Separation of Church and State

CURRENT DRAFT: People of all faiths and no faith shall have equal rights; and faith organisations shall have neither a more nor less favoured status within government or society as a whole solely on the basis of their faith-based nature. Faith groups should not provide public services without proof that their services are impartial and their funding fair.

PREVIOUS VERSION: People of all faiths and no faith shall have equal rights; and faith organisations shall have neither a more nor less favoured status within government or society as a whole solely on the basis of their faith-based nature. 

 

 

 

In practice, the UK is nowadays a secular society, and the Church has little to no involvement in policy making or execution, other than a few notable exeptions in the House of Lords, where they can have significant influence when they vote as a bloc on certain issues, notably abortion and euthanasia.

Whether we retain the Lords Spiritual in the House or not (and I hope not), the principle of the separation of Church and State should certainly be enshrined in the constitution.

 

Note from Moderators: We have been unable to make contact with the community member who originally submitted this idea and there have been no edits to their submission so far in the refining phase. With only one week remaining this idea has now been taken under the stewardship of the project facilitators for this challenge (the original idea authors are invited to resume ownership of the idea at any point). We will now work to redraft the original submission in line with your comments and suggestions. We will make no substantive contributions to the actual idea content, but instead will seek to clarify and make more concise the original submission. Please do use the comments below to offer suggestions on specific wording and to guide us on which suggestions should take priority (by voting comments up/down).

edited on Apr 17, 2015 by Cecilia Rossler

Jeremy Wells Apr 7, 2015

I don't think the church should even be mentioned in the constitution. The church should be disestablished as a logical consequence of the abolition of the monarchy. I do not believe a faith organisation should have any influence in matters of government - where they do have influence among the world's nations there is always conflict.

Mario Chávez Apr 7, 2015

Since a constitution is strictly a broad governing law that gives authority to all the governing institutions in a country, yes, mentioning religion, churches or any groups would be tantamount to showing special attention or favor towards the same.

Speaking of undue influence, one big problem we have in USA is gerrymandering, which is the undue manipulation by certain public officials to change the district voting boundaries to skew certain areas in their favor. A proviso against such undemocratic practice should be included in the constitution.

Cecilia Rossler Apr 8, 2015

Note to all users: We are now in Phase II of this project. If an idea has reached this stage, it has been accepted in principle and the aim is now to refine the idea into a succinct clause that could go in the constitution. You may still cast votes, but we ask that you refrain from debating the overall merits of the idea in the comments section.

Cecilia Rossler Apr 10, 2015

Do you think the idea could be incorporated here? https://constitutionuk.com/category/view#/post/87774. It is worded as follows:

 

"Religion/faith and god/s and any of their unelected, unaccountable power/s should  not be protected in the constitution, as they are very undemocratic, discriminatory, very oppressive, restrictive and not accountable in court.

Or

Atheists & humanists should have the EQUAL rights as religious people and their god/s. (Please ensure that EQUALITY is FOR EVERYONE whether people are religious or not, god or no god)

People have rights, religion/faith/god don't. The so call god/s is almighty and powerful, if so, god/s can take care of him/herself and does not need protection from our human constitution."

BananaPlant Apr 11, 2015

Yes Cecilia.

Fiona Condon Apr 10, 2015

The two ideas are closely linked and could be combined into but both strands, lack of protection for faiths and separation of church and state need to be mentioned.

Separation of church and state would have to mean the abolition of the Lords Spiritual. These doesn't mean that the same people couldn't sit in the second chamber by some mean other that falling into it because of their position in the CoE.

Rob G Apr 11, 2015

Everyone's concentrating on the Lords Spiritual, but there's a lot more to "establishment" than that. To pick one from the debate on equal marriage, the Church of England (and, oddly, the Church in Wales) is obliged to marry all "non-disqualified" (straight) couples who present themselves - and to do so without a visit to the local Registrar. Parliament has to approve Church of England law ("Measures"), the Prime Minister is involved in appointing CofE Bishops, etc., etc.

It would be good to see some of those implications looked at here.

John Robertson Apr 11, 2015

I agree. "policy making and execution" is mentioned above.

Should faith groups be allowed to execute new taxpayer-funded services?
If so, can any form of words prevent the state from chanelling public services through a faith group for reasons of loyalty or to drum-up party support?
This is a real problem in Tower Hamlets and Richmond on Thames I think.
I don't think any form of words can make faith-fun services fair, so I think the problem is to phase-out new contracts without annoying the most long-established faith schools and such that exist.

