“7 years as an MP. Still waiting for a 'Christian' to send me a letter on child poverty. Plenty on homosexuality and abortion.”
A screenshot of Reed’s Twitter feed received 11,161 upvotes and 8,446 downvotes in r/atheism, as well as 758 comments. There’s no question his remarks have made a big impression on America in the last two days.
But this is par for the course for the youthful MP. Reed introduced himself to Parliament in iconoclastic style in June 2005. The text of his first speech began:
“I crave the indulgence of the House in interrupting such an important and enjoyable debate to deliver my maiden speech. Furthermore, as the first Jedi Member of this place, I look forward to the protection under the law that will be provided to me by the Bill [for Religious Freedom].”
The Daily Dot used Storify to collect his recent tweets, which may seem startling on this side of the pond. Over in the U.K., however, this sort of religious outspokenness is simply accepted as part of the debate. Iain Dale, a conservative political commentator and blogger, offered us his thoughts on the controversy.
“Religion doesn’t play much of a role in UK politics, which means politicians on both sides of the divide can be fairly open about their real views. I know that in the US it would be the kiss of political death to speak like this, but thank God our political system in this country is yet to be infested with the kind of religious fundamentalism which has relegated the Republic Party from a political party to a quasi-religious sect – and I speak as a Reagan Conservative.”
Photo by Jamie Reed