Tuesday, 25 November 2008

£35,000 of taxpayers' cash given to 'atheist bus' group

The British Humanist Association, which is running a campaign get rid of faith schools and wants to end the Church of England's position as the established religion, was given the grant by the Government's equality watchdog and is using it to stage a series of debates about the place of religion in public life.
The four events will include speakers from faith groups but one of the keynote addresses is being delivered by the prominent atheist Professor AC Grayling, who claims "religious belief shares the same intellectual respectability and rationality as belief in the existence of fairies".
Critics say it is wrong for the Equality and Human Rights Commission to give taxpayers' money to a controversial organisation whose stance would be found objectionable by many members of the public.
Neil Addison, a Roman Catholic barrister who specialises in religious discrimination, said: "It's a bit like paying the Taliban to lecture on women's rights.
"There's nothing wrong with the British Humanist Association organising seminars, but it's the fact that they're getting public money.
"There is the question of whether this is what Government money should be going for, particularly in a time of recession.
"If we're having a debate on religion, should we be paying one side of the argument to hold it, especially with public money?" Read more
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