Most Brits favour public role for religious values

Most British people want religion and its core values to play a central role in British public life and influence the nation’s laws, a BBC poll reveals.

Questioning over a 1,000 people, the poll found that 62 per cent said they think “religion has an important role to play in public life”.

A similar percentage (63 per cent) also agreed that laws “should respect and be influenced by UK religious values”.

The poll was conducted by ComRes on behalf of the BBC and coincides with the launch of BBC Faith Diary, a report on religious issues by Religious Affairs correspondent Robert Pigott.

Significantly, more than nine out of ten Muslims and 100 per cent of Hindus support a strong role in public life for UK religious values. Robert Pigott suggests these are essentially traditional Christian values.

Three quarters of those identifying themselves as Christian also back the importance of religious values in public life.

The poll follows an onslaught of campaigning from secularist groups, including atheist bus ads and the unveiling of a new network of student humanist, atheist and secular groups.

The BBC points to other research showing that “the proportion of people identifying themselves as atheists has not grown from its low base”.

In January another poll by ComRes revealed that more than four in five church-going Christians (84 per cent) think that religious freedoms, of speech and action, are at risk in the UK.

A similar proportion of those polled (82 per cent) admitted that they felt it was becoming more difficult to live as a Christian in an increasingly secular country.

There was also overwhelming consensus amongst church-going Christians (91 per cent) that fellow believers should be more engaged in politics and campaign for Christian-friendly laws.

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