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Thu Feb 21, 2013, 08:35 AM

Britain’s 10 worst violations of religious equality

Religious equality — the idea that people should not be treated any more or less favourably because of their religious opinions — is a fundamental principle in any modern liberal democracy. It is written into the American Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights. Everyone is agreed on it. Aren’t they?

Well no, unfortunately not. Owing to Britain’s long heritage of religious privilege there are still many instances of the state treating the non-religious less favourably. Here are the ten worst violations of religious equality in the United Kingdom today:

(1) Admission to taxpayer-funded schools: Even though the non-religious pay the same taxes as the religious they have worse access to taxpayer-funded schools. This is actually deliberate and legal. The government put special exemptions into the 2010 Equality Act enabling “faith” schools to treat pupils unequally according to their parents’ religion. About a quarter of state schools are “faith” schools, and often a non-religious family can only send their children to one if it is undersubscribed, even if they live next door.

<snip>


http://coelsblog.wordpress.com/2013/02/19/britains-10-worst-violations-of-religious-equality/

We, too, have a long way to go...

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Response to mr blur (Original post)


Response to Fortinbras Armstrong (Reply #1)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 09:16 AM

2. Do you think that clergy should be able to vote on legislation?

Is it really "whining" to object to that?

Defend your attack.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #2)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 09:26 AM

4. Aww, another one of his posts got hidden. Color me surprised.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #2)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 10:23 AM

5. I was going to point this out

to a few people who regularly upbraid others for lack of "civility". Seems like just the sort of thing they should be exercising their authority over, yes?

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #5)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 11:41 AM

6. This is one of the things I like about DU3.

Any member can go and read the post (especially the original, unedited version) to see just how uncivil he was.

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Response to Fortinbras Armstrong (Reply #1)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 09:22 AM

3. It's outright discrimination

And no one who cares about their own freedoms should stand for it.

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Response to mr blur (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 11:50 AM

7. I'm confused. Many of our UK members here are frequently crowing that the

UK is so much more secular and much more accepting of non-believers, but this article would lead one to believe that that is not true at all.

Which is it?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #7)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 12:11 PM

8. People are accepting of non-believers, but religion gets official privilege

especially the Church of England. I don't know which UK members you're referring to, but I frequently complain about the privileges that religion gets here. What we don't get here is social shunning of atheists, extremist employers who discriminate against atheists (apart from the occasional church-run school, perhaps).

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #8)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 12:24 PM

9. I see the distinction, I think.

I guess there is no equivalent to the bible belt or pockets of deep fundamentalism like there are here, but the legal system is still caught up in the past.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #7)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 03:45 AM

11. It is a bit of a paradox

The UK doesn't have official church-state separation; the USA does. Nevertheless, there is in general more active intrusion of religion into politics in the USA, and atheists are generally more accepted in the UK. This is partly because there are a lot more atheists and agnostics, and fewer regular churchgoers in the UK; and partly because the Church of England is overall more liberal and less aggressive than some of the active churches in the USA.

It is, however, important to remember that 'the USA' and 'the UK' are not monoliths. I will leave to Americans to describe the USA situation accurately, but it's obvious to me that there is a huge difference between states and regions as regards the influence of the religious right. For that matter, non-Brits should beware of equating 'the UK' with 'London', and, for example, the influence of the religious right in Northern Ireland is probably just as great as almost anywhere in the USA.

But overall, there is much less religious-right activism (hardly any 'televangelism', for example) and much more tolerance for nonbelievers in the UK. Nonetheless, the lack of church-state separation does lead to worrying legal anomalies, as described in the article.

More worrying to me, is the rise of the political pro-life movement, and its frequent association with homophobia. Not very successful politically - Parliament voted overwhelmingly to keep our fairly liberal abortion laws, and to establish gay marriage, and our Tory Prime Minister supported both. (I wish the economic Right was half as ineffective here!!!) But they can be thoroughly nasty.

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Response to LeftishBrit (Reply #11)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 01:28 PM

13. Thanks so much for this coherent explanation.

Makes the whole thing much clearer.

So, without the first amendment protections like we have in the US, the growth or encroachment of the religious right must be pretty ominous.

Sounds like this article is right on target in terms of addressing some of the current issues which could become huge if the PM gets his way.

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Response to mr blur (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 12:17 AM

10. The article didn't even mention...

that a Catholic can't become the monarch. Apparently they are worried about him/her taking orders from Rome

But it has always seemed to me that rights in the UK are a little bit hazy, given the odd constitution they have.

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Response to goldent (Reply #10)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 03:50 AM

12. Or rather the constitution we don't have! That is one aspect of your political system that I'd like.

The reason why a Catholic can't be monarch is mainly to do with the fact the Monarch is supposedly head of both church and state, so that the Church of England would in theory cease to exist as an independent organization and revert to being a branch of the Catholic Church. Church-state separation would remove that problem. As would the abolition of the monarchy, of course!

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Response to LeftishBrit (Reply #12)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 01:32 PM

14. My British husband has repeatedly told me that the ruling monarch IS the constitution.

This is a concept I find very silly and have never quite truly understood.

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Response to mr blur (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 08:17 PM

15. The UK has an official, state religion (the Church of England) of which the Queen is the head.

Is it really that surprising that stuff like prayers in public schools happens there?

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