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05 March 2012

Press release

Equality and Human Rights Commission pushes religion below other rights

Following Trevor Phillips’s recent comments that religious rules should end ”at the door of the temple”, the Equality and Human Rights Commission today published a review of human rights in Britain. Responding to the report, Evangelical Alliance director of advocacy Dr Dave Landrum said:

“It is disappointing that the Equality and Human Rights Commission have failed once again to stand up for religious belief. The report clearly states in black and white the Commission’s view that religious belief and practice is now less important than other human rights. According to the Commission an employer ‘may legitimately refuse to accommodate an individual’s religious beliefs where such accommodation would involve discrimination on the basis of other protected characteristics’. In other words, in any clash of rights, instead of allowing equal space to all, religious rights must inevitably make way.

“The Commission fails to realise that by refusing to accommodate religious beliefs on the same basis as other rights they are making some groups more equal than others. This is discriminatory. It pushes religion to the sidelines and relegates it below other rights. The report has failed to pay attention to the widespread concern, especially from Christian groups, that space for religion in public life is narrowing and unequal. This reinforces the call in last week’s Clearing the Ground inquiry report from an All Party Parliamentary Group that the Commission itself needs to be reviewed and restructured if it is going to have any credibility, especially among Christians.”

Media Enquiries

Danny Webster
Tel: 07766 444 650
Email: d.webster@eauk.org

Notes to Editors

  1. Trevor Phillips's comments were reported in the Daily Telegraph on 17 February 2012: www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9087775/Christians-arent-above-the-law-says-equalities-chief-Trevor-Phillips.html
  2. The full EHRC report is available at www.equalityhumanrights.com/human-rights/human-rights-review/ and the comment quoted is found on pp11-12 of the chapter on Article 9: The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion
  3. The Clearing the Ground inquiry report is available at www.eauk.org/clearingtheground

The Evangelical Alliance, formed in 1846, is the largest body serving evangelical Christians in the UK, and has a membership including denominations, churches, organisations and individuals. The mission of the Evangelical Alliance is to unite evangelicals to present Christ credibly as good news for spiritual and social transformation. According to a Tearfund survey (Churchgoing in the UK, 2007), there are approximately 2 million evangelical Christians in the UK. For more information please visit www.eauk.org