My second point about the Embryo Research Bill controversy is one of irritation. The issue of whether Gordon Brown should have allowed Labour MPs a free vote was portrayed in the media as a battle between the Prime Minister and the dark forces of Catholicism. Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor vocally insisted on a whip-less vote.
In the binary world of most political reporting, the result of this was that taking moral issue with he Embryo Research Bill was seen as the preserve of Catholicism. However, it is perfectly possible for atheists to have moral objections to the Bill too. The idea that morality can only derive from revealed religion is a great meme that needs to be challenged. The idea that atheism and secularism can be equated with the cold, amoral march of science is equally bad, but its a connection that Cardinals and Popes keep making. They should be challenged on this point.