Govt faith group collapses as secularists hijack agenda

An aggressive secular agenda has forced several major church denominations to withdraw from the Government’s advisory body on religion.

The Times reports that The Religion and Belief Consultative Group is on the brink of disbanding following what the Church of England called an “impasse” in meetings between secularists and religious believers.

“The British Humanist Association and the National Secular Society use the group to argue for the exclusion of religious voices from public life”, Dr Malcolm Brown, the Church of England’s representative on the group, said.


Dr Brown added: “Despite the most careful chairing, every meeting has degenerated into an impasse between the secular and the religious voices.

“The group is not fit for purpose as a consultative body.”

The Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church, the Methodist Church and the Salvation Army have all left the group.

Representatives of the Islamic faith had already departed and now only Hindus, Baha’is and secularists remain.


The forum consults with the Equality and Human Rights Commission on a “semi-formal” basis.

Dr Brown, the Church of England’s Director of Mission and Public Affairs, said the EHRC “needs to find ways to consult with all its stakeholders without assuming that we can sit around a table with those whose objective is to remove us from that table”.

Keith Porteous-Wood and Terry Sanderson of the National Secular Society (NSS), accused the Christian denominations of leaving because they were “not getting their way”.

The religious forum receives no public money and attendance is voluntary.


Last year two prominent writers warned that an influential elite class of secularists is attempting to push faith out of the public square.

Daily Telegraph commentator Ed West said groups like the NSS are gaining success in their campaign for a “state where religion is only allowed in private”.

And Tim Montgomerie, the editor of a Conservative blog, warned of “a secular fundamentalism that is trying to push people of faith outside the public square”.

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