Saturday, 30 August 2014

Equality & Human Rights Commission seek evidence

From the

Secular views needed for equality and human rights consultation

You may have noticed a spate of recent articles (e.g. Andrew Brown, Cristina Odone, Dominic Grieve) claiming Christians, in this country are being persecuted and unable to comment about their faith. They blame "hard secularism", our equality laws and the outcome of court cases which they consider to be unsatisfactory or biased against them.

Cristina Odone paints a grim but grossly unrealistic picture of:

The conscientious objector who cannot marry a gay couple because to do so would run counter to her religious beliefs will lose her job; the pharmacist who won't sell the morning-after pill because he thinks abortion is a sin will lose his.
NSS president Terry Sanderson has called this a "disgracefully dishonest narrative", in his piece dismantling common falsehoods and misrepresentations behind these articles and others like them.

Andrew Brown may have been closer to the truth than he realised when he remarked:

The difficulty is that most of the (Evangelical) alliance's cases appear to the outside world to be Christians claiming that unless they can discriminate against gay people, they are themselves the victims of discrimination. This is not a view with wide appeal.
The National Secular Society is encouraging supporters to respond to the Commission's consultation and offer their views and experiences.

It's important that both in the workplace and when we use publicly-funded services such as schools, hospitals and other services provided by local authorities, no-one is treated unfairly or denied access on grounds of religious belief or non-belief.

• Have you been denied (or been unable to apply for) a job or promotion because of your religion, belief or lack of belief?
• Have you been unable to access a public service because of your religion, belief or lack of belief or someone else's?
• Have you or your child had your school choice restricted because of your religion, belief or lack of belief?
• Have you been denied goods or a service because of someone else's religion or beliefs?
• Are you worried that expansions to religious exemptions could prevent you from accessing goods or services?

You can take action to defend principles of secularism and equality by submitting a response to the consultation.
Equality and Human Rights Commission calls for evidence on religion or belief issues

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has launched a major call for evidence from individuals and organisations about how their religion or belief (including non-belief), or that of other people, may have...

Attempts to erode equality and undermine secularist principles must be challenged, argues Stephen Evan

Grievous nonsense

The narrative that Christians are somehow persecuted in the UK – which the Daily Telegraph and former Attorney General Dominic Grieve were happy to promote this week – is a dishonest appeal for privilege, argues NSS president Terry Sanderson.

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