Secularism for the UK

The state should be divorced from religion. As we know all religions don't believe in equal rights for women and many repressed minorities. Therefore, why do we continue to let religion have such a powerful say in how our country is run? Why are there 26 non-elected male Bishops in the House of Lords? Why are faith schools being supported by taxpayers money? Why is gender segregation being allowed in publically funded places like the LSE and many other university student unions? We should have a secular state and contitution which would actually solve a lot of the religious problems we have in the UK today. Why are people able to claim their "religious right" to discriminate against gays, abortion, and women in general?

(and why are you using Crowdcity to gather this information, when it wants to be able to update my profile and post tweets on my behalf? This is not a democratic way of collecting information)

Christine Farquharson Apr 6, 2015

To start off phase 2, here is a summary of some of the things said in phase one. Please remember to vote on ideas and comments so that idea authors have an idea of what changes the community deems most important!

- john.smith.tetley: religion has no place in modern society (4 up, 5 down)

- steveg33: society has evolved from centring on the church to broader pluralism. But embracing secularism as an ideal can separate religion and the state, which could encourage parallel societies, and secularism itself can become an 'absolutist ideology' (2 up)

- GavinRuss: Balance is important, but embracing secularism doesn't imply competition with religion - people can have multiple identities. Also, people change religion throughout their lives and a constitution should respect/reflect this. (1 up)

- LibertyscottUK: protect individual rights (to discriminate in private life based on religious beliefs, to freely express negative opinions about religion). Separation of religion and state is legitimate, but politicians should be allowed to justify their policies on religious grounds. (2 up)

- TomPeach-Geraghty: Allowing religiously-based discrimination in private life creates a slippery slope where e.g. supermarkets refuse to serve black people. People have the right to their beliefs, but their beliefs cannot impinge on others (1 down)

Michael Griffith Apr 8, 2015

Religion is entirely a matter for the individual. Government should be completely separate from religion and should not interfere with or discriminate against a citizen's religion. The Constitution should guarantee freedom of religious belief and expression, while of course not allowing harm of one person by another in the name of religion.

Andrew Bulovsky Apr 13, 2015

With only one week remaining in the refining stage, the facilitators will draft some language for this idea. We'll do everything we can to redraft the original submission in line with your comments and suggestions. If the original poster would like to take over the idea they are more than welcome to at any point. Please do comment to offer suggestions on specific wording and to guide us on which suggestions should take priority (by voting them up/down).

"Parliament shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

Michael Griffith Apr 13, 2015

Perfect wording! However, there are existing laws and precedents, for example that establish the Church Of England as the state religion and the Head of State as the head of this church. Therefore perhaps we need to add the words "Any such laws and precedents that pre-date this Constitution are hereby nullified."

steveg33 Apr 13, 2015

While agreeing with the overall sentiment, I think this proposal is too absolute. Denying all groups with organised beliefs (including atheism, humanism etc) any relationship with the state, can only foster division and intolerance that arise from parallel exclusive societies who see themselves as 'separate'.

Is there nowhere within this idea to accommodate a sub-clause that says 'organised religions and beliefs, while having no special privileges, carry responsibilities to ensure their practices are not in conflict with the principles of good citizenship'

P Terry Apr 18, 2015

Enforcement and proof are the problems I think

John Robertson Apr 18, 2015

Readers may be interested in Separation of Church and State - talking about state-funded faith groups at the moment.