Letter: Census of faith

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Sir: No one should have to disclose their faith (or lack of it) mandatorily, least of all to the head of their household or the state (leading article, 5 March).

Neither will the statistics gathered in the 2001 census be accurate: those of believers will be substantially exaggerated. As they do on hospital next-of-kin forms, people will tend to register their "faith" at birth - C of E or whatever - even if they have not been to a religious service for years and have no interest in religion. The inflated figures are likely to be used to secure further unwarranted religious privileges.

Neither will the various kinds of partial or non-believers be accurately counted. Such terms as "agnostic" are too subtle to be registered accurately in census tick-boxes by the head of the household on its behalf.

These questions must be removed from the census.


General Secretary

National Secular Society

London WC1