Is the religion of the NHS UK

Great Britain

Legal situation on religious freedom and its actual application

Great Britain is a signatory to international conventions that oblige the country to respect human rights, including the right to religious freedom. For example, the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which establishes the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion in Article 9, was transposed into British law by the Human Rights Act (1988), which, however, was not fully incorporated into British law until 2000 Strength kicked.

As a state church, the Church of England has shaped public religious life in Great Britain for more than 450 years. She still enjoys certain privileges today, such as the fact that 26 Anglican bishops have a seat in the upper house of the British Parliament. Although the majority of the UK population largely identifies with Christianity, 59.3 percent identified themselves as Christians in the last survey1 -, the regular attendance at church services fell massively towards the end of the 20th century.2 Immigration and demographic developments have contributed to the spread of other faiths, especially Islam.

Although religious education is required by law in government-funded English schools, it is not offered in more than 25 percent of secondary schools. Fiona Moss from the National Association for RE (National Association for Religious Education) warned that a generation of students without any religious education is growing up.3 During the reporting period, numerous public figures, including Aaqil Ahmed, Director of Religion and Ethics at the BBC, and Justin Welby, Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, voiced concerns about dwindling religious education.4

According to a recent study by the Pew Forum, there are still few legal restrictions on religious freedom in the country, while hostilities within society are increasing.5 Interior ministry data shows an increase in “racially or religiously motivated crimes” since April 2016, with a peak in July 2016. (In the period 2016-17, 5,949 religiously motivated crimes were reported.) "These increases fit in with the pattern of increasing hate-motivated crimes in the wake of the EU referendum, which is much discussed in the media."6 In addition, believers face discrimination when their beliefs are inconsistent with changing societal norms.




A. Judaism

The Community Security Trust, a not-for-profit organization that provides security advice and training to institutions, schools and synagogues of the UK Jewish community, recorded a record 1,382 anti-Semitic incidents nationwide in 2017. The number of physical attacks rose by 34 percent to 145. The increasing attacks against "foreign" looking persons in the wake of the Brexit referendum and the public controversy over alleged and actual anti-Semitism in the Labor Party are considered to be decisive factors for this development . In 2016, the number of anti-Semitic incidents was 1,346. From May to December 2016, there were more than 100 incidents each month, with most of the cases verbally addressing people who identified themselves as Jews. Social media accounted for 22 percent of all incidents. A total of 107 mostly minor violent attacks were counted.7 

In September 2017 in London a white man snatched the prayer book and kippah from an elderly man who was on his way to a synagogue and threw them on the floor. That same month, two Middle Eastern-looking men cursed a rabbi from their vehicle.8 In 22 anti-Semitic incidents in 2017, the victims were Jewish students or academics, in the previous year 41 people from this group were affected. In a survey, more than 25 percent of the Jewish students surveyed said they had been personally victim of insults in real life or on social media. 65 percent did not believe that the National Student Union (NUS) had responded appropriately to the anti-Semitism allegations after anti-Semitic remarks on the part of NUS employees. Malia Bouattia, who was chairwoman of the NIS from 2016 to 2017, had, among other things, enforced that Jewish students are no longer allowed to elect their own representative to the NIS national anti-racism committee.9


B. Islam

Attacks on Muslims more than doubled between 2016 and 2017. In the period from March to July 2017 alone, the police recorded 110 crimes. In the same period last year, the number was 47. Fiyaz Mughal, head of the organization Faith Matters, who campaigns for social cohesion, said that Islamist terrorism is the biggest factor behind the increase in hate-motivated crimes against Muslims, although no one likes to say so.10 As a result of the terrorist attack on London Bridge in June 2017, there were five times more attacks on British Muslims in the three days following the incident. There were reports of Muslim women being verbally attacked or spat at on buses; a woman was strangled at a bus stop.11 Hateful crimes such as racial slur, vandalism and bomb threats against mosques have been reported from across the country. One person was killed and 12 injured when 48-year-old Darren Osborne drove a van into a group of Muslims near Finsbury Park Mosque in north London. In February 2018, Osborne was charged with committing a terrorist offense at least 48 Years imprisonment.12 

