Embracing Difference: Religious Diversity in the UK

Tolerance for religious diversity is a core message in recent Governmental and Educational initiatives in the United Kingdom, along with a major component of British “soft power” in international relations. This presentation looks beyond the “brand” of multiculturalism/diverse heritage of the modern UK to understand religious identities beyond essentialising and reductive categories of membership or belonging. Using a Lived Religion approach, which preferences people above texts and practices above beliefs, I will survey recent UK equalities legislation, and discuss the effect this has had on everyday lived reality for religious individuals and communities. I will analyse census data and raise issues relating to the rise of the “religious nones”, the muted voices of minority religions, and the debate over Britain as a “Christian country”. I will focus on diversity within, as well as between, religions and ask why some communities are embraced more than others, and reflect upon the problem of tolerating intolerance.

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Posted by IAFOR