June 24, 2011

Equality Commission’s remarks anger Humanists

by Jan Harris

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has criticised the Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) Trevor Phillips for forgetting the non-religious in a recent comment over the role of EHRC’s role.

The BHA wants Mr Phillips to apologise for remarks made in a recent interview which it considers to be ‘sectarian and divisive’.

In the interview with The Sunday Telegraph, which took place before the publication of new report into religious discrimination, Mr Phillips said of the EHRC:

‘Our business is defending the believer. The law we’re here to implement recognises that religious identity is an essential part of this society. It’s an essential element of being a fulfilled human being.’

The BHA’s Chief Executive Andrew Copson said, “Trevor Phillips is the head of a commission which is responsible for the legal rights and interests not just of religious people but of non-religious people too. When he suggests that having religious belief is essential in order to be fulfilled as a human being, he is belittling them”.

The BHA has made an official complaint to the EHRC about Mr Phillips’ comments.

Meanwhile, the BHA has been invited by the government to give evidence on the “Big Society” agenda and its effects from a humanist perspective.

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