BHA responds to Eric Pickles’s integration strategy

Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for State for Communities and Local Government (CLG), in launching his new strategy on integration and community cohesion, Creating the conditions for integration, today said that Christianity should be restored to the centre of public life. The British Humanist Association (BHA) has responded that Mr Pickles’s comments are ‘based on fabrications’ and ‘misguided’.

Andrew Copson, Chief Executive of the BHA commented, 'Britain is a country where most people are not Christians in any religious sense, where we have a long tradition of humanism, and where we have increasing numbers of people of dozen of non-Christian religions. If Mr Pickles really cares about integration, he would do better to stress inclusive civic identities and the shared values of people from different religious and non-religious backgrounds – not lay constant stress on the idea of a Christian country, which does not reflect the reality of today's Britain, nor the desires of most of its people. The "suppression" of religion that he sets out to combat is largely mythical and policy made on such fabrications will not succeed.'

'The vast majority of people in Britain are not members of any local church, religious group or community, and so to lay such emphasis on religious identities as being the ones most important for encouraging voluntary work or community building is misguided.'