LONDON: Religious Quotes Of The Year

The religious leaders

“You know that identities are destroyed. As an Anglican, this is what I wear to identify myself that I am a clergyman. Do you know what Mugabe has done? He has taken people’s identity and literally – if you don’t mind – cut it to pieces.” Archbishop John Sentamu while cutting up his Dog collar on national television.

“It is one thing to take over a territory and then pour energy and resources into administering it and normalising it. Rightly or wrongly, that’s what the British Empire did – in India, for example. It is another thing to go in on the assumption that a quick burst of violent action will somehow clear the decks and that you can move on and other people will put it back together – Iraq, for example.” The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, told Emel, a Muslim Lifestyle Magazine.

“Yes, a referendum [on the next Dalai Lama] is possible. When my physical [condition] becomes weak and serious preparation for death [has started], then that should happen. According to my regular medical check-up it seems another few decades, I think, are there, so no hurry.” The Dalai Lama told The Times in November.

“The reincarnation of the living Buddha is a unique way of succession of Tibetan Buddhism and follows relatively complete religious rituals and historical conventions. The Dalai Lama’s statement is in blatant violation of religious practice and historical procedure.” Chinese Foreign Ministry.

It is “difficult to see how the title of ‘Church’ could possibly be attributed to them [Orthodox and Protestant churches]” – Vatican document backed by the Pope.

“Canon law says the killing of an innocent child is incompatible with receiving Communion, which is receiving the body of Christ . . . It expresses our belief that human individuality, the human personality, is present from the first moment of life.” The Pope during his first visit to Brazil, the world’s most populous Roman Catholic country.

“We are killing – in our country – the equivalent of a classroom of kids every single day, can you imagine that? Two Dunblane massacres a day going on and on”. Cardinal Keith O’Brien leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland.

“I feel just that terrible pain of loss, of God not wanting me, of God not being God, of God not really existing.” Mother Teresa in letters published this year.

“The Monks, while respecting the Appeal Court’s decision, have assured me that they will pray for the bull’s soul as they will for the Welsh Assembly’s.” Anil Bhanot, the General Secretary of the Hindu Council UK, after the slaughter of Shambo the sacred bull.

“As Muslims, we say to Christians that we are not against them and that Islam is not against them – so long as they do not wage war against Muslims on account of their religion, oppress them and drive them out of their homes.” Muslim letter of Peace signed by 138 Muslim scholars in October.

The Presidents

“In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country.” – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaking at Columbia University in New York.

“But if in our view, “government” would be a responsibility before God for ‎establishing justice and a duty to ensure the rights of common people, serving the ‎servants of God and helping the oppressed- then the most important issue will be the ‎people’s concerns. If this is the case, governors would not view themselves as better than ‎other people and they wouldn’t put themselves in any other position except serving the ‎people.” President Ahmadinejad’s blog

“We believe in an Almighty, we believe in the freedom for people to worship that Almighty. They don’t.” President George Bush, Martinsburg, West Virginia.

The Atheists

“Religious faith is, precisely because we are still–evolving creatures, ineradicable. It will never die out, or at least not until we get over our fear of death, and of the dark, and of the unknown, and of each other.” Atheist Christopher Hitchens author of God is Not Great

“You’d be rightly written off as uncultivated if you knew nothing of the Bible. You need the Bible to understand literary allusions.” Professor Richard Dawkins in an interview with Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent of The Times.

“Yes, I like singing carols along with everyone else”. Richard Dawkins.

The politicians

“I’m not sure I would have gotten through it without my faith.” Hillary Clinton on her turbulent marriage to Bill.

“I sin every single day.” John Edwards, Presidential Candidate

“Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the saviour of mankind…Religious tolerance would be a shallow principle indeed if it were reserved only for faiths with which we agree.” Mitt Romney in a speech in December.

“Jesus was too smart to ever run for public office.” Mike Huckabee when asked if Jesus would authorise the Death Penalty.

Blair “It’s difficult to talk about religious faith in our political system. If you are in the American political system or others then you can talk about religious faith and people say ‘Yes, that’s fair enough’ and it is something they respond to quite naturally. You talk about it in our system and, frankly, people do think you’re a nutter. They sort of [think] you maybe go off and sit in the corner and commune with the man upstairs and then come back and say, ‘Right, I’ve been told the answer and that’s it’.” Tony Blair after leaving office as Prime Minister this year.

The Sportsman

“I am not unhappy about the fact that there might not be a God,” he says. “I don’t feel that my life has a big, gaping hole in it. In some ways I feel more human than I ever have. There is more reality in my existence than when I was full-on as a believer. It is a completely different world to the one I inhabited for 37 years, so there are feelings of unfamiliarity.” Olympic Gold Medalist and former committed Christian Jonathan Edwards on his loss of faith.