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 EHRC Chair Trevor Phillips' Comments on Religion & Atheists 
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Joined: January 22nd, 2011, 3:21 pm
Posts: 17
The Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Trevor Phillips, has made some incredibly disturbing remarks regarding religiosity, religion in public space and discrimination within religious institutions. A few selected quotes:

"Our business is defending the believer."
"Religious identity...It's an essential element of being a fulfilled human being"
‎"It seems right that the reach of anti-discriminatory law should stop at the door of the church or mosque."

No Trevor, I can assure you that belief in the supernatural is not in any way an essential part of being a fulfilled human being; the free thinkers among us do just fine! As for the third quote, an EHRC Chairman unwilling to tackle discrimination when it's justified by dark age myth and sky fairies is patently no longer suitable for the position. The EHRC is a tax-payer funded quasi-governmental body. That these remarks are coming from the man charged with ensuring universal equality and lack of discrimination in the UK is frightening. He has not issued a retraction or apology and has thus demonstrated that he is not fit for purpose in this role.

Action to take:
If you agree, I'd urge you to contact the EHRC at [email protected] in order to register your lack on confidence in the current Chair. You can also complain by calling 0845 604 6610. A copy of there complaint procedure can be found here: http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/foot ... procedure/. It doesn't take long to write a few sentences or make a quick phone call but could make a big difference, so please take a couple of minutes out of your day to make your feelings known: the religious must not be above anti-discrimination law and the non-religious deserve the same protection and equal rights as anyone else. If the current Chair is not willing to retract his statements and make a full apology he does not understand his brief and should resign immediately.

Further reading:
http://www.humanism.org.uk/news/view/833
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religio ... ciety.html


June 21st, 2011, 7:46 pm
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Joined: July 30th, 2010, 11:36 pm
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so we are not fulfilled human beings? What a prat, and my money is going to him - aargh!


June 21st, 2011, 7:55 pm
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Do we start a petition to get him sacked?

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June 21st, 2011, 8:36 pm
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Joined: July 30th, 2010, 11:36 pm
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good idea - I have sent an email to the Complaints whatever of this quango. To be fair, when I reread his comments, he did seem to acknowledge that eg the Catholic adoption agencies should not be above the law in discriminating against gays, but he seems to think that that "clever" people somehow persecute those poor powerless believers (when in fact they persecute each other whenever possible).


June 21st, 2011, 8:43 pm
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Joined: July 4th, 2008, 5:02 pm
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Thanks for the heads-up, Christ. Read the article, fired of a complaint e-mail. Agree with Animist, that he did go so far as to say religious belief does not trump civil law; eg that Christian and Muslim prejudices are not acceptable in our multi-cultural society.


June 21st, 2011, 8:57 pm
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Added my, very carefully considered, two pennyworth to the list of complaints.

[Wiki article is interesting. I thought I remembered a couple of times in the past that he was involved in controversy. Seems a bit erratic in what he supports: "Trevor Phillips has spoken on the need for free speech to "allow people to offend each other." " Well, he seem to be practising that for himself at the moment!]

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June 21st, 2011, 9:46 pm
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Joined: January 22nd, 2011, 3:21 pm
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He is, of course, very welcome to offend me as much as he dares and should not fear the arm of the moral or civic police unless his offence turns to incitement. However, the views he has espoused indicate an unsuitability for the state funded position he currently holds. I bare him no grudge, I just want him to become unemployed ;).


June 21st, 2011, 11:04 pm
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Joined: March 13th, 2011, 12:36 pm
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Complaint sent -- a few more points added, including his using his secular position to promote privilege for his religious beliefs.

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June 22nd, 2011, 11:49 am
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I e-mailed that address above. I trust they will seriously consider my proposal about insertion and particular bodily orifices. :D

PS Not really!

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June 22nd, 2011, 1:02 pm
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Received what looks like a "stock" reply that failed to address a single point that I made in my complaint.:

Quote:
Thank you for contacting the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) Helpline, regarding a review of research evidence which was commissioned by the EHRC, and the statement made by the EHRC's Chair Trevor Philips.

