Richard Heller, an outspoken British atheist with all the attitude of the late Christopher Hitchens but, I think, little if any of Mr. Hitchens’s remarkable panache, has written an open letter to the British Minister for Faith and Communities, denouncing tax exemption for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
I’m curious to see whether the minister replies, and, if so, how she replies.
If she responds to Mr. Heller’s open letter, it will be fascinating both intrinsically and because the minister, Baroness Sayeeda Hussain Warsi (Urdu: سعیده حسین وارثی), is a Muslim. (She is a British solicitor and Conservative Party politician, of Pakistani descent, who was created a life peer in 2007.)
With the rise of the militant and much more assertive New Atheism (represented by Hitchens, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, and one or two others, but by no means limited to them), I expect to hear more and more calls for an end to tax exemption for religious organizations, not only in the United Kingdom and abroad but in the United States. And I expect, too, that such calls will come to focus particularly on socially conservative religious groups that fail to embrace same-sex marriage and related matters with sufficient enthusiasm.