In September 2017, five days after a radicalized youth set a bomb on a subway train at Parsons Green station, injuring 50 people, a 47-year-old mother was run over by a car in Leicester. Zaynab Hussein had just taken her two youngest children to school when she was thrown into a house wall by the impact. When she was on the sidewalk, the car backed up and rolled over her. Zaynab Hussein was rushed to the hospital with leg and arm injuries and severe fractures to the pelvis and spine. Since then she has been severely restricted in her ability to move. The driver of the car then tried to run over a 12-year-old girl who was on her way to school. But it could evade. Both victims wore Islamic headgear. In March 2018, 21-year-old Paul Moore was sentenced to life imprisonment for attempted murder, willful assault and traffic hazard.13


C. Christianity

Christians encounter problems when their religious beliefs conflict with political norms regarding gender identity and sexuality. The Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron resigned as party leader after his religious views on homosexuality, which he expressed in the 2017 election campaign, sparked a media spectacle.14 In August 2017, the action brought by the pastor of a Pentecostal church was dismissed by the labor court. Barry Trayhorn had been suspended because he had "made homophobia" during a church service in May 2014 with reference to Bible passage 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11.15 The presiding judge, Slade, found the quoted passage from the Bible to be “disparagingly directed at homosexuals” and “to justify harassment or bullying”.16 In October 2017, the High Court for England and Wales (Supreme Civil Court) Sheffield University's decision to exclude MA student Felix Ngole from studying social work for publicly supporting American community worker Kim Davis on his Facebook page. Presiding judge Rowena Collins Rice found that the university had taken "drastic" measures, but justified by the perceived risk of harm, as the post could be read by people who might find it biased, inconsistent with professional ethics or discriminatory . The decisive factor is how the post is perceived, regardless of the actual intention.17 

In 2016, 71-year-old judge Richard Page was ousted after telling a same-sex couple that children should ideally grow up with a mother and a father. The Christian had previously been reprimanded. Now he had to take part in a “re-education” measure.18 Judge Susan Preston from South Derbyshire also received a warning from the relevant regulatory authority (Judicial Conduct Investigations Office) and was withdrawn from trial on family matters after she refused to conduct a same-sex parenting trial on personal religious grounds.19 A Christian couple was prevented from adopting their foster child after advocating that children should have a mother and a father whenever possible.20

After it became known that members of the Roman Catholic Church, more than any other believer in Scotland, are the target of hate crimes, Scottish Labor Party's MP and Gender Equality Officer, Elaine Smith, called for better protection for this denomination.21 A video from BBC Scotland parodying the reception of Holy Communion in the Catholic Church was described by the Bishop of Paisley, John Keenan, as "insulting in word and image".22


D. Schools run by denominations

Conservative Jewish schools, especially ultra-Orthodox private institutions, recently came under pressure from the OFSTED school inspectorate because of their way of dealing with homosexuality.23 In 2016 and 2017, OFSTED found significant deficiencies in three inspections at the Vishnitz Girls' School, in particular because elementary school children between the ages of three and eight were not informed about homosexuality and gender reassignment.24 A report from October 2016 said that school students are not encouraged to treat other people with respect.25 The private girls' school was not the only Jewish school that had problems with the OFSTED on this matter. The Beth Jacob Grammar School in Hendon, which was rated excellent five years ago, was rated insufficient in February 2017.26 As the OFSTED noted, the students will not expressly educated on topics such as sexual orientation. However, she recognized that students were taught the importance of treating others with respect and appreciation as part of their Jewish faith.27 The Beis Aharon Boys' Elementary School in Stamford Hill was visited six times in two years by the OFSTED inspectors and the Department of Education banned new students. Improvements were made in some problematic areas, but the last inspection in March 2017 once again criticized the “quality of education” at the free school, among other things because children between the ages of three and 13 are not informed about LGBT issues.28 After rejecting a school appeal against the ban, presiding judge Judge Hugh Brayne reiterated that the school does not show children any respect for the people concerned unless it educates them about same-sex relationships and gender reassignment.29

Amanda Spielman, director of the OFSTED school inspectorate, criticized the faith-run schools. She explained: "We have found that more and more conservative schools run by religious communities do not meet the legal requirements with regard to the teaching of common values ​​and tolerance and are not in line with the expectations of society."30 MEP David Lammy, who sits in parliament for Tottenham, said: "We stood idly by and could not prevent what many have called an escalating offensive against Jewish schools." He criticized the "undertones of Soviet ideology" in equating "British values." "And" secular values ​​"which, according to Spielman, every school in the country must impress on its students.31 LGBT issues were not specifically addressed in the school guidelines on UK values ​​published in 2014. Respect and tolerance for people with different sexual orientations were tacitly assumed, but not expressly required as subject matter.32 By failing to educate its students about homosexuality, the Vishnitz Girls' School does not violate applicable equality regulations, which raises serious questions about the interpretation of the state guidelines on the part of OFSTED.33


Perspectives for Religious Freedom

The peak of hate-motivated crimes in the religious environment was related to further factors. Since these factors are no longer relevant, there is hope that these incidents will subside. However, there are new triggers in every reporting period, and new incidents with varying degrees of severity keep coming back.

