Using the cover of Covid to place restrictions on places of worship is unacceptable. The Prime Minister should think again.

Nov 3, 2020 | Uncategorized

“Too little account is taken of people’s religious sensibilities, when millions of people from a variety of faiths live in this country” Restricting worship ” threatens the principle of religious freedom but jeopardises people’s personal well-being

Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB)

My Lords, is there not a grave danger that, in our increasingly secular society, too little account is taken of people’s religious sensibilities, when millions of people from a variety of faiths live in this country? Do we not underestimate the importance of people’s sacramental and spiritual needs, denial of which not only threatens the principle of religious freedom but jeopardises people’s personal well-being, as the Minister acknowledged? What other European countries have taken such draconian powers? Is Angela Merkel not right in saying that, as a matter of principle, she could not justify such infringements of private and personal rights as well as communal needs while keeping open schools and nurseries? Why should it be any different here, and when does he think he will be able to publish the evidence to which he referred?

Lord Greenhalgh (Con, The Minister of State, Home Office, Housing, Communities and Local Government)

My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Alton, makes a very important point. We should look to international comparisons to understand how places of worship have played a part in the spiritual well-being of people while not accelerating the virus. We need the data on that and as soon as it is available in this country it will be published at the earliest opportunity; I have committed to that. I will write to him about international comparisons.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral

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