UK Poll Shows Most People Want Religion in Public Life

LONDON – A poll by the BBC has found that 62 percent of people want religion and religious values to play an important role in public life in the United Kingdom.

The poll of 1,045 people also showed that 63 percent believe that UK laws should respect and be influenced by traditional religious values.

Debate over the place of religion in public life has become a media talking point in recent months with a number of high profile cases involving claims of discrimination in the workplace by Christians.

In recent weeks, Christian nurse Caroline Petrie was reinstated after she was suspended for offering to pray for a patient, and currently school receptionist Jennie Cain faces disciplinary action after asking friends to pray for her family when her five-year-old daughter was told off by a teacher for sharing her Christian beliefs with a classmate.

Both women were defended by the Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, who challenged the notion that employees should be disciplined for speaking with others about their trust in God.

Both cases reveal "a seeming intolerance and illiberality about faith in God which is being reflected in the higher echelons of our public services," the Anglican leader said.

"Asking someone to leave their belief in God at the door of their workplace is akin to asking them to remove their skin colour before coming into the office. Faith in God is not an add-on or optional extra," said the Archbishop.

A new network of student humanist associations has, meanwhile, vowed to promote atheism on university campuses while Christian Unions across the country are handing out 400,000 copies of the Gospel of St. John in response to the British Humanist Association's "no God" bus ads.

The BHA's ads are being carried on 800 buses around the UK and proclaim "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."

In response, the political Christian Party has launched a new Christian bus ad campaign that states: "There definitely is a God. So join the Christian Party and enjoy your life." The campaigns have been dubbed the "battle of the buses."