newspaniard says:

    Take the link and vote. I did at 1000 on 25 Feb.

  7. Ivan says:

    I’m reminded of the late, great Kenny Everett who said that, raised as a Catholic, he was tortured with guilt until one day he realised that the RC Church was just a business and from then on his only regret was that he wasn’t the man who came up with such a great money making idea.

    All in the best possible taste, of course:

  8. Marky Mark says:

    “isn’t religion already privatised in the US, which is why they have televangelists who rake in millions every year??”

    Besides the tax breaks they are now supported with public tax dollars by “Faith Based Initiative” monies…thanks to Pres Bush Jr. Because they were losing money fast through donations and many were subject to failure.

    But the religions in this country were always scamming tax money through their charities and if 10% actually trickled down to help the charities cause, that was pretty good. Most money went to “administration needs”, nod, nod…wink, wink.

  9. Brummie says:

    Joey Barton. I agree with every word.

  10. Broga says:

    Joey has flushed out the believers. I see that most of them attack him as ad hominem is all they have available. One contemptible correspondent condemns Joey for not having had a basis education. Another says Joey as “an ego.”

    As if their leaders, the bishops in their finery, jewellery and funny hats, didn’t. I voted for Joey’s opinions. I hope many others do the same. So far the votes are overwhelmingly in his favour.

  11. Marky Mark says:

    Also…I spent some time in an area of southern Illinois that was mostly christian and republican, and from time to time use to pass by a small, old christian church in my travels through the area. Never seen many cars parked there on Sundays as they were in competition with the other christian churches in the area for followers.
    Not long after the “Faith Based Initiative” bill was passed this church soon had a multimillion dollar addition built on to it, easily six times the size of the original church.
    And soon after that they sought me out since I was the only one in the area producing TV programs for the local community college on the local public access cable TV. When I did meet with them they had over half a million dollars in TV, video, and audio equipment (used) they were trying to install, and the preacher drove up in a brand new Lexus.
    I told them i would help them but I expected to be paid for my time, they thought i should donate my time to god. Sometime during this meeting I did make the comment, “where did all this money come from, Faith Based Initiative money?”. Their response was, “No, no, no…came from their congregation” So I came back on a Sunday and still there were not many cars parked there and the church was pretty much empty…my thoughts were “Bullshit!!”, and I never helped them.

    These Christians are nothing more than lying, greedy, selfish, materialistic beings…especially since the whole faith based initiative money thing is supposed to be spent on the poor in the area. And i can assure there were many poor people in that farming community.

  12. Marky Mark says:

    This guy Joey should run for office, I’d bet he win.

  13. Marky Mark says:

    Also…Joey kinda looks like George Harrison, good for the television campaign

  14. EJ says:

    Here is a future PM, or Home Secretary, right fucking here.
    I’d vote for him any day of the fucking week, but, alas, I do not have the vote in the UK.
    What party? He should start a new one.
    You can’t just let someone with that much good sense get away or disappear into obscurity, right?


  15. Broga says:

    @barriejohn: Very nice. I wondered what a “wellness shower” is? I think Frankie has dinky Gucci shoes. The man in the link no doubt tells the suckers about the virtues of poverty.

  16. Lon says:

    As a proud New Yorker, may i say that Joey has my vote. Actually he has all my votes. I’d like to nominate Joey Barton for President of Planet Earth. Do we have a second?

  17. Broga says:

    @lon: Yep! Definitely.

  18. Dave says:

    I thought footballers were supposed to be a bit thick. Clearly not all of them are.

  19. Daz says:

    Well, obviously I voted ‘strongly disagree’. Ahem. As of my vote, it stands at 400 strongly agreeing.

    Philip Pullman’s is worth a gander too.

    [Bloody hell! I found myself agreeing with the awful Hutton on summat! “I am an Christian of Grace Baptist persuasion and I agree with Mr Barton. The Christian faith should not rely on the patronage of the state but be seperate from the state. “]

  20. Missus_Gumby says:

    Daz, you are Nigel Molesworth, and I claim my prize!

    I other news: I forget where I saw the original Joey Barton Q & A interview, but the above is only a section of it. In it, he described himself as a Humanist, but without saying as such.

  21. dennis says:

    my representive in the us congress is Joe Barton, can Joey come vote for joe, cause joe is an idiot.
    we no longer have separation of church and state in TEXAS or the usa. Marky you should see the expansive buildings and large unused parking lots in the small towns of TEXAS. I have an ex-brother in law who thought he was smart because of all the tax deductions he got back in the 70’s but I hear now that he drives a Lexis and the church has 11 members all relatives. just to clarify, no I am not a member never was.

  22. L.Long says:

    And as these posts show the religions should also PAY taxes like any other business. And the argument against that is ‘well the churches will get involved in politics’, BFD!!! They do now!!! So make them pay the admission fee. And they can still do tax free charity work by doing the forms like every other charity has to do, and that way we all know how little they really do.

  23. Daz says:


    Chiz! I haz bin rumbled.

  24. JohnMWhite says:

    @L.Long – but churches really would get involved in politics! They’d get to take part in consultation exercises determining whether or not other human beings ought to have basic rights like being able to get married to each other. Oh wait…

    It is a shame that I know without even glancing at the comments in response to Barton that anyone disagreeing is just going to be plain angry at him, leading them to gibber incoherently about how he is some kind of bigot who is ‘against religion’. They are so beholden to the black and white thinking of their vicious deity and his arbitrary moral code that they cannot conceive of an idea such as neutrality.

    On the other hand they might just object to this:

    My government would promote a spirit of tolerance and mutual understanding by standing neutral on the issue of religion. The ghettoisation of religious teaching in state schools, and the ghettoisation of religious communities which one-sided and narrow religious teaching promotes, will end.

    You can’t really spin that as being neutral, it is abundantly clear that it is an attack on religion. That would be because religion causes ghettoisation because it is a bad thing taught by bad people who tell lies to children on purpose to hobble them in future life. And people are mad at him for wanting to put an end to that because they’re want to keep doing it.

  25. Robster says:

    If this bloke and his party fail to get elected in the UK, we’ve got room for him in Australia, he’d have a chance of winning here too. What a great manifesto.

  26. barriejohn says:

    Re the churches and politics; after the CofE told people how to vote about ten days ago, the RC Church has now issued IT’S guidelines:

    Lots of code words like “family values”, “morality”, “dignity and value of human life”, but we all know what they’re really on about!

  27. barriejohn says:

    More consultation with barking mad religious representatives (but then it IS Northern Ireland):

    The NSS reports today that both the Roman Catholic AND Presbyterian churches back the “conscience clause”. Mortal foes once again united in their hatred of the “ungodly” and desire to ride roughshod over people’s human rights!

  28. Missus_Gumby says:

    @Daz There are no worries – I have a bubble for rear gunner we can use.

  29. 1859 says:

    Count me in! What political party has he formed? UKAP? – UK Atheist Party?