Britain is no longer a Christian country and must be “systematically de-Christianised”, says major inquiry

The UK must stop acting as if it is a Christian country says top judge

Britain is no longer a Christian country and must stop acting as if it still is, a major inquiry has recommended.

The report, which took two years to produce, involved consulting top religious leaders of all faiths, government ministers, and the media, and says that a “new settlement” is needed in the UK to give more official influence to atheists and those of non-Christian faith.  

It found that just two in five people in Britain now identify themselves as Christian, and 50% of all people do not identify with any religion.

The report set out a number of recommendations, including:

  • The abolition of the compulsory act of worship in schools
  • Reducing the number of children given places at schools based on religion in order to phase out faith schools
  • Introduction of rules to stop educational syllabuses from “sanitising” religions that reinforce negative stereotypes around gender, ethnicity and race
  • Guidance for universities on promoting free speech without students having to fear being labelled “extremists”
  • Cutting the number of C of E bishops in the House of Lords, and giving places to rabbis, imams and other non-Christian clerics
  • Overhauling the coronation ceremony to include other faiths
  • Greater protection for women in Sharia courts and other religious tribunals
  • Introducing non-religious messages to BBC Radio 4’s Thought For The Day

The Commission on Religion and Belief in Public Life report was chaired by the former senior judge Baroness Butler-Sloss as well as patrons of the Commission including Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Woolf, the former chief justice, and Sir Iqbal Sacranie, the former general secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain.

The recommendations have sparked a furious reaction from the Church of England and from the Conservative government.

A spokesperson for the Church of England described the report as a “sad waste”, adding that it had “fallen captive to liberal rationalism”, the Telegraph reports.

In a statement on its website the Church of England welcomed calls for “greater religious literacy”, but criticised other findings in the report.

It said: “The report is dominated by the old fashioned view that traditional religion is declining in importance and that non-adherence to a religion is the same as humanism or secularism.”

Meanwhile, Education secretary Nicky Morgan is apparently less than impressed. A source said Morgan found the report “ridiculous”, and added: “Nicky is one of the biggest champions of faith schools and anyone who thinks she is going to pay attention to these ridiculous recommendations is sorely misguided.”

But the National Secular Society’s Keith Porteous Wood said the report did not go far enough. He said: “There are some sensible recommendations in the commission’s report, but there is no escaping that the commission is composed of vested interests and is unlikely to make recommendations for any radical change.

“Disestablishing the Church of England should be a minimum ambition for a modern Britain in the 21st century.”

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Readers' comments (3)

  • Some good ideas - But there should be no religious appointed people in the House of Lords, its a basic insult to democracy. The House of Lords should simply be a democratically elected body!

    The should have also said that Sharia or any other religious court has no place in our society and should be made illegal.

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  • So the taxpayer paid for 2 years of consultation and that's the best they can come up with? Seriously? How about doing something useful with that time such as discussing the practicalities of combatting religious extremism?

    BBC's Thought for the day is just 2 minutes a day. That's 0.14% of programming on just one radio channel. Given that about 5% of the population do attend some sort of church service that's hardly unreasonable. So how much money did we pay out for them to discuss that gem?

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  • Anonymous

    This is Britain giving up all of it's historical and cultural values and identity in order to please an influential and vocal minority group of atheists who are determined to rid the country of it's past. Perhaps the legal and judicial system which has relied heavily on Christian values over the centuries should be abolished. I'm all for separation of church and state but not when you start trying to throw rings around a certain religion which you no longer adhere to. If Christians, Jews or Muslims or Sikhs want their own faith schools that is fine, presumably democracy means freedom of speech and worship and to follow your own faith and not have another philosophy such as atheism foisted on you. What is happening is atheists and humanists have an anti-religion agenda which they are trying to foist on society through crap reports like this. In a democracy you should be free to believe what you want to believe and should not and cannot be forced or social engineered by the state or by a group of anti-religionists into unbelief. Atheism is also a belief in something and so is humanism, in both senses they are religions or belief systems and are dangerous doctrines in themselves the evidence of atheism as a state religion and its devastating impact on society can be clearly seen in the ex Soviet Union, North Korea and China.

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