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Tell the Government about your experience as a Christian

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Government wants to hear from you ...

The  UK Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has launched a major call for evidence as part of a research project concerned with freedom of religion and belief in the UK. The EHRC is keen to hear from individuals and organisations about how their religion or belief (or that of other people) has affected their experiences in the workplace and in using the services and facilities they need in everyday life.

Responses will be treated confidentially but should help to shape future advice to Government, employers and local authorities about promoting the freedom to live and speak for Jesus Christ in public. It's an important opportunity - and worth a few minutes of your time!

Respond now >

 

Who should respond? 

The EHRC wants to hear about real-life situations that people have faced or are facing. Categories include employees, service users (which simply means those of us who use schools, libraries, hospitals, doctors, cafes, restaurants or hotels) and organisations (including churches).

 

Your experience may involve the climate or environment that you experience – for example:
  • You feel that you can’t talk honestly at work about your Christian faith or a Christian perspective on a current ethical issue, even if asked.
  • You feel that you can’t offer to pray for a colleague who is having a hard time.
  • You remove a Christian symbol when you go to work.
  • You feel that if you mention in a job application or on a CV that you are a Christian or that you are involved in your local church, it may harm your application.
  • You have been hesitant to approach your children’s school to ask about what is taught in sex and relationship education or to remove your child from certain teaching.
 
Your experience may involve more of a specific clash:
  • You have been told not to speak about your Christian faith or have been disciplined for doing so.
  • You have experienced teasing, hostility or bullying at school, college or University for being a Christian – or have experienced hostility or ridicule from teachers when you have expressed a Christian perspective in class.
  • You have been asked to act against your Christian beliefs in the course of your work – e.g. to promote or further something that is contrary to God’s pattern for marriage or family or that destroys human life.
  • You have been told that you must work on a Sunday even though the rota could easily be arranged to enable you to go to church, without inconveniencing anyone else.

 

The EHRC is also keen to hear about positive experience and good practice – for example:

  • Your employer has made sensible arrangements so that the rota allows Christians and those of other religions to attend services.
  • Your employer or service provider (e.g. school) has created a climate where Christians and those of other religions feel respected and able to talk about their faith.

The EHRC wants to hear about your story or experience - not only your opinion on the current state of the law.

Respond now >

 

Why should I take part?  

Your response is crucial to enabling the EHRC to build an accurate picture of both good practice and current challenges faced by Christians in the UK.  This information will help to inform future advice to the Government and employers, and could be significant in ensuring that freedoms for Christians are protected more effectively, whether at work, school, church or other public setting. 

 

Why has the call for evidence been launched? 

The EHRC’s research has been prompted partly by a number of high profile cases where individuals have faced challenges when seeking to live out their faith in public life. These include Christian Legal Centre clients, Shirley Chaplin and Gary McFarlane, whose cases were heard at the European Court of Human Rights.  

The EHRC says that, in spite of these cases, very little is known about how frequently issues surrounding religious belief occur in practice.  It wants to gather as much information as possible from individuals about their personal experiences - whether positive or negative - as part of its work to examine whether current laws designed to protect freedom of thought, conscience and religion are effective in practice.

Speaking about the call for evidence, the EHRC, which is the public body tasked by Parliament to 'challenge discrimination, and protect and promote human rights' said: "This will be used to assess how employers and service providers are taking religion or belief into account and the impact this has on individuals. We want to hear about the issues people face and how they find solutions. This research is part of a three-year Commission programme to strengthen understanding of religion or belief in public life, improve knowledge about what happens in practice and ensure that the laws that protect everyone’s right to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect are effective."

 

Further guidance

In the run up to the deadline on 31st October, we are planning to send you emails designed to help you consider whether, as a Christian, your faith has impacted the experiences you have faced.

Click here to view our guidance to parents and children >

See our guidance to Church leaders >

See our advice  to employees >

 
How do I take part? 
 
It is easy to respond and you can do so by simply completing the online survey available here >  If you are taking part as a parent or someone at school please select “service users” in response to the first question. 
 

You can download a copy of the relevant questions and cut and paste your answers in the online survey later by clicking here >

It should take no longer than 15-30 minutes to complete your answers. 


Will my story be publicised? 

No. All information provided will be confidential and anonymous and held by NatCen (the independent research organisation responsible for conducting the EHRC’s call for evidence) on a secure computer server. The EHRC will not have direct access to the data.


Respond to the Call for Evidence now >

Read a press release issued by the EHRC for more information >

Thank you for taking this step to help inform the EHRC about being a Christian

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