MPs support bid to restore ‘public good’ presumption of religion

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MPs have backed a bid by Conservative MP Peter Bone (pictured) to amend the Charities Act to restore the presumption that all religious groups are for the public benefit and therefore can be charities. 


Mr Bone’s Ten Minute Rule bill is aimed at protecting religious groups like the Preston Down Trust, a member of the Plymouth Brethren, who recently had its charitable status removed by the Charity Commission after it decided that the exclusivity with which the Church conducts many of its activities, did not provide sufficient benefits to the wider public. 

Writing on the Conservative Home website, Peter Bone, an active member of the Church of England, said: “This is another sign of a growing secular movement against religious groups in this country and another example of the state interfering with the church. ”

Introducing his bill to Parliament, he said: “What is happening is creeping secularism in society. With just a few days before we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, and in recognition of religious freedom, I urge right hon. and hon. Members to support my ten-minute rule Bill.”

Written By: National Secular Society
continue to source article at secularism.org.uk

15 COMMENTS

  1. “Creeping secularism”. Got to love that one. It used to be “creeping communism” (besides Doctor Who) with which people were scared behind the couch when I was somewhat younger ;-).

  2. Tedious. There’s a reason behind the creeping secularisation of our society. That reason is: it’s for the best. It reduces discrimination across the board and frees people in ways the oppressed in other – more religious – countries can only dream of. It’s the way forward.

    Fortunately, dinosaurs like you will be retired (or dead) soon enough. The younger generations hold little truck with religion and it won’t be long before they’ll have taken your place and more open minds will be making the laws.

    Time is on our side.

  3. Surely you know what ;-) means, right? In case you are indeed addressing me: I’m sure I’ll depart from this world soon enough. In the mean time I’ll try to make the most of it, free of religion. BTW, I like dinosaurs very much, as long as they remain dead, that is ;-).

  4. Isn’t it also time to remove the ridiculous terminology from British politics? These are many of the same Hon. and Rt. Hon.  “gentlemen”  who were ripping off their expense accounts last year??

  5. O/T, somewhat-  I had the pleasure of working with a pair of Plymouth/Exclusive Brethren and discovered first hand how freaky were their beliefs, and they themselves, viz- 

    http://paulflynnmp.typepad.com

    Extract- “Exclusive Brethren  members seek to separate themselves from the evil of the world as much as possible. In Parliament, Baroness Berridge described life within the religion: “Exclusives cannot live in semi-detached houses as this would mean having a party wall with non-brethren. They cannot eat with non-brethren, cannot have friends who are non-brethren, cannot join membership groups like trade unions or the AA. No television or radio, no going to cafes. School attendance is restricted to Brethren schools only, and work is restricted to brethren businesses. Attending university is banned.”

    Being part of an exclusive brethren community means cutting all ties with those who are not part of the community, including family. Former members testify that they have not seen their family, including parents and children, since they left.”

    Cult, or religion?

  6.   MPs have backed a bid by Conservative MP Peter Bone (pictured) to amend the Charities Act to restore the presumption that all religious groups are for the public benefit and therefore can be charities.

    No surprise:-  Unlike those who use researched evidence and  reason, -  presumption is the basis of religious thinking! 
    Bone by name – Bone-head  by nature!

    “This is another sign of a growing secular movement against religious groups in this country and another example of the state interfering with the church. “

    .. … Or  -  for those who do not have their bigoted brains in backwards, . … .. . . .  the churches interfering with the honestly thought through, charity laws of the state!

  7. While it is probably true that the charitable activities of this group probably should have been sufficient to enjoy recognition by the Charities Commission (for those activities) if they had been freely offered to the community at large, and the religious convictions of the preachers and ordinary members are probably genuine, the fact remains that organised religions are businesses.   Businesses which sell a product.   A product which cannot be shown to have any actual existence or benefit beyond the placebo effect.

    There is a name for such businessmen: Snake Oil Salesmen

  8. “another example of the state interfering with the church”.   ‘Introducing his bill to Parliament’.

    Which is it Bone, keep politics out of religion or let create rules for it? You cannot have it both ways

  9. The sheer arrogance of those MPs who think that the Plymouth Bretheren does any public good, astounds me.  That little Christian cult has all the hallmarks of the most small minded, tight lipped and mean spirited secret society.  Jesus is going to save them, and sod the rest of humanity. Quite apart from all the broken families and ostracism of non-members, and yet these MPs think it does good !

    As usual the godly will combine with their theological  opponents in the face of increasing secularism.

  10. The sheer arrogance of those MPs who think that the Plymouth Bretheren does any public good, astounds me.  

    They possibly don’t, but it’s the thin end of the wedge.

    You see, if government stops presuming the goodness of any religion, next thing you know they’ll be expected to require every one of them to demonstrate how they benefit wider society.

    Why is this so terrifying to these M.P.?  I can only conclude that they suspect that their favorite team just cannot measure up to the same standards expected from secular charities.  

    Otherwise why else move to protect them from competing fairly by claiming that freedom of religion entails freedom from accountability?

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