Learning and Skills Bill [H.L.]
Lord Dormand of Easington (Labour)
My Lords, when the noble Lord, Lord Tope, and my noble friend on the Front Bench come to reply, will they clarify what they mean by "persons of religion"; I believe that that, or something similar, is the term used? I wonder whether they would include people who do not have a religious belief. On the surface, it seems a contradiction to discuss religion and non-religion in the same breath. I believe that it is what has come to be called in modern parlance a "catch-22 situation". In other words, people who do not have a religious view find it impossible to put forward their point of view.
I raise the point because for some time now opinion polls have shown that between 25 and 30 per cent of people do not hold a religious point of view. That percentage is increasing. That is a substantial minority. I believe that I am right in saying--my noble friend on the Front Bench will confirm this--that on the permanent committee on religious education there is at least one person who is either an atheist, humanist, agnostic or does not have any religious belief. It seems to me that in modern times that factor should be considered. These amendments lend themselves greatly to the point I am making. I hope that some assistance and clarification will be provided at the end of the debate.