Secularism is a crucial ingredient in a harmonious society in which the state views all citizens equally. Whereas the multifaith approach to public policy risks
sacrificing basic rights and principles, a secular one upholds them.
Tolerance of diversity is important but pursuing multiculturalism as a policy goal creates manifest problems. And in a country as religiously indifferent and
varied as ours it is particularly nonsensical to organise public policy around religious identities.
This is most important in schools. State-funded faith schools encourage children to adopt separatist identities. Community schools are far better equipped to teach
them to see each other's sameness.
We made these points this week when we responded to the government's Integrated Communities Strategy. And we'll keep saying that if policy makers want social
cohesion, they must stand consistently for separation between religion and government.
By Kelly Percival, for Americans United for Separation of Church and State
The US Supreme Court has ruled in favour of Masterpiece Cakeshop, which refused to bake a cake for a same-sex couple's wedding. In a pluralistic society
religious freedom is truly achieved only if businesses remain open to all regardless of their beliefs.
Events in America are making it harder to agree about persecution and whom it afflicts.
Quote of the week
"If, as well as the curtailment on their autonomy which this involves, [women] are carrying a foetus with a fatal abnormality or have been the victims of
rape or incest, they are condemned, because legislation enacted in another era has decreed it, to endure untold suffering and desolation. What is that, if it is
not humiliation and debasement?" Lord
Kerr, Supreme Court judge and former chief justice of NI, on abortion laws in Northern Ireland