Fiona Condon Apr 11, 2015

I'm not sure what you're getting at here but (not being familiar wthi Tower Hamelts and Richmond on Thames) but would https://constitutionuk.com/category/view#/post/87774

People of all faiths and no faith shall have equal rights and faith organisations shall have no special position within government or society as a whole.

get round this problem?

What about faith-based charities that might do perfectly good and undiscriminatory work but have faith backing?

John Robertson Apr 11, 2015

A general statement would not get around this problem:

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/nov/...l-alleged-fraud : central government imposes power on Tower Hamlets Council after Panorama reports maladministration. Reports do not mention faith groups and the groups may all have been non-faith, but they were chosen to attract favour from a part of the electorate.

What about? Is a good next point!
The people providing the services need to demonstrate that they are not
- prone to making donations to other aligned organisations, or
- providing a bad cheap service in order to get the deal and gain influence, nor
- providing a good service but given it for bad reasons.
- Then there is a large number of schools who use their faith status to justify selection, often overtly favouring those who do volunteer work for the same faith group or attend services. A quick google finds a lot about this. I once found a faith school with instructions on how to join the faith and re-assurance that it was not hypocrytical to do it for the tactical reason of getting a school place.

It's good that the criticism of Tower Hamlets is well documented on Panorama with credibility backed by central government intervention, and it's good that the process of favouring one community is used to discribe the process rather than favouring one faith.

Anyway, I just raise the issue for people who are better at finding consensus and choosing forms of words.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- added 12.4.12
Can of worms - issues that a constitution will be tested against

  • the new law that councils should minute "prayers" in their meetings
    http://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2015/01/bil...-clears-commons
  • creeping power: the fact that only one MP stood-up to oppose the bill! This shows a kind of unspoken rule of a kind I'd expect in Ireland in the 1940s rather than the UK now, and the creeping power of unspoken reasons for decisions, self-censorship of criticisms for fear of causing offense, and faith groups that promote networking, adds importance to all the other little laws that exist to favour faith groups.
  • employment law exemptions, denying sub-groups within faith groups and their staff the right to be female and an area manager (women bishops), the right to be gay and and have anti-discrimation laws to use in some jobs - a whole bundle of laws and practices which I don't pretend to understand or explain well.
  • televised civic ceremonies involving senior MPs and one faith group
  • very slow movement towards equal laws for gay people over the past decades on subjects from cruising to marriage
  • suspect decisions by councils in withdrawing licences for gay cruising clubs or bars, and pruning-away bushes near cruising areas. Only a week ago a club called Jackhammer in Southwark closed because of a licence dispute with Southwark Council. The same anti-lewd prejudice that I link with religeon also applies to licencing of straight sex clubs and sex shops.
  • the fund from taxpayers' money for paying VAT on churches and faith group's building repairs: http://www.lpwscheme.org.uk/ Wikipedia says
    "On 17 May 2012 the Church of England welcomed an agreement with the government over the future funding of alterations and repairs to its 12,500 listed buildings, providing an extra £30 million a year on top of the £12 million already granted by the government to the Church of England in the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme (LPWGS)" This replaces total VAT exemption up to 2012. 
  • the subsidy granted in the budget for cathedral maintentance, (at a time of cuts in housing benefit). I don't know what budget heading this comes under but the CofE wiki pages says ""cathedrals and other famous churches have met some of their maintenance costs with grants from organisations such as English Heritage"".
  • the charitable tax status granted to faith groups for suspect reasons, such as opening the church once a month for a mozart concert and saying that they are make a historic building available to the public.
  • faith used as an excuse for some groups of parents to set-up selective schools from taxpayer funding
  • faith school access used as an excuse by some denominations to get attendence at services, donations that go alongside, and volunteer work out of prospective parents. The donations may be to organisations like CAFOD which remain silent about the need for condoms in the third world.
  • serious consideration by some MPs given to the idea of charitable tax status for all faith groups, regardless of charitable work. (Peter Bone MP also voted to ban the Bhurka in public places - I don't know how he combines the two opinions!)
  • the growing TV coverage of one faith group in particular, and the denominations of it that have leaders, in a state that is largely faithless
  • the appointment of someone with a known faith as governor of the BBC without any specific balance among colleagues
  • the manipulated language of public surveys which encourage people to write down birth culture as a believed faith. I go-on at great length on these last few points here http://qr.ae/60W1o if anyone likes detail.
  • the discrimination against boys and girls who want a civil partnership but have to call something similar "marriage" with all its historical baggage.
  • the wierd future of such a system in a world where large groups of people move about a lot, resettling and taking their faiths with them to form majorities in small areas. My fear is of the monotheist, nerdy, prescriptive faiths. Most of the others are easy to live alongside!

