If I were Prime Minister I would privatise religion. All public money would be withdrawn from religion. Taxpayers money will cease to sponsor religion in any and every form.
I would dis-establish the Church of England. There should not be an official state religion. Church of England bishops will lose their right to hold unelected positions in our House of Lords. I would cease to subsidise the livelihoods of Church of England bishops and priests.
Land and buildings which were given to the Church will be returned to state. If the Church of England want to continue to use their land and churches then they must pay commercial rent to the Government for the privilege of using what will revert back to state property.
The Church of England should earn their keep in the religious marketplace. If a particular church can attract enough paying Christians to fund the running costs of their church, the salary for their priest and land rent to the state, then it can survive. If a church can't be economically self-sufficient on these terms then the land and church building should be returned to the state. The state can then use the valuable land to build houses, a school or a hospital instead.
All tax payer funding for faith-based state schools will also cease. If parents want to teach their children in their own homes then they are free to do so. However, what they tell their children in the privacy of their own home will not be backed up by taxpayer funded faith schools. It is not the state's business to subsidise the training of a child for one religion.
Election Analysis: The Key Voters
Election Analysis: The Key Voters
1/6 Settled Silvers
These are the comfortably-off over-60s, still in work or drawing a decent pension – or both – who are enjoying their entitlements such as the Winter Fuel Allowance, free bus passes and free TV licence. They are worried about immigration and Europe. Both the Conservatives – who are pledging to keep benefits for wealthier pensioners – and Ukip want their votes
2/6 Squeezed Semis
Slightly older than the Harassed Hipsters, they are the second key group for Labour’s family-focused election strategy. They are married couples on low to middle incomes who own unpretentious semi-detached homes in suburban areas. In 2001, these were the Pebbledash People sought by the Conservatives. Now the pebbledash is gone and a modest conservatory has been built at the back
3/6 Aldi Woman
In 1997 and 2001 she was Worcester Woman – a middle-class Middle Englander shopping at Marks & Spencer and Waitrose. Today, the age of austerity means she still goes to Waitrose for her basic food shop but cannily switches to Aldi for her luxury bargains such as Parma ham and prosecco. Identified by Caroline Flint, she is a key target of both Labour and the Conservatives
4/6 Glass Ceiling Woman
In her thirties or forties, she has an established career under her belt, perhaps in the “marzipan layer” – one position below the still male-dominated senior executive level. She is now, according to Nick Clegg, forced into making the “heart-breaking choice” between staying at home to bring up her children and going to work and forking out for high-cost, round-the-clock childcare
5/6 Harassed Hipsters
One of the two key groups identified by Labour as crucial to hand Ed Miliband the keys to Downing Street. Well-paid professional couples, often with children, they live in diverse urban and metropolitan areas rather than the suburbs. More comfortably off than most swing voters, they are time poor – struggling to balance raising a young family with busy work schedules
These are mainly first-time voters, though some are in their twenties – students and digital-age generation renters helping to fuel the “Green Surge”. Idealists, but with no tribal loyalty to any party, they are anti-austerity, middle class, living in urban areas. Despite studying at university or recently graduated, they are struggling to find decent jobs and want cheaper housing and a higher minimum wage
My government would promote a spirit of tolerance and mutual understanding by standing neutral on the issue of religion. The ghettoisation of religious teaching in state schools, and the ghettoisation of religious communities which one-sided and narrow religious teaching promotes, will end.
All tax payer funded schools should be pluralist in the approach to religious education. Children should be told about the major world religions, minority religions and cults. Children should be told about the different kinds of Gods that humans have worshipped throughout history and in all corners of the earth. Children should also be told about those who think life is best lived in accordance with godless, secular and humanist values.
If I was Prime Minister children (and then broadly educated adults) will be free to make up their own mind about religion based on the most comprehensive religious education possible.
The state should neither be for or against religion. People will continue to be free to indulge in religion in their own time and with their own money. However, religious people should cease to expect taxpayers to subsidise their particular religious thinking and life styles. We shouldn't waste public money on religion when we can better serve the common good by spending money saved on social housing, the NHS and a pluralist education.Reuse content