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In-house lawyer relaunches secular society

Posted by: Laurence Simons 07/01/13

Everything Everywhere in-house lawyer Charlie Klendjian has decided to take a brave stand against the encroaching, pervasive role of religion in the UK, where 65 per cent of people classify themselves as non-believers and 63 per cent have not attended a place of worship in the last 12 months.

Undeterred by the fact that these statistics appear to indicate that religion is in fact not a major issue for the majority of Britons, Mr Klendjian has re-launched the Lawyers' Secular Society (LSS), a 100-member organisation which helps people and groups campaign against "religious privilege".

He is encouraging more legal professionals to join the group, reports The Lawyer.

The organisation believes that law and the administration of justice should be based on human rights legislation and the assumption of equality, with religious belief playing no role in legal decisions.

While unable to offer any specific legal advice as an organisation, its members are willing to help individuals "affected by laws which give special advantages to those who assert religious beliefs".

Mr Klendjian noted that many cases raised in the European Court of Human Rights this year were centred on religious privilege, with the freedom of Christians to wear crosses at work and the issue of same-sex marriage both impinging on this area.

"Our stance is that behaviour which would otherwise be wrong cannot be justified in the name of religion. Our clear line is that freedom of religion is incredibly important, but that doesn't mean the freedom to discriminate," the lawyer added.

This could prove difficult for the 176,632 people in England and Wales who identify themselves as Jedi Knights, potentially impacting on their religious right to duel with lightsabres or relapse into some kind of strange fugue of arrested development centred around a children's film.

How it will affect the 6,242 Britons who consider their religion to be Heavy Metal has not yet been discussed.

The LSS is open to barristers, solicitors, legal academics, legal professionals and law students who are committed to secularism, whether or not they have personal religious convictions.

It is holding its first meeting at the Matrix Chambers on February 4th. Key issues the organisation deals with are the provision of faith schools across the UK, the carrying out of any unnecessary medical procedures for religious reasons and the constitutional disestablishment of the Church of England, which currently has 26 bishops sitting in the House of Lords.