Religion, law and the constitution

Balancing beliefs in Britain

Janette Wilson

“You couldn’t look at European legislation and say that it’s all good or all bad. I think there’s a lot of work to be done in reforming the way in which the European institutions work. “

Shaina Huleatt

Shaina Huleatt

“Democracy has significant problems for minority groups especially where these groups lack the resources or acumen to advocate effectively for their interests.“

Father Roddy Johnston

“The responsibility of being citizens and recognising that every other citizen has individual rights just like them, to take part in civil life and contribute to community life as much as they are able to do so.”

The Right Reverend James Jones

The Right Reverend James Jones

“I think an elected second Chamber would be a retrograde step. It is one Parliament, not two Parliaments, two Houses which complement each other. They shouldn’t be rivals. The elected House should have the last word. “

The Most Reverend Dr Barry Morgan

“We do protest about the abuse of human rights in the world but in terms of gender and sexual discrimination in Britain, the Church has not always had a good record. Wales, however, has had an Equality and Diversity Minister since devolution and that has helped all of us to think more deeply about these things.”

Don Horrocks

“What does my faith teach about power? It teaches that it is dangerous. It also teaches me, as a non-conformist that the Church should not be in power. “

Elder Clifford Herbertson

“If we respect each other we seek to understand why they do things, why they behave in a certain way, and I think as long as we are open to understanding, accepting and respecting other people we will be able to live in a much more comfortable society. “

The Reverend Professor Martin Henig

The Reverend Professor Martin Henig

“I think that what is needed is a greater interfaith element, bringing together people of different faiths in connection with law and society. That would help us to become a more just society, one which is not necessarily more homogeneous in that everyone is doing the same thing, but one which is more inter-linked so that everyone feels that they have the same sort of stake in it.”

Gary McFarlane

“Maybe Christians are properly and appropriately represented in public authorities, but the system causes that many hide their faith. They may be there, they may have a faith, but it is not always safe to express it. That is the problem I think.”

Lord Richard Harries of Pentregarth

“I don’t think that the Church of England is God’s final answer as to what the church should be, but it’s where I am, where I am comfortable, and however attractive the other options are, they don’t tip the balance.”

Kimberley Long

“Terrorism being used an excuse for the suspension of human rights is a very worrying development. Detention without trial, increased use of surveillance; prevention strategies that are clumsy at best and Islamophobic at worst – all of these contribute to the problem, not solve it. “

The Right Reverend Christine Hardman

“I think that the bottom line is that people who exercise power have to fully understand the tremendous burden on them to exercise it not for the benefit of themselves, or their own groupings, but to maximise the quality of life for people in society. They have to absolutely act for the benefit of others.”

Father Ian Paton

“I was born and Anglican and brought up by a not particularly devout family. I came to my own practice as an adult and was ordained. It fulfilled all of my religious needs and allowed me to express myself.”

Father William Pearsall

“If it ever comes to a written constituent the whole question of the relationship between church and state, and indeed the monarch will be brought into question. It is a house of cards, or dominoes, if you say, we don’t need the monarchy, then you don’t have the head of the Church and you have disestablishment.”

David Pollock

David Pollock

“Human rights are almost the essence of Humanism. It unreservedly embraces the idea of human rights. This is the only life we have and humanists feel that the best approach to life is to make it good for everyone and human rights are an important part of that. “

Lucy Gorman

“I feel quite strongly about voting and I would feel even without my faith… I don’t think we have any right to stand up, if you weren’t bothered to vote. It is a duty as both a citizen and a Christian.”

Baroness Kathleen Richardson

“I personally don’t see the need to bring faith into it on a constitutional basis. I think faith is only part of what leads our ethical or moral judgments and leads people into different judgments anyway. So, I can’t see why it should be protected.”

Reverend David Robertson

Reverend David Robertson

” I think that an independent judiciary must be there in order to ensure that laws are coherent, but the point of the judiciary is just to interpret the law, not to make it.”

Ashley Mortimer

Ashley Mortimer

“I believe that there is a divine spirit in the universe and that it permeates the rest of the universe and that it touches and communicates with all other living things it in.”

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

“I do worry about the hijacking of certain civic occasions for political ends. For example, Holocaust Memorial is a civic occasion and stands above party political divisions on matters relating to contemporary politics, whenever you politicise a civic occasion you begin to kill it.”

Ian Scott

Ian Scott

“I don’t have any issues identifying as humanist. I’ve never experienced any social backlash, other than from people who think that you identify as humanist to avoid identifying as feminist.”

Rabbi Reuven Silverman

Rabbi Reuven Silverman

“The religious landscape in Britain has changed so much that calling it a Christian country… and I don’t mean exclusively in sociological terms but also in legal terms, doesn’t really reflect reality and therefore I would argue for a change. “

The Most Reverend Peter Smith

The Most Reverend Peter Smith

“I think that the Parliamentary system which was developed since Magna Carta, is probably the best way of governing, it’s not perfect but better than other ways. We’ve learnt to be tolerant, respectful and create a just society. “

Father Paul Stonham

Father Paul Stonham

How would you describe your religious identity and beliefs? My religious identity? I’m a Roman Catholic, that’s about it. What made you adopt or retain this position? My mother is basically a non-practising Catholic, my father had been brought up as a Presbyterian but...
Bharti Tailor

Bharti Tailor

“Although Parliament is the elected body and the law is supposed to be for the good of all, sometimes the way the laws are made is perhaps to the detriment of the whole or part of the community out of emotion rather than logic, and that is where the judicial rulings can make a difference.”

The Right Reverend Tim Thornton

“I feel in a very privileged position and I mustn’t abuse it. My biggest worry is about the lack of engagement of many people in our country. I have a worry about wider civil society. “

Andrew Copson

“I think that because of our cultural history people are inclined to toleration in the sense of indifference, we are willing to let people keep on with their own stuff as long as it is not bothering anybody else.”

Iman Irfan Chishti MBE

“With the responsibility to vote, there is also a massive responsibility to ensure that there is strong accountability. Too many politicians and political leaders are allowed to get away with their broken promises once in power. “

The Right Reverend Dominic Walker OGS

The Right Reverend Dominic Walker OGS

“St Benedict gives us a perfect picture of the abbot. In one sense he has absolute power, but he has to make decisions for the greater good of the whole community, not for his own personal ends. Power must be tempered with justice, mercy and humility – that would be a good Anglican approach.”

The Reverend John Chalmers QHC

“Democracy isn’t about having elections, democracy is what happens between elections really….and I suppose the biggest issue for most people is whether you’ve got access to the systems – that you can influence them – that you can converse them….that you’re consulted when changes are in the offing.”

The Most Reverend Professor Rowan Williams

“For any contemporary society, universal human rights are crucial. Every citizen needs to be assured that they have the same level of redress, the same level of justice, guaranteed.”

The Reverend Dr Jason Bray

The Reverend Dr Jason Bray

There seems to be lots of intolerance in certain section of society about religion in general. In the media, the BBC in particular I suppose, there does seem to be a sort of balance towards the new atheism, against religion and that makes life difficult.

The Reverend Dr Will Adam

“There is much more tolerance of diversity in religious belief and practice. Whether that leads to equality depends on where you are and what you are doing.”