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Cambridge Interfaith Programme

 

“The knowledge and practice embodied in our religious and belief communities are integral to proactively creating the strong and resilient relationships required for the immense challenges that lie ahead. We therefore seek, and indeed claim the right, to bring our ideas and insights, along with others, to the policy-making table.”

Yesterday (26 June), a group of individuals and organisations with diverse faith and belief identities launched on open letter for the attention of the incoming UK government. Cambridge Interfaith Programme Manager, Dr Iona Hine, is among the signatories, as a participant in the new Faith & Belief Policy Collective. 

Shared values

Bearing the heading, “Diverse identities, shared values” the letter sets out the Collective’s “vision, values and recommendations for a repaired and re-humanised society”. Five shared values are proposed, to ground policy guidance from faith and belief communities: compassion, integrity, stewardship, community and peace-making.

Recommendations for policymakers

Recommendations include deliberate involvement of faith and belief communities in policymaking fora—with specific attention to the participation of women and young people, and the introduction of an oath for public office holders that prohibits the stirring up of divisions.

Perhaps most relevant to the Cambridge Interfaith Programme’s remit is the series of recommendations collected under the heading “Trust in Institutions”, quoted here in full:

  • Resource the faith and belief sector to participate as a force for good, through specific funds (akin to the Swedish Agency for Support to Faith Communities).
  • Promote the importance of faith and belief sensitivity in the workplace, including through training for all public servants.
  • Strengthen the statutory obligation relating to the teaching of RE and Religion & Worldviews in schools and colleges.
  • Continue to promote agreements that facilitate supportive partnerships between local authorities and faith and belief groups in communities.

The Faith & Belief Policy Collective

The Collective was drawn together in response to the 2023 Bloom Report (“Does the government do God?”). Work has been spear-headed by the Faith & Belief Forum and Professor Christopher Baker of Goldsmiths, University of London. (Baker is also part of the William Temple Foundation, with the former archbishop providing a significant exemplar for religious involvement in public life.)

In common with the letter’s other signatories, we look forward to the discussions the letter stimulates. 

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