By ANDREW COPSON - BRITISH HUMANISTS ASSOCIATION
Added: Wed, 25 Apr 2012 11:16:33 UTC
On Monday the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Draft House of Lords Reform Bill reported supporting the Government’s proposals to keep reserved seats for Bishops in reform of the Lords. This will maintain and effectively strengthen the influence of the Church in Parliament. There is no disguising that it is a blow to hopes for a fair reform.
The Government’s Draft House of Lords Reform Bill proposes to increase the proportion of the Bishops from 3% of appointed peers to anything between 12% and 17% of appointed peers, depending on the eventual size of a reformed chamber. If the Government’s proposals were enacted, Anglican Bishops would likely outnumber SNP, Plaid Cymru, DUP, SDLP, Sinn Fein and Green Peers combined.
Our new campaign website - holyredundant.org.uk - has multiple ways you can help spread the word. We need your support to demonstrate how widely shared is our conviction that it is time for the Bishops to go, and boost the chances of humanist MPs and peers in Parliament as they attempt to amend the Bill.
They can’t do this alone – they need your help today. We have provided them with the text of the amendments they need to challenge these plans. Now we need you to provide the popular support that will make others vote for those amendments.
We all need to email our MPs right away (you can do so by following this link where we have set up an easy automatic email for you to send with just a few clicks) and let them know that we don’t support the recommendations of the Committee and are calling for an end to the reserved places for Bishops in Parliament.
The more MPs that realise their constituents feel strongly about this, the better our chances are of the Bill being amended and the unfair anachronism of reserved religious places in our national parliament can be brought to its overdue end.
Chief Executive, British Humanist Association
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If the Church and the Government have their way and their ambitions are realised, the Church will become the single largest provider of schools, totally funded by the state. That means that a majority of schools may be allowed to discriminate religiously in employment, discriminate religiously in admissions, and teach curricula heavily skewed towards Christianity right across the board.
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