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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

Government’s “faith advisors” a cynical ploy and an insult to non-religious Britons

The appointment by the Government this week of thirteen “faith advisors” has been condemned today by the National Secular Society as an affront to the majority of British people who do not look to organised religion for guidance.

Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society, said: “With church attendance at an all time low after 150 years of decline, few people in this country regard religion as important to their lives. It is inappropriate for the Government to invite specifically religious people to advise it on policy-making. This is a cynical ploy by the Government to thwart criticism that is sidelining religion, but like all the ‘faith advisory’ panels that have gone before, this one will be just another pointless talking shop whose opinions will be disregarded when they don’t tally with the Government’s.”

Mr Sanderson continued: “Religious leaders are out of step with the way Britons live. Most people in this country disregard and are even repelled by religious teachings on divorce, contraception, abortion and homosexuality. Polls show they don’t agree with the churches on voluntary euthanasia and a range of other issues.

We should not have undemocratic religious panels being invited to challenge the progress made in these areas. The non-religious majority will regard the implication of Mr Denham’s plan that religious people have some sort of ‘values’ that are missing in everyone else’s lives as insulting and patronising.” 

Published Thu, 07 Jan 2010