Our political culture contains some tension between Jews and Muslims. And some secular anti-Semitism, particularly on the left, and some Islamophobia.
But, at the risk of getting Pollyannaish, let us see the positive. This country’s main religious culture, Christianity, is not involved in any of this nastiness. It does not contain any substantial prejudice against Muslims or Jews. It is not significantly invoked by our (rather mild) nativist movement, Ukip. Yes, Farage sometimes says that he stands for Christian values, but this is just a harmless and desperate bit of rhetoric. The louder message is that the Queen asked that lovely Muslim baker to her party.
Let us be quietly proud that our Christian culture is above the fray. When religious tension breaks out, it’s between a couple of minorities, and a secular movement that sympathises with one of these minorities against the other, through a mix of dated prejudice and electoral calculation. No one even worries that these tensions will infect Christian culture. That’s because Christian culture is half-dead, some will say – which is not quite true. But it is thankfully almost dead to the sin of religious hatred.
And this is largely true of Christian culture throughout the West. Even in the US, the religious right has weakened – the Trump crowd is mainly secular, and the man himself thankfully makes little pretence of religious motivation. It’s mainly the Orthodox Churches that need to catch up, especially that of Russia.
So the real story, in the current outbreak of (thankfully very minor) religious-political tension, is that the big dog didn’t bark. No one even considers that it might.