The British Humanist Association (BHA) has today published a new report entitled, “The ‘Religion or Belief’ Equality Strand in Law and Policy: Current Implications for Equalities & Human Rights”.
The BHA commissioned BRAP to research the report. In my role as Director of Policy & Research at BRAP I wrote much of section 4.0 ‘Demography’. In relation to this section, the Executive Summary states:
The notion that census data, as currently collected, can accurately reveal the religious attitudes of contemporary Britain is highly problematic. The nature of the question used – ‘What is your religion?’ – gives an inaccurate picture of the religious or non-religious beliefs of census respondents. And yet the data is repeatedly used to underpin policy making. This makes it much more than simply an ‘academic’ issue. The direct use of census data to inform government policy has implications for the inclusiveness of policy on the ‘religion or belief’ strand as a whole. A debate regarding future questions on ‘religion or belief’ in the census to inform future policy is a pressing need.
The read the findings in their entirety, you can download a pdf version of the full report here.