Fewer than one in seven Britons believe that religious education (RE) should not be taught at all in schools, and the proportion does not rise beyond 24% even for those who do not belong to a religion or 28% among persons describing themselves as not at all religious.
The finding – yet another contribution to the ongoing debate about whether Britain is or should be a ‘Christian country’ – comes from a YouGov survey undertaken online on 22 and 23 February 2012 among a sample of 1,690 adults aged 18 and over. Results were posted on the internet on 8 March at:
At the other end of the spectrum, a mere 6% argued that RE in schools should be solely about Christianity, with 10% being the largest figure for any demographic sub-group (the over-60s).
However, a further 42% thought that RE in schools should be primarily about Christianity (the legal position), albeit with coverage of other faiths. The proportion developed into an absolute majority among Conservative voters (52%), the over-60s (53%), professing Christians (65%), and the very or fairly religious (58%).
Just under one-third (31%) wanted RE in schools to teach about all the major world faiths equally. This was especially the view of Liberal Democrats (45%), the young (48% for the 18-24s, 43% for the 25-39s), Londoners (39%), and the religiously unaffiliated (39%). 7% elected for none of the foregoing options or expressed no opinion.