Commission on religion and belief in public life takes evidence
April 12, 2015
The high-level commission was established in 2013 to examine the role of religion and belief in public life across the UK. The commission in based in the Wolfe Institute, Cambridge and is chaired by the Rt Hon Baroness Butler-Sloss of Marsh Green GBE.
The Commission’s formal terms of reference are as follows:
- to consider the place and role of religion and belief in contemporary Britain, and the significance of emerging trends and identities
- to examine how ideas of Britishness and national identity may be inclusive of a range of religions and beliefs, and may in turn influence people’s self-understanding
- to 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
- to make recommendations for public life and policy
The hearing in Glasgow is one of five UK-wide national hearings (others being Belfast, Cardiff, Leeds and Leicester) in which various individuals and organisations will be invited to give evidence to the Commission. The hearing will also take evidence from a range of religious leaders, academics and educationalists.
Humanist Society Scotland has been asked to help organise this important event, along with the British Humanist Association and the University of Glasgow. The event will be hosted by the University of Glasgow, who last year announced a ground-breaking research project into the nature of religious privilege in Scots’ Law.
HSS Policy and Public Affairs Officer, Gary McLelland, who will be giving evidence to the Commission, said:
“We are very pleased to be co-hosting this important event with the BHA and University of Glasgow. The Commission has been working hard for over a year to gather evidence and make recommendations. We will be happy to report the positive progress of legal humanist ceremonies in Scotland, with HSS set to become the largest provider in the religion/belief category in September this year. We will, however, be making the case to the Commission that religious groups still retain a privileged place in Scottish society. Whether it’s unelected religious representatives on education committees or religious discrimination in pupil admissions or teacher recruitment, we will always make the case for a fairer, more equal, secular Scotland.”
Speaking ahead of the event, a spokesperson for the commission said:
“The Commission on Religion and Belief is very excited to host a hearing that will listen to the specific concerns and testimonies of the Scottish people. Throughout the United Kingdom, we have worked closely with various faith and belief communities in organising hearings such as this, and we are delighted to work alongside the Humanist community and the University of Glasgow for this event. We look forward to the vibrant conversation and feedback from religious, belief and civic leaders in Scotland.”
Also speaking ahead of the event, Prof. Callum Brown of the University of Glasgow’s Humanist Studies Hub said:
“The University of Glasgow is delighted to be welcoming the Commission to Glasgow for its only day of taking evidence in Scotland. The Humanist Studies Hub in the School of Humanities is co-hosting the visit with the British Humanist Association and Humanist Society Scotland , and we are delighted to be welcoming so many distinguished visitors from the Scottish faith and belief communities as well as Commissioners from outwith Scotland.”
The Commission is expected to publish its results in the summer of 2015, in time for the new UK Government to consider its findings.
For further comment, please contact: Gary McLelland 07813060713
Notes: Details about the commission: http://www.corab.org.uk/national-consultation
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