Last week a highly-respected study showed that the British people are less religious than ever. Now another survey has provided further evidence that Britain is not a Christian country. The Church of England's own figures suggest that just 6% of British adults are practising Christians. Perhaps even more revealingly, the vast majority of Christians took on the label during childhood. This makes clear why the Church of England is desperate to expand its role in schools.
Some powerful Christians are not responding well to these long-term trends. The row over two Christian parents who withdrew their children from school because another child was wearing a dress should only have been a parochial story. But thanks to the efforts of Christian lobbying groups, the risible claim that their religious rights had been violated was given national attention.
The religious lobby commonly claims victimhood where none exists, and we will continue to be alert to this tactic. The religious should be expected to give the same justification for their views as anyone else – a point well made by Isabel Hardman and the LA Times editorial board in our essays of the week.
We must also remain vigilant of fundamentalists from other faiths who wish to assert their own worldview. We need, as Janice Turner puts it in one of our quotes of the week, a clear set of rules under which everyone can live. This is why we signed a letter to the Sunday Times last week calling for a robust response to the rise of the hijab in primary schools.
It is why we submitted evidence to a House of Lords select committee calling on politicians to make secularist principles the basis of plans for civic engagement. And on the international day of democracy, it is why we reaffirm our commitment to citizens' equal value as individuals, universal human rights, the rule of law and the separation of religion and politics.