Just over a year ago, the Woolf Institute’s Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life, chaired by Baroness Butler-Sloss and otherwise known as CORAB, published Living with Difference: community, diversity and the common good. On 17 January, the University of Warwick’s Department of Politics and International Studies formally launched A Secularist Response to the Commission on Religion in Public Life, based on the outcome of panel discussions in March 2016 chaired by Dr Steven Kettell. The report addresses three main areas: vision; education and media; and dialogue, action and law. As might be deduced from the title, its main conclusions are as follows:
- Given its declining cultural standing, religion should not be accorded the same status in schools as core subjects such as reading and maths.
- Faith schools should be ended; they foster segregation and have a negative impact on social cohesion.
- Attempts to dictate the way that religion is reported by the press should be resisted and there should be no guidelines on minimum hours for religious broadcasts in the BBC charter.
- Public funds should not be used to promote religious viewpoints and should only be used to support interfaith dialogue where there is a clear social purpose.
- Existing exemptions from equalities legislation allowing discrimination by religious bodies on the grounds of belief should be repealed.
- Citizens who use religious tribunals should be made fully aware of their rights in civil law.
The purpose of the response, say its authors, is
“to provide a critical counterweight to the CORAB recommendations and ensure a secular viewpoint can be heard in the ongoing debate about the role of religion in British public life. It emphasises an alternative secularist framework to ensure that the rights and freedoms of all citizens are afforded equal weight and protection.”
A summary of its policy implication is available here.
Since there have been no adverse comments on the six conclusions of The Secular Response to CORAB may we assume they are accepted nem con?
I shouldn’t have thought so.
Christian bloggers aren’t usually so shy.
I don’t think many “Christian bloggers” follow us. We’re an academic legal blog, not a “Christian” one.
Frank… a recent blog :-
1. Philip S on 24 January 2017 at 12:55 pm said:
Without a belief in religion, my Christian viewpoint, life is made cheap and disposable in a throwaway society that values only purchases and disposals. etc. etc. etc.
I wrote a response to that… I can’t find either on the site now. If you decided to delete both of these you have my full support.
I wish to respond to Jonathan Chaplin’s paper on the Warwick University response to CORAB but am awaiting a reply to my request to the NSS on how it did or did not interact with CORAB
Yes: we certainly get comments from avowed Christians, as we do from avowed atheists and agnostics. But, as I say, I still don’t think many overtly “Christian” bloggers follow us as a matter of routine. A few certainly do – as we can see from occasional pingbacks – but there are a tremendous number of religious blogs out there.
We’ll be interested to read your comments on Jonathan Chaplin’s post on CORAB. “Let a thousand flowers bloom” and all that!
(And if you read my piece on Public Spirit, Reasonable accommodation for religion in employment and provision of services? you’ll see that I have reservations as well.)
PS: Philip S’s comment and your reply are here: https://www.lawandreligionuk.com/2017/01/24/a-secularist-response-to-corab-recommendations-at-odds-with-the-realities-of-twenty-first-century-life-in-britain/.