The right to freely express religious beliefs is denied to those whose beliefs conflict with the prevailing progressive norms with regard to gender identity and sexuality: persons and institutions are punished for expressing traditional religious and moral beliefs, even if they do happens objectively and without the intention of a criminal act. It is to be feared that religious communities and believers who speak out on these issues will be sanctioned even more by the state and the judiciary if the debate on gender identity and sexuality moves further away from traditional models.

  1. National Bureau of Statistics, “Religion in England and Wales 2011”, . Current studies suggest that the number of people without religious affiliation is increasing, although the data are based on very small samples. In a 2017 study, 53 percent of 2,942 respondents said they did not belong to any religion. May Bulman, "Record number of British people say they have no religion," Independent, September 4, 2017, (both accessed February 13, 2018).
  2. Alasdair Crockett and David Voas, "Generations of Decline: Religious Change in 20th-Century Britain" in Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 45 (2006), pp. 567-584; BBC News (online), May 7, 13 (accessed April 18, 2018).
  3. In addition, parents have the right to take their children out of religious education. Robert Long, Religious Education in Schools (England), House of Commons Library Briefing Paper 07167 (July 7, 2016); Alex Strangwayes-Booth, "Schools break law on religious education, research suggests", BBC News (online), September 17, 2017 February 2018).
  4. Rose Gamble, "Terrorist attacks are to do with religion says Welby, urging faith leaders to take responsibility", The Tablet, June 5, 2017
  5. Global Restrictions on Religion Rise Modestly in 2015, Reversing Downward Trend, Pew Research Center, 2017 (on the situation in 2015).
  6. Aoife O'Neill, Hate Crime, England and Wales, 2016/17, Home Office Statistical Bulletin 17/17 (October 17, 2017), pp. 1, 6.
  7. CST Annual Review 2016, p. 9 ; CST Annual Review 2017, p. 17 (accessed on April 18, 2018).
  8. CST Annual Review 2017, pp..4, 5, 20, 38 (accessed April 18, 2018).
  9. Independent (online), 3.April 2017 ; The experience of Jewish students in 2016-17 (London: NUS), p. 8
  10. “The latest data was obtained from 45 UK police stations.” Rachel Roberts “Hate crime targeting UK mosques more than doubled in past year, figures show”, Independent, Sunday, October 8, 2017 /home-news/hate-crime-muslims-mosques-islamist-extremism-terrorism-terror-attacks-a7989746.html (accessed February 13, 2018)
  11. Vikram Dodd and Sarah Marsh, "Anti-Muslim hate crimes increase fivefold since London Bridge attacks", Guardian, June 7, 2017 hate-crimes-increase-fivefold-since-london-bridge-attacks (accessed February 16, 2018).
  12. Vikram Dodd and Kevin Rawlinson, "Finsbury Park attack: man 'brainwashed by anti-Muslim propaganda' convicted", Guardian, February 1, 2018 ; Colette Hume, “Darren Osborne: 'Complex emotions' after mosque attack,” BBC News (online), February 16, 2018 (both accessed on April 18, 2018).
  13. Hanna Yusuf, "Mother who was run over twice by attacker:‘ I thought I had died ’", BBC News (online), March 27, 2018 ; Kevin Rawlison, “Man jailed for life after running over Muslim woman in Leicester”, Guardian, March 27, 2018 ; Lizzie Dearden, “Man who tried to kill Muslim woman and 12-year-old girl in 'revenge' for terror attacks jailed for life”, Independent, March 27, 2018 (both accessed on July 11, 2018).
  14. After an interview with Cathy Newman of Channel 4 News, in which Farron dodged the question of whether homosexuality was a sin, saying that he did not want to waste time on theological argument, the question came up repeatedly in media interviews and even in parliament posed. In an attempt to put an end to the riot, Farron told BBC political correspondent Eleanor Garnier that he did not believe that homosexuality was a sin. But in January 2018, in a conversation with Prime Minister Christian Radio, he apparently rowed back again: "The bottom line is that I felt pressured and - on this matter too - I said things that I regret." Liberal Democrats and Activists urged to resign. See Benjamin Butterworth, “Is gay sex a sin? Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron loses thousands of votes, ”Pink News, June 9, 2017 ; "Tim Farron: I don't think gay sex is a sin", BBC News (online),
