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Religious literacy among civil servants ‘woefully inadequate’, report says

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Religious literacy among civic leaders and policymakers in the UK is “woefully inadequate”, a recent report has said.

‘Does government ‘do God’?’, a review by Independent Faith Engagement Adviser, Colin Bloom, collected more than 21,000 pieces of evidence as it examined how the Government engages with faith.

A key finding was that the Government needs to “actively encourage greater understanding and consideration of the beliefs and practices that define the complete expression of religion and faith”.

Positive impact

According to the report: “Many Christian respondents said they no longer feel able to be who they are in public or at work, after experiencing the dismissal of traditional religious beliefs and practices.”

The vast majority of respondents – 84 per cent – saw the social contribution of faith and religion as an “overall positive” for society.

The report set out 22 recommendations, including the need to improve faith literacy for all public sector staff through training and improving the teaching of faith literacy and religious education in schools.

‘Lack of awareness’

In its own response to the review’s call for evidence, The Christian Institute said: “The Government does not understand Christians because they do not engage meaningfully with them.

“Fundamentally the issue is a lack of awareness of the Christian worldview. Christians want to do good to all people, from all backgrounds, across the whole of society, without exception.”

It continued: “Christian engagement in the public square, whether by providing services or taking part in discussions about what kind of society we want to live in, is motivated by love for neighbour – one of the most famous biblical commands.

“It comes from the belief that the teachings of the Bible are good for everyone – not just Christians. Because we do better as individuals and as a society when we follow our Maker’s instructions.”

Faith is not dead

Bloom said: “For millions of people, faith and belief informs who they are, what they do and how they interact with their community, creating strong ties that bind our country together.”

He told Premier Christian News that the “rumours that faith is dead are much exaggerated, there are still more people in the UK who have a faith than not”.

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