Rob G Apr 13, 2015

If there's to be a right to hold and manifest religious beliefs, there's surely no legitimate reason to discriminate against religious people or bodies solely on the basis that they hold a religious belief? If they refuse to agree to treat all potential clients equally, however, that might well be a reason to exclude them - but it's not on account of their faith-based nature.

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Cecilia Rossler Apr 12, 2015

Note from Moderators: We have been unable to make contact with the community member who originally submitted this idea and there have been no edits to their submission so far in the refining phase. With only one week remaining this idea has now been taken under the stewardship of the project facilitators for this challenge (the original idea authors are invited to resume ownership of the idea at any point). We will now work to redraft the original submission in line with your comments and suggestions. We will make no substantive contributions to the actual idea content, but instead will seek to clarify and make more concise the original submission. Please do use the comments below to offer suggestions on specific wording and to guide us on which suggestions should take priority (by voting comments up/down).

Fiona Condon Apr 12, 2015

I agree that the sort of nonsense at Tower Hamlets needs to be prevented.

Most of the issues that you mention would be catered for by separation of church and state and by removing special privileges or faiths. Perhaps faith schools need to be specifically addressed.

I don't have any problems with anything you have said but there is a limit to how much detail the constituion can go into.

Users tagged:

Cecilia Rossler Apr 12, 2015

Hello all, as mentioned above, the original creator of the idea seems to have disappeared from the platform so I have now taken over editing this idea. I will do my best to remain true to the user's intentions, as much as we can deduce them.I think a lot of specific issues have been raised, but we have to bear in mind that as this will be a clause in the constitution, under the values section, that any idea we come up with together should express just that - a value. If we could focus on coming up with specific wording that would be great, as we only have a week left.

 

One user suggested: 

People of all faiths and no faith shall have equal rights and faith organisations shall have no special position within government or society as a whole.

This seems like an excellent starting point that encapsulates the original idea and much of the discussion that was had in the previous phase. If people could comment on what they think of the wording of this, that would be fantastic.

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BananaPlant Apr 13, 2015

"People of all faiths and no faith shall have equal rights and faith organisations shall have no special position within government or society as a whole."

I like that.

Rob G Apr 12, 2015

Would it be appropriate to clarify that whilst no religious organisation should be unduly favoured, neither should an organisation be treated any less favourably merely because it has a faith origin? As opposed to not being prepared to operate on the same terms as another organisation?

Cecilia Rossler Apr 13, 2015

Personally I think the wording above ensures that they would be treated as any other organisation, but I understand your worry. Could you suggest a wording you would prefer?

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Rob G Apr 13, 2015

How about:

People of all faiths and no faith shall have equal rights; and faith organisations shall not have either more or less favoured status within government or society as a whole solely on the basis of their faith-based nature.

Cecilia Rossler Apr 13, 2015

Thanks robg8, thats very helpful - what do other people think?

Fiona Condon Apr 13, 2015

That sounds good to me.

Cecilia Rossler Apr 14, 2015

I have put it in the description, but of course, edits are still welcome.

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John Robertson Apr 13, 2015

The National Secular Society charter:

  • There is no established state religion.
  • Everyone is equal before the law, regardless of religion, belief or non-belief.
  • The judicial process is not hindered or replaced by religious codes or processes.
  • Freedom of expression is not restricted by religious considerations.
  • Religion plays no role in state-funded education, whether through religious affiliation of schools, curriculum setting, organised worship, religious instruction, pupil selection or employment practices.
  • The state does not express religious beliefs or preferences and does not intervene in the setting of religious doctrine.
  • The state does not engage in, fund or promote religious activities or practices.
  • There is freedom of belief, non-belief and to renounce or change religion.
  • Public and publicly-funded service provision does not discriminate on grounds of religion, belief or non-belief.
  • Individuals and groups are neither accorded privilege nor disadvantaged because of their religion, belief or non-belief.

-------------------- I'd like to add a Cromwell and Queen Mary clause and an employment clause

  • public officials adopt no irrational loyalty that hinders their duty of fairness (the Cromwell and Queen Mary clause)
  • employment law shall not allow discrimination by members of a faith group against other members of a faith group or their staff (maybe with a small get-out clause)

-------------------- before discovering the national secular society text I had a go myself .

