Member declared chair

by Freedom Declared Foundation

James Holt

Freedom Declared Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr James Holt, Associate Professor of Religious Education at the University of Chester, as the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the charity.

Freedom Declared Foundation was set up to promote Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) within the United Kingdom in a way that is not biased to any one faith or belief. The Foundation believes that the importance of religion or belief in individual lives is not truly understood across Government departments in the UK, resulting in lower awareness about the implementation of freedom of religion or belief in the UK. 

James has published widely on religious education and studies. He is the author of Religious Education in the Secondary School (Routledge, 2015; a second edition is due to be published in April 2022) and Beyond the Big Six Religions (University of Chester Press, 2019). He is currently writing a six-book series for Bloomsbury Publishing on individual religions. Through his work as a teacher, and for the last 13 years at the University of Chester in preparing teachers to teach religious education, James has felt the need to give a voice to those of all different religious beliefs and those with none.

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints James has commented, “I used to think that my own experiences as a Latter-day Saint were unique, but over the last 30 years, it has become evident that people of all religions and none, are facing challenges in the UK and abroad in expressing and living their beliefs. It is not a ‘me’ problem. It’s a human problem.”

In this new role James will assume responsibility for working with fellow trustees and the advisory board to enable freedom of religion and belief to be a reality for all, especially in the UK. The advisory board is made up of people from different religious and non-religious backgrounds. Commenting on freedom of religion and belief in the UK, James has suggested, “The Freedom Declared Foundation is potentially unique in its focus on the exploration of freedom of religion or belief in the UK. If we want to stand up and say that the world needs to do better, we first need to look internally and reflect on how we, as a nation, are doing.”

As part of Inter-faith Week, the Freedom Declared Foundation launched a YouTube video to announce James’ appointment and relay a recent lecture he gave on the place of FoRB in the UK.

Current and past projects of the Freedom Declared Foundation include a series of webinars exploring the impact of Covid-19 on freedom of religion or belief; and a newly launched discussion around people’s experiences with freedom of religion or belief in the UK.

More information is available from James Bundy (