The Liberal Democrats have backed a motion to end Christian assemblies in schools.
At the Party’s conference last week, delegates voted to repeal the existing legal requirement for all state-funded schools to hold acts of collective worship of a broadly Christian character.
But a motion to ban faith-based selection in state-funded schools was defeated, after Business Secretary Vince Cable and Justice Minister Simon Hughes said it risked “really serious harm”.
The law requires that schools conduct acts of collective worship “wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character”.
The votes took place in a debate on ‘Expanding Opportunity, Unlocking Potential’, which is the Liberal Democrats’ main equalities policy paper.
Earlier this year, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, who chairs the Church of England’s board of education, said Christian school assemblies should be replaced with a time of “spiritual reflection”.
He claimed changing the law could be “liberating” for schools and churches.
However, an editorial in The Daily Telegraph said replacing Christian assemblies would be a “fundamental change”, adding that there is “no evidence” to show parents object to their children being exposed to Christian themes.
Other motions supported by Liberal Democrat delegates at the Party conference included legalising brothels and ending the use of imprisonment for possession of drugs.
They also backed a move to allow transsexuals to identify as ‘X’ (unspecified) on their passports. The policy paper said: “It is important that the state recognises individuals’ identity in a way that is acceptable to them”.
During a question and answer session at the conference, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said he is personally against legalising assisted suicide.