  • citizens shall be equal in law without favour of disfavour for religous belief alone in a secular state.
  • tax-funded services shall be allocated to individuals without favour or disfavour for religous belief, (except for a transitional period for the longest-established faith-run services)
  • tax-funded grants, subcontracts, and tax-allowances such as charitable status will be allocated to organisations without favour for faith groups
  • the faith of a child shall not be assumed to be the faith of the parent

 

Fiona Condon Apr 13, 2015

I don't disagree wih any of that and and employment clause would be good though I suppose we would have to allow faith groups to appoint people of their own faith as priests, rabbis etc. I'm not sure that I understand the Cromwell and Queen Mary clause.

I suppose it comes down to whether we want to spell everything out or keep it short and snappy.

John Robertson Apr 13, 2015

public officials adopt no irrational loyalty that hinders their duty of fairness

Might cover Blair awarding "capacity building" grants to faith groups: someone could have asked him if he had an irrational loyalty. Or before he reserrected the Vatican Embassy. Or the person at the BBC who has introduced so much faith coverage. Or Cromwell and Queen Mary who murdered rival faith groups out of irrational loyalty to their own. I think that if challenged about motives, each of them might have come-up with some very strange answers and have more chance of being challenged or dissuaded.

Sorry to have proposed so much - I just cut and pasted because it all looked good!

Cecilia Rossler Apr 14, 2015

Update: This idea is currently phrased as People of all faiths and no faith shall have equal rights; and faith organisations shall not have either more or less favoured status within government or society as a whole solely on the basis of their faith-based nature.

All comments are welcome, although bear in mind that at this stage comments should refer to the specific wording (we only have 4 days left!)

BananaPlant Apr 15, 2015

Hi Cecilia,

I am not sure about about it, because there is a danger that their (religious) irrationality bits could be treated equally as well through the back door.

Rob G Apr 16, 2015

How?

John Robertson Apr 16, 2015

I can't answer for bananaplant, but back-door joining of church and state includes

- happening to fund schools in a complicated way that favours faith groups

- happening to write a census form in a way that gets skewed results

- happening to be guardians of a broadcasting organisation that is seldom quiet about one of the faith groups.

- happening to appoint James Anderton as chief constable of Manchester Police

So I agree with bananaplant that we need clauses, as in France, to stop control of bits of the state by faith groups through the back door.

Saeeda Bukhari Apr 16, 2015

As with any other lobby, which seeks to take key positions in organisations to advance a lobby cause, ideological lobbies or faith based lobbies need to be kept out of political rule, when it favours one group above another.

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John Robertson Apr 16, 2015

Assuming that I / we / anyone doesn't come-up with shorter wording in the next 3 days, then I think we're fine with long wording except my clause about irrational faiths, so I'll just cover that bit.

How about:

Oaths of office. Where officials are required to swear an oath of allegence, they shall swear not to allow any faith - considered irrational by a large proportion of the population - to alter their judgement.

That covers the favoured status of individuals who think they have the right to impose irrational views on others because they think their faith is a special privilaged case. The bit I called the Cromwell and Mary clause. I don't know who swears oaths of allegence but think it's probably MPs, heads of state, army officers, and possibly judges.

Sorry not to have come-up with a short form of words for the rest yet.

Saeeda Bukhari Apr 16, 2015

Define irrational, all faiths argue that they are rational. I would go back to John Locke for this, separate Church/Faith institution from state.

Enshrine Tolerance, that for those who believe in faiths, that each individual is responsible for their own judgement with God and for no other individual.

And then encompass rules on faith lobby power/networks, and ensure that safeguards are in place to prevent back door dominance to the detriment of democracy in Media, Politics, Bureaucracy, Military, Education, Culture and Law.

Cecilia Rossler Apr 17, 2015

To all users: Please note this phase ends in 1 day. By the end of this phase we need a finalised, concise, clear clause that can go into the constitution. Thank you for your contributions.

 

This idea is currently phrased as: People of all faiths and no faith shall have equal rights; and faith organisations shall not have either more or less favoured status within government or society as a whole solely on the basis of their faith-based nature.

Users tagged:

BananaPlant Apr 17, 2015

I go along with that.

Cecilia Rossler Apr 17, 2015

To the users that are worried about 'backdoor' influence, how about simply adding a clause that says 'The state shall not actively promulgate or denigrate any religious faith"? 

