The Conservatives (Baroness Warsi and Baroness Morris) have tabled an amendment to the Equality Bill – likely to be debated on Monday of next week – that will result in the removal of the word ‘philosophical’ from the meaning of belief. It would appear that this is a move to ensure that people who have religious faith are made more equal than people who have ‘philosophical’ belief rather than belief in a god or gods.
This would mean that, for example, humanists would not be protected by equality legislation. This runs counter to the objectives of the Bill.
The Government Equalities Office (yes, there is one!) states in its “easy read” description of the bill that “All public bodies must think about treating people from different groups fairly and equally. This is called the public sector Equality Duty.” It then goes on to list the types of groups that should be treated equally such as, “People with a religion or belief, or people without a religion or belief.”
However, the Conservatives, in removing the key word “philosophical” from the Bill draft will ensure that only people of religion will be included. This is bizarre. The fact that the Conservatives are showing this degree of nit-picking in order to overtly exclude people of no faith from the provisions of the Bill seems counter-intuitive.
Filed under: Discussion