Party Governance consultation - HSLD's response
HSLD has called for the party's Constitution to be updated to refer explicitly to non-religious as well as religious belief.
Our response to the "Party Governance" consultation notes that there have been significant changes in how Liberal Democrats, society and the state recognise diverse faiths and non-religious beliefs since the party Constitution was first written, 27 years ago.
There is a greater diversity of religious belief, largely driven by immigration, and the proportion of citizens identifying themselves as non-religious has also grown significantly, to around half the population.
The state has increasingly recognised, accepted and even embraced that greater diversity of religious belief, although the Church of England still retains most of its privileges and the overwhelming majority of state-funded schools are legally required to promote Christianity.
However, there is now a distinct tier of discrimination built into the state's laws and institutions, between those citizens who have a religious belief and those whose beliefs are non-religious.
The existing Preamble to the Party Constitution refers broadly to prejudice and discrimination based on religion, but makes no mention of non-religious belief.
Our response, argues that this needs to change, now that the party's core principles are being reviewed.