Labour Humanists have put together a great panel, and it should be a fascinating debate on a subject we've covered in the past in New Humanist. Here's the blurb from their website:
The UK is the only Western democracy that has clerics in its parliament as of right. With reform of the House of Lords currently a hot topic, Labour Humanists are hosting an open debate on whether it is time to evict the "Lords Spiritual."Remember, it's free, but you have to book first.
Is their presence in the House of Lords unsupportable in a country where less than half of the people belong to Christianity, far less, the Church of England? Those opposed would point out these clerics are all men, they are unrepresentative and - despite their claims - they have no special insight or universally accepted morality to bring to the debate. They also point out that this is unfair on those of other faiths, and those of no faith. If we are to have religious leaders in our legislature, then should we not also have Islamic, Jewish, Sikh and Scientologist leaders in there too, by right?
Yet their supporters would say that as non-aligned members, their activities in the Upper House are not subject to a whip, and can be a force for good. Their presence in the Lords, supporters claim, is an extension of their general vocation as bishops to preach God's word and to lead people in prayer. Bishops provide an important independent voice, and spiritual insight to the work of the Upper House; and are a voice for all people of faith, not just Christians.