Apologies for the delay in responding to your correspondence, this is due to the high demand for the EHRC Helpline's services. We do hope that this has not caused you any inconvenience.

The EHRC supports people's right to practice their religion or belief, and that they should not be discriminated against because of their faith.

The Equality Act 2010 and Human Rights Act 1998 protects everyone, and specifically states that people should not be discriminated against because of their religion or belief.

Cases where someone claims to have been discriminated against because of their religion or belief are of as much interest to the EHRC, as are claims made on any other ground protected under the Equality Act and the Human Rights Act.

The EHRC wants to hear from people who are genuinely discriminated against, as this will help to build strong case law in this area.

Protection for religion or belief is relatively new, first established as unlawful in the workplace in 2003, in comparison to say race (1965) and gender (1970).

Research for the Commission indicates that cases accepted by the Employment Tribunal based on religion or belief have risen from 70 in 2003 (when cases were only based on race that was also a religion) to 1,000 in 2009/10.

This research also indicates that Muslims, who are a minority religion group, are more likely than other religion or belief groups to be discriminated against.

The EHRC commissioned a review of research evidence, and this indicates there are different perceptions about the legal protections for religion or belief and about the level of discrimination towards different religions or beliefs.

Evidence in the report shows that people’s understanding of their rights around religion or belief is not always matched by recent changes to equality law. The Commission is concerned that this could be preventing people from using their rights.

People are protected from discrimination based on their religion or belief in many settings, such as when shopping, eating out or playing sport as well as at work. The law protects people who do not have a religious belief, such as atheists or humanists, as well as people who have a religious belief.

Religion or belief is specifically protected by the Equality Act 2010. People have been protected from religious discrimination in the workplace from 2003, and in the provision of goods and services from 2006.

Chair of the equality and human rights commission, Trevor Phillips said:

"Our business is defending the believer. The law we're here to implement recognises that a religious or belief identity is, for the majority of people in Britain, an essential element of being a fulfilled human being and plays an important part in our society.

"Religion or belief is as much part of our identity as other characteristics such as race, gender, or being a parent. People should not be penalised or treated in a discriminatory way because of it.

“My worry is there are people who may feel they're being treated unfairly because of their faith and who in fact may be being treated unfairly because of their faith but for some reason feel they can't get our support in getting justice.

“We’ve already undertaken a number of legal cases about religion or belief discrimination, but want to do more to build a body of case law in this area. We are in the process of meeting with faith and belief groups to get a better sense of what the issues are for their members.”

Copies of the publication 'Religious discrimination in Britain: A review of research evidence, 2000-10' by Paul Weller of the University of Derby, is available on the EHRC's website at:

http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/publ ... eports-71/

Also the EHRC’s statistical briefing paper on Religion or Belief is also available on the EHRC website at:
http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/publ ... ng-papers/

Trevor Philips stands by the comments that me made in his interview with the Sundays Telegraph, and any decision on Mr Philips' future with the EHRC lies with the Government.

The details of all correspondence received by the EHRC regarding discrimination in the field of religion or belief is being recorded for appropriate use.

I hope this information is useful to you, and if you do need any further advice then please do not hesitate in contacting the EHRC Helpline again.

Please quote the following reference number {redacted}

Yours Sincerely,

Helpline Adviser
Equality and Human Rights Commission

Equality and Human Rights Commission Helpline
Freepost RRLL-GHUX-CTRX
Arndale House
Arndale Centre
MANCHESTER
M4 3AQ

Telephone: 0845 604 6610
Textphone: 0845 604 6620
Fax: 0845 604 6630

Email: [email protected]
Website: www.equalityhumanrights.com

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The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool. (Richard Feynman)


June 27th, 2011, 12:20 pm
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Yeah, got the same email. Replied that it was not good enough and if Philips cannot make statements that explicitly involve everyone from " "don't-give-damnists" through atheists, theists, & deists to Satanists, whether in considered articles or "off the cuff" then he is the wrong person for the job."

I still fell that his words are either piss poor in terms of choice or show a bias towards religion. In either case he is not the right man.

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June 27th, 2011, 2:28 pm
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