Human Rights Day and Lord's Prayer Advert

Date added: 09/08/18

Only 15% of Christians are aware that 10th December each year is earmarked to commemorate World Human Rights Day. In a survey launched by Christian Research on 27th November in the run-up to World Human Rights Day, 78% of those surveyed claimed to not be aware of the event. However, more than 80% said they felt the concept of human rights was relevant to them personally, while 69% said they believed the introduction of the Human Rights Act in Britain in 1997 had been a positive development. Only 14% disagreed, while less than 10% strongly disagreed.

Furthermore, when asked if they supported the controversial attempts by the current government to replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities, only 10% strongly supported the idea. The vast majority (more than 80%) of the respondents also felt Christianity to be compatible with human rights, and 84% said their religious convictions influenced their attitude to human rights.

The survey reflects the changing attitudes across Britain to the idea of human rights. In 2011, You Gov reported that more than 75% of people felt that the Human Rights Act was applied too widely and too liberally, used as a way to defend the rights of criminals. However, in a poll two years later by Com Res, between 89 – 97% of those surveyed felt that a right to privacy, a fair trial and the right to be free from torture and imprisonment were 'vital' or 'important.' 98% also felt that a law protecting these freedoms was essential – a figure that had rise from 93% in 2011.

Com Res' research, which was commissioned by the civil liberties campaign group Liberty, appeared to suggest that the atmosphere of hostility towards the Human Rights Act in recent years has been rooted in a a lack of understanding. Only 8% of those questioned remembered coming across any government-sponsored information explaining the Human Rights Act and what it protects.

The survey from Christian Research also asked participants for their views on the refusal of cinemas to show the Church of England's advert that contained the Lord's Prayer. 43% of those queried said they disagreed with the cinema's decision, while 36% said they felt the Church was right to pursue legal action to get the advert shown.

50% also said they felt strongly that it was unhealthy for society to become as increasingly secular as they perceive it to be. However, results were far more mixed about whether secular advertisers should use religious imagery: 30% agreed that they should, while 29% were undecided.

Research conducted with The Resonate panel in December 2016: 900 respondents