I think we should stay away from the word 'irrational'; I think it is disrespectful to faith groups, and as one user mentioned, faith groups do see themselves as rational

As I said above, there is only one day left, so please keep your comments on wording, not content.

BananaPlant Apr 17, 2015

"The state shall not actively promulgate or denigrate any religious faith"

I go along with that.

John Robertson Apr 17, 2015

Wouldn't work I think.

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John Robertson Apr 17, 2015

"The state shall publish a secular charter at least as detailed as that for the French Republic. Public and publicly-funded service providers shall not discriminate on grounds of religion, belief or non-belief,and exceptions in employment or other laws for faith groups will be reviewed and minimised"

I don't think we will ever agree here without agreeing the importance of back-door influence, and that a constitution's job is to make it impossible. So we won't agree unfortunately. [this post crossed with the one just above]

Cecilia Rossler Apr 17, 2015

John, the debate earlier seemed to agree that faith groups should be allowed to provide government services if they were the best providers on other grounds. Is your stance that this should not be allowed?

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Saeeda Bukhari Apr 17, 2015

I don't think that it should be encouraged, once you allow one faith access, then other faiths want the same. Then you have lots of different faiths in contention fighting it out. A way round would be multi-faith organisations, committed to tolerance among faiths. Else leave it secular.

John Robertson Apr 17, 2015

"Faith groups should not provide public services without proof that their services are impartial and their funding fair" ?

Going back a step or two, I don't believe in the extra right of faith groups to take offence as a shield against criticism. I take offence at their taking offence.

Cecilia Rossler Apr 17, 2015

To clarify, I take it you do not feel the additional 'anti-backdoor' sentence I suggested works and would prefer adding "Faith groups should not provide public services without proof that their services are impartial and their funding fair" ? 

 

This would make the whole clause: People of all faiths and no faith shall have equal rights; and faith organisations shall not have either more or less favoured status within government or society as a whole solely on the basis of their faith-based nature. Faith groups should not provide public services without proof that their services are impartial and their funding fair.

 

 

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John Robertson Apr 17, 2015

Yes. Thanks for patience

Cecilia Rossler Apr 17, 2015

No problem. Ok, so, the suggested clause on the table now is:

People of all faiths and no faith shall have equal rights; and faith organisations shall not have either more or less favoured status within government or society as a whole solely on the basis of their faith-based nature. Faith groups should not provide public services without proof that their services are impartial and their funding fair.

It would be very useful if people voted on this comment so we know numbers for and against. As always, suggestions on wording are welcome.

 

Tel Apr 17, 2015

I would suggest "shall have neither more nor less favoured status..." as slightly less convoluted and perhaps a tad clearer. Otherwise, fine.

Tel Apr 17, 2015

Actually, for the final sentence ("Faith groups should not provide public services without proof that their services are impartial and their funding fair"), perhaps substitute: "Faith groups may provide certain social or public services only in accordance with [relevant legislation]". The legislation would set out the types of service affected (I'm thinking things like adoption agencies, rather than food banks), and the requirements regarding impartial provision, sources of funding etc. I.e. I think the aim should be responsible oversight rather than heavy-handed bureaucracy.

Cecilia Rossler Apr 17, 2015

Hi Tel, thanks for your suggestion - could you suggest what the relevant legislation would be though? Without that part, the sentence may not have much meaning, and - of course - legislation changes.

 

On your other point, you are right that is less convoluted, and since it does not change the meaning in any way I hope users don't mind shifting this to:

People of all faiths and no faith shall have equal rights; and faith organisations shall have neither a more nor less favoured status within government or society as a whole solely on the basis of their faith-based nature. Faith groups should not provide public services without proof that their services are impartial and their funding fair.

Tel Apr 17, 2015

I imagine it would be just one part of a whole raft of new laws which would need to be passed to underpin the constitution. And as you say, legislation changes over time. I suppose it could say "in accordance with the relevant legislation currently in force," and the legislation itself could specify the constitutional clause it supports, rather than having the clause reference the legislation.

In the sentence as it stands you would surely need to define what constitutes "proof", "impartial" and "fair" - not to mention what is or isn't a "public service". My way, the burden of definition is shifted out of the constitution and into the supporting legislation.

Cecilia Rossler Apr 17, 2015

John, since this sentence was suggested by you, could you suggest a way of incorporating Tel's comments?

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John Robertson Apr 18, 2015

I'm with the majority who don't want taxpayer's cash spent on faith schools.
That's a big wrench for all the back-door influencers that have taken over parts of schooling, social work and even schools counselling, who influence the BBC and tweak the census - it goes on and on.

