£600,000 of public money for religious groups
popularity : 100%
In response to a parliamentary question, the Government revealed that it will give £600,000 to "faith groups" in 2009–10 for activities and websites that promote "understanding and dialogue". The total amount available for the "Faiths in Action" fund over the next few years is £4 million.
Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, said: "It seems the Government is happy to shell out £4 million of taxpayers’ money to try to stop ’faith groups’ arguing and fighting with each other. Did anybody ask us whether we wanted our hard-earned and increasingly scarce money spent in such a way?"
But that’s not the end of the millions Government is investing to try to stop "faiths" fighting. When asked what steps the Government were taking to increase understanding between religions, the MP Sadiq Khan, Under-Secretary of State in the Department of Communities and Local Government replied:
"In 2007 we announced a renewed commitment to community cohesion with a £50 million investment over three years and a new public service agreement to build cohesive, active and empowered communities. We continue to support local authorities in delivering improvements in cohesion by providing a framework of guidance and targeted local support.
"In addition in July 2008 we published the Inter Faith framework which aims to facilitate inter faith dialogue, thus building understanding and celebrating the values held in common by the different faith communities, such as integrity in public life, care, compassion and respect. The framework, which is supported by a funding commitment of over £7.5 million, is also intended to increase the level of collaborative social action involving different faith communities and wider civil society, so that people work together to bring about positive and concrete change within their local communities. Finally, it aims to maintain and further develop good relations between faith communities and wider civil society."
Anyone who claims we live in a secular society in Britain obviously has no idea of the true amounts of money that the Government is shovelling into the pockets of religious groups – some of which are extremely dubious.
Some other interesting facts that emerged through parliamentary questions last week:
65% of schools in the London Borough of Westminster are under religious control
There are 29,774 places of worship registered under the Places of Worship registration Act
Between 25 and 30 CofE churches close each year