Religious pandering back home

Oh bugger. One might hope that one of the most non-religious countries in the world would reject this nonsense, but apparently not:

True, it is embarrassing to be the only western democracy that has theocracy built into its legislature. The 26 bishops in the Lords interfere regularly: they are a threat on abortion, and their campaign sank the Joffe bill, giving the terminally ill the right to die in dignity. Of course they should not be there, when only 16% of people will grace the pews on Christmas Day, and Christian Research forecasts church attendance falling by 90%. But a dying faith clings hard to its inexplicable influence on public life.

Labour has encouraged the power of the religions to a remarkable degree, consulting them on endless committees. To be an atheist is now unacceptable in a political leader: when Nick Clegg confessed his non-belief, he had to recant and re-define himself as an “agnostic”. The BBC is increasing religious broadcasting; Radio 4 already does 200 hours. Is this by popular demand? No. An Ofcom survey put religion last in the public’s interests.

(From Polly Toynbee in Comment is free; emphasis mine.)