The Secular Europe Campaign held a march and rally in the capital calling for an end to religious privileges and for European institutions to remain secular. United Kingdom. 17th September 2011
The Secular Europe Campaign held a march and rally in London, calling for an end to religious privileges and for European institutions to remain secular. London, UK. 17/09/2011.
The campaign was started in 2008, and has a particular focus on the Vatican because of the enormous power and influence it has. As well as the London march, a similar protest was taking place today in Rome, protesting about the huge three billion Euro tax exemption the Vatican enjoys.
A year ago, the campaign led the protests against the Pope's visit to the UK, with several marches, including one while the Pope was here attended by more than five thousand people. today's event was less than a fifth of that size but was still considerably larger than earlier marches by the campaign I've attended. The organisers were hoping for a larger march, but in the absence of any strong single current issue this seemed a decent size.
Many of the placards reflected the focus on the Catholic Church and the Pope, though more were concerned with the church's covering up of sexual offences by clergy than tax avoidance.
But the campaign is much wider than that, and "aims at representing all the issues around secularism and human rights, including opposition to state-funded faith schools, rejection of religious tribunals and support to equal rights for LGBT citizens."
Many of those attended die appear to be somewhat militantly atheist, which perhaps limits its appeal. There are after all many moderate Christians (and probably those from other religions) who would wholeheartedly support its stated aims.
Among those on the march was 'One Law For All', opposed to all religious laws and in particular to any attempt to impose Sharia law in the UK. It was also supported by humanist and gay rights groups including the British Humanist Association, the Central London Humanist Group, the Gay And Lesbian Humanist Association, the National Secular Society, OutRage! and the Rationalist Association. There were also several groups from Europe, including France and Italy.