News from Grassroots conservatives
11 Jan 2017
On January 9th in a House of Commons Committee Room the Government’s integration tsar Dame Louise Casey labelled church schools supportive of traditional marriage as ‘homophobic’. She accused opponents of gay marriage of using ‘religious conservatism as a veil for anti-equality views’. This contradicts the official guidance that teachers and schools do not need to support or endorse same-sex marriage.The extremism agenda is at risk of being hijacked to marginalise those who take a stand for traditional marriage
In 2015 Dame Casey was commissioned by the then prime minister David Cameron to undertake a review into integration and opportunity in isolated and deprived communities. Dame Casey published her review in December 2016. In this she recommends that everyone who holds public office should take an equality oath. The Government is due to give its response in mid-February.
One of our committee members contributed substantial evidence to the review and has expressed disappointment in the omissions it makes, not least that it fails to understand the role and importance of religion in the communities it is reviewing.
This review has been significantly criticised by those concerned for political and religious freedom in the UK, because her review
- Recommends the imposition of a new set of required partisan socially liberal beliefs both for those holding public office and for wider society. This is an utterly unconservative point of view.
- Attempts to redefine “British values” to exclude freedom of religion. This shows almost no understanding of either the nature of freedom of religion, its historical development in the UK or its central importance to the UK’s historic national values, and is contrary to a conservative political viewpoint.
- Seeks to redefine “extremism” to include religious views “at odds with the views of mainstream society” and equates holding “conservative” religious views – whether Christian or Islamic – with “extremism”.
- Implicitly seeks to impose government-backed definitions of what “modern “British” Islam or Christianity are.
- The Brexit vote demonstrated convincingly that these views are not supported by the majority of the UK population.
A full critique of the 199 page Casey review by the Barnabas Fund, a major advocate of religious freedom for all, can be found here