  15. April 2017 ; Alex Williams "Tim Farron: I was foolish to say gay sex isn't a sin", January 10, 2018 ; Benjamin Butterworth, "Gay sex row: Tim Farron 'will be dealt with' as ​​Lib Dem activists call for him to be fired," Pink News, January 11, 2018 (all websites accessed on 12. January 2018). "Rev'd Barry Trayhorn 'forced to resign' as prison worker - for quoting the Bible in chapel", Archbishop Cranmer (blog), November 2, 2015 ; “Christian prison worker 'forced to resign' after quoting Bible in chapel service”, Christian Concern, November 2, 2015 ; Jonathan Petrie, "Christian minister disciplined by prison authorities for quoting verses from the Bible deemed to be homophobic," Mail on Sunday, October 31, 2015 ; "Homophobia row preacher 'forced' to quit HMP Littlehey," BBC News (online), Nov. 3, 2015, (all accessed on January 8, 2018).
  16. Andrea Williams, “A judicial warning shot that should put the fear of God into us”, Christian Concern, August 10, 2017 (accessed January 8, 2018).
  17. "Court rules student can be expelled for quoting Bible on Facebook", Christian Concern, October 27, 2017
  18. “Employment Tribunal allows censorship of Christian beliefs” Christian Concern, October 24, 2017, ; "Richard Page, from Headcorn, loses case after being sacked over gay adoption row," Kent Online. October 22, 2017, (all accessed January 8, 2018); "Magistrate sacked for opposing same-sex adoption is suspended by NHS", Guardian, March 26, 2016
  19. "Magistrate disciplined for not hearing same-sex parenting case", Christian Concern, February 3, 2017 (accessed January 12, 2018).
  20. "Christian couple blocked from adopting children because of their belief that children need mum and dad", Christian Concern, November 9, 2016, (accessed January 12, 2018). In a poll of 12,000 Christians, 50 percent said they struggled with prejudice because of their beliefs and 93 percent said they felt Christianity was being marginalized in the UK. State of the Faith survey, Premier Christian Media 2017 (accessed January 12, 2018).
  21. John Boothman, "Catholics in Scotland are the biggest target of hate crime," The Sunday Times, March 18, 2018.
  22. Nick Hallet, “BBC Scotland video says Holy Communion 'smells like hate',” Catholic Herald, April 13, 2018, -smells-like-hate / (accessed April 24, 2018).
  23. Jewish Chronicle, December 8, 2017
  24. Jewish Chronicle, June 26, 2017; Independent (online), June 26, 2017, (accessed April 18, 2018).
  25. OFSTED additional inspection, Vishnitz Girls School, October 13, 2016 , (accessed April 18, 2018) .
  26. Jewish Chronicle, February 27, 2017 (accessed April 18, 2018).
  27. OFSTED inspection, Beth Jacob Grammar School for Girls, November 2, 2016, Italics mine (accessed on 18 April 2018).
  28. “Pupils generally lack knowledge about different ways of life in our country and especially about those that are legally protected from discrimination.” OFSTED inspection, Beis Aharon School, March 2nd, 2017, p. 3 , (accessed on April 18, 2018).
  29. Pink News, May 9, 2016 (accessed April 18, 2018).
  30. Amanda Spielman, The Annual Report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills 2016/17, London: OFSTED, p. 8th.
  31. Jewish Chronicle, December 28, 2017 (accessed on 18 April 2018).
  32. These are: democracy, the rule of law, freedom of the individual and mutual respect and tolerance towards people of different faiths.
  33. “Guidance on promoting British values ​​in schools”, November 27, 2014 , see also “Promoting fundamental British values ​​as part of SMSC in schools Departmental advice for maintained schools ", London: Department of Education, November 2014, (both accessed April 18, 2018).