Desecularisation has taken place in Australia and in the UK in the last decade as religious organisations have been invited by governments to take a much greater part in public life. This process is an example of the way in which multiculturalism has developed into multifaithism, and is one manifestation of the rise of religion. Religious groupings have received contracts to run welfare services, received money to set up interfaith organisations and have been invited to take part in consultations on policy. Deliberate government policy has directed the setting up of more religious schools or the handing of state schools to religious organisations to run with state funding. The term desecularisation has been developed by scholars of religion and politics to describe the increasing prominence of religion in government policies and in the public sphere in states that had previously adopted some degree of secularisation (Berger, 1999). The respected sociologist of religion, Peter Berger, considers that Europe – the UK in particular – and Australia fulfil the sociological expectations of a progressive secularisation. I will argue here that this thesis holds true in terms of the levels of religiosity among the citizenry. It ignores, however, the phenomenon in the last decade in which a labour government in the UK and a liberal government in Australia both sought as a matter of purposeful policy to re-religionise the population and increase the role of religion in public affairs, despite the lack of enthusiasm on the part of their constituencies. This chapter will focus on the deployment of religion by governments in Australia and the UK, and argue that this is likely to be harmful to women’s equality. Feminist political theorist Anne Phillips asserts that there has been a global trend towards what she called the ‘deprivatisation’ of religion, and its increasing salience on the political stage

(Phillips, 2009, p. 4). Desecularisation is of concern because, as she puts it, ‘I shall simply assert – without argument – that a fusion of state and religion is not favourable to gender equality. Religions are not democracies’ (Phillips, 2009, p. 9).