The National Secular Society (NSS) has apologised after complaining that religious staff could be classified as ‘key workers’ during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Government guidance recognises that many religious staff provide a key public service.
The secularist group had written to the Government, saying “religious concerns must never undermine public health, particularly during this time of crisis”.
The NSS letter claimed that including religious staff as key workers would “unnecessarily add” to the pressure on schools. Key workers are able to send their children to school during the pandemic.
It has now apologised “for any offence caused”, acknowledging religious workers’ valuable contribution to society.
In response, The Christian Institute’s Simon Calvert said the NSS had “done the right thing”.
“They’ve obviously recognised that a time of national crisis is not the time to ramp up the rhetoric against religious people. Most ordinary people value the work of chaplains, especially during hard times.”
In December, the NSS failed to persuade a regulator to punish a Christian doctor after the General Medical Council (GMC) decided its complaint was merely “hearsay”.
It had complained to the GMC – the group that regulates all doctors – about an anonymous patient made “uncomfortable by Dr Richard Scott’s use of prayer”.
The GMC decided there was no case to answer.