Updated Monday afternoon and evening, Tuesday evening, Friday evening
The Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life has published its report this morning: Living with Difference: community, diversity and the common good. The report is 104 pages long, but there is a three-page executive summary at the beginning.
The Commission was convened by the Woolf Institute, Cambridge, to:
a) consider the place and role of religion and belief in contemporary Britain, and the significance of emerging trends and identities
b) examine how ideas of Britishness and national identity may be inclusive of a range of religions and beliefs, and may in turn influence peoples self-understanding
c) explore how shared understandings of the common good may contribute to greater levels of mutual trust and collective action, and to a more harmonious society
d) make recommendations for public life and policy.
Press Release from the Commission: UK needs ‘New Settlement’ for religion & belief says Butler-Sloss
Ed Kessler, founder and director of the Woolf Institute, writes for The Huffington post UK about Living With Difference.
Jonathan Owen Independent Britain is no longer just a Christian country, says major report
Harriet Sherwood The Observer Top judge leads calls to scrap mandatory daily Christian worship in UK schools
The Guardian Coronation of next monarch should reflect ‘less Christian’ Britain, report says
John Bingham and Steven Swinford The Telegraph Britain is no longer a Christian country and should stop acting as if it is, says judge
reactions to the report
Church of England Response to report from Commission on Religion & Belief in British Public Life
[copied below the fold]
Angus Ritchie and Shana Cohen (who are two members of the Commission) The Guardian Don’t be suspicious of faith-based charities – let us speak truth to power
Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith Catholic Herald The Corab report is grossly unfair to Catholic schools
Caroline Wyatt BBC News We should do God, says report into religion in public life
John Dickens Schools Week Religion should have the same importance as English and maths, new study claims
Charles Moore The Telegraph We need more religion in our schools, not less
Chloe Farand Independent Mandatory Christian prayers in schools ‘should be axed’
Eliza Filby The Telegraph Faith integration is bad enough in Britain; reducing the role of the Church will only make it worse
Tim Wyatt and Margaret Holness Church Times ‘New settlement needed to overhaul public life’
[updated article and link]
The Guardian editorial The Guardian view on religion in public life: education may be the answer
Andrew Lightbown Some issues with Butler-Sloss
Frank Cranmer Law & Religion UK The CORAB report: Living with Difference
Richard Harries Church Times Faith now is more about food than beliefs
Church of England press release
Response to report from Commission on Religion & Belief in British Public Life
07 December 2015
We welcome the call in this report for greater religious literacy and the highlighting of the scale of social action by the Church – as well as its recommendation that where a religious organisation is best placed to deliver a social good, it should not be disadvantaged.
“We also welcome the acknowledgement that the establishment of the Church of England has helped the integration of non-Christian perspectives in British society and helped them to make their voices heard in the public sphere. The Church of England, through its dioceses, parishes and at national level has been at the forefront of work to increase understanding between the different faiths.
“We are however disappointed that the report misunderstands the role of Church of England schools in providing a rounded education to more than a million pupils from all backgrounds as part of our commitment to the common good. If there is a significant problem with our schools it is that many of them are so popular that they are oversubscribed and not every parent who wants to can send their children to one.
“The report also misunderstands collective worship in schools. We believe that if the law on collective worship were repealed schools would risk losing this vital element of shaping a community that reflects the full breadth of human experience. We know, for example, that the response of many schools to the horror of the Paris attacks will have been in the context of collective worship.
“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.
“In a fortnight where we have seen overwhelming public support for the Church of England over the Lord’s Prayer cinema advert, it is important to remember that most public opinion is strongly opposed to the marginalisation of Christianity.
Blog by Nigel Genders, Church of England Chief Education Officer
Blog by Dr Malcolm Brown, Director of Mission & Public Affairs