  • I think that fairness requires heavy-handed lawmaking, French style, and I think the constitution is a place to start as in France, which is the only reason I put a down vote on your reasonable careful comment.
  • I suggest "public funded services": schools and their admissions policies, but not food banks

Others may disagree though.

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Cecilia Rossler Apr 18, 2015

John, would the following take into account your views, and would others be happy with this? (If you prefer another draft, please comment with which one - we only have 12 hours left so we must come to a decision)

Option 1: People of all faiths and no faith shall have equal rights; and faith organisations shall have neither a more nor less favoured status within government or society as a whole solely on the basis of their faith-based nature. Faith groups should only provide publicly funded services if they can prove  services will be provided in line with the principle of secularism.

 

Option 2:

People of all faiths and no faith shall have equal rights; and faith organisations shall not have either more or less favoured status within government or society as a whole solely on the basis of their faith-based nature. Faith groups should not provide public services without proof that their services are impartial and their funding fair.

 

Option 3: People of all faiths and no faith shall have equal rights; and faith organisations shall not have either more or less favoured status within government or society as a whole solely on the basis of their faith-based nature.

Rob G Apr 18, 2015

I'm not sure what "principle of secularism" would mean in practice, but I suspect it would be limited to religious "differentiation". So an organisation wouldn't be able to refuse a service to someone of another faith, or none. That's good, but falls short of impartiality - e.g., a religiously-inspired adoption agency might be banned from refusing to accept people of all faiths as potential parents, but could refuse to accept gay people. I'm not sure that would meet the demands of those supporting this proposal. But, like JohnRobertston, I worry about including "fair" in a constitution - it seems to be the antithesis of clarity, and we'll be forever in the courts.

But it needs to be remembered that this isn't the only clause in the constitution; and if the clause on a general banning of discrimination makes it through, this provision would have to be interpreted alongside that one. For that reason, I'm in favour of Option 3 (and, in the interests of transparency, it is quite close to wording I have previously suggested!).

Saeeda Bukhari Apr 18, 2015

Option Three.

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John Robertson Apr 18, 2015

I vote for option 1 because it mentions taxpayer funding.

I am scared of faith-loyal groups simply distorting the truth, while critics are frightened to cause offence by calling them liars. For example the Catholic Childrens' Society pulled-out of the adoption trade because it refused to follow discrimination law, but was awarded a contract for schools counselling in Richmond on Thames (who are also opening a new catholic secondary school and have a catholic charity running their dementia day centre). "Richmond Council have claimed that staff from the Catholic Children’s Society were committed “first and foremost” to their professional standards and “not by standards of the Catholic Church”. On the other hand if a counsellor isn't put-off applying for the job by the name of the firm - maybe they're sent by an agency - the person specification says "ability to work within and contribute positively to the Ethos of a faith-based organisation"

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2011/06/01/london-b...ing-in-schools/

Cecilia Rossler Apr 18, 2015

Thanks to John and robg8. If other people could say which option they would prefer that would be extremely helpful.

Fiona Condon Apr 18, 2015

I prefer option 1 but only slightly above option 2

Cecilia Rossler Apr 18, 2015

Thanks FionaCondon

Cecilia Rossler Apr 18, 2015

We currently have 2 for option 1 and 2 for option 3, so we need a tiebreaker urgently. The options are:

Option 1: People of all faiths and no faith shall have equal rights; and faith organisations shall have neither a more nor less favoured status within government or society as a whole solely on the basis of their faith-based nature. Faith groups should only provide publicly funded services if they can prove  services will be provided in line with the principle of secularism.

 

Option 3: People of all faiths and no faith shall have equal rights; and faith organisations shall not have either more or less favoured status within government or society as a whole solely on the basis of their faith-based nature.

Tel Apr 18, 2015

Sorry, as it stands I have to go with 3, which I know doesn't solve your problem! But the wording of the last sentence of option 1 is just too woolly and conditional. If you could perhaps recast it as "Faith groups shall (rather than "should") not provide publicly funded services without a legally binding guarantee that said services are provided in line with the principle (principles?) of secularism", then I would vote for option 1 - though like robg8 I have doubts about the "principle/s of secularism" being legally meaningful.

John Robertson Apr 18, 2015

https://constitutionuk.com/post/83109 - perhaps the popularity of this idea could be a tie-breaker?

JimF Apr 18, 2015

I prefer option 1 for the reason given by John Robertson

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