Faith groups to be key policy advisers
By JONATHAN WYNNE-JONES - TELEGRAPH.CO.UK
Added: Sun, 15 Nov 2009 00:00:00 UTC
John Denham, the communities secretary, said the values of Christians, Muslims and other religions were essential in building a "progressive society".
He attacked secularists who have called for religion to be kept out of public life.
Mr Denham revealed that a new panel of religious experts has been set up to advise the Government on making public policy decisions.
The move has been criticised by secularists who warned that it represented a worrying development.
However, Mr Denham argued that Christians and Muslims can contribute significant insights on key issues, such as the economy, parenting and tackling climate change.
In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, he admitted that the Government had failed to listen to these voices in the past, but is now determined to include them in the decision-making process.
"Anyone wanting to build a more progressive society would ignore the powerful role of faith at their peril," he said.
"We should continually seek ways of encouraging and enhancing the contribution faith communities make on the central issues of our time.
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