Petition calling for the church and state to be separated(11 Posts)
This e-petition may interest a few people here:
Separate the Church from the State
This petition calls for the disestablishment of the Church of England, the end of the Bishops' automatic seat in the House of Lords, the removal of religious ceremony from our Government institutions and the end of State-subsidised faith schools. There should be no State-sanctioned religious privilege.
Can we actually afford to buy out the Church from its ownership of land and buildings?
Also, will all faith schools have to close/change? (eg the 3 brand new Hindu free schools)
I'm fairly neutral about the changes, but think the cost and effort is disproportional at a time when the country is broke.
I don't think there is any state-sanctioned religious privilege. Christian groups seem to spend most of their time moaning that they are being discriminated against
it is weird that bishops automatically get a seat in the house of lords, unelected and without any special skills/knowledge.
Its weird that we pay to indoctrinate random children.
At the moment, in britain, christianity is mild. But what if it wasnt?
"What it if wasn't?"... you mean what if we suddenly had fundamentalist Cof E Bishops, demanding radical, oppressive changes to the law? We tolerate the christian involvement in our legal system precisely because the influence is minor. If the bishops got big ideas that they ran the show they'd be out of the picture pretty quickly. We've managed to create a successfully secularist, multicultural state within a christian-lite tradition and I think that's a credit to the commonsense of the people of Britain. Children are not usually indoctrinated but are educated about all religions. Contrast this with the US, for example, which has zero official connection between church and state but which is horribly intolerant and prejudiced against anything that isn't judeo-chrisitan
More than simply being moderate the influence of the C of E has been positively benign since WW2. It has helped shape us into a tolerant and liberal society.
I am not Anglican, btw. But appreciate the church's influence on this country.
It'll make very little difference - the Archbishops may get their House of Lords seats at present as Lords Spiritual, so do other religion (eg Chief Rabbi). They'd probably still be appointed.
It would make a difference to the pomp - but none to the substance. There would be an enormous amount of things that would need to be rewritten, but none of these would produce any actual change.
It would make no difference to faith schools - this is separate (in terms of ownership, in many cases) and part of the very founding of state schools in terms of the Church of England. And if course, other denomination's schools and religions (eg the three Hindu ones which opened this month) would be unaffected by disestablishment.
I think there are more important things right now for the Government to be putting time and effort into.
^More than simply being moderate the influence of the C of E has been positively benign since WW2. It has helped shape us into a tolerant and liberal society.
I am not Anglican, btw. But appreciate the church's influence on this country.^
Well written Abra1d.
And a perfect example of th CofE's modernation is the uptake of Darwins Theory of Evolution at the end of the 19th century. Although some elements of the CofE put up some resistence, the very moderate nature of the Church and the superb arguments of Thomas Huxley in the famous 1860 debate with Samuel Wilberforce ensured that the theory became grounded, adopted, and contributed to huge advances in medical science.
That probably could only have happened initially in England, and the CofE have to take a lot of credit for that. An awful lot of CofE priests in the 19th century were also early fossil-collectors and geologists. They were amongst those who lay the groundwork for Darwin, and ensured the theory was given a hearing, and took hold.
You only have to look at the States or Iran to see real collusion between religion and state. I can only see the CofE as being a positive force in modern times.
(by the way I'm relapsed Catholic)
As a Christian I would dearly love to see the C of E disestablished. Establishment does the church and Christianity nothing but harm IMO. But its worth bearing in mind that establishment is actually a pretty good deal for the state and the population at large. At the moment the C of E functions as the ecclesiastical wing of the National Trust, maintaining thousands of cathedrals and churches at relatively little cost to the tax payer. It also provides the secular population with historic venues and rituals to mark births, marriages and deaths, without requiring them to believe much of anything in return.
PS The idea that Anglicanism is a uniquely liberal form of Christianity is actually quite inaccurate. Several of the UK's non-conformist denominations are comfortably to the left of the C of E. Likewise nowadays most C of E congregations with substantial numbers under fifty are evangelical and sometimes very theologically conservative (although its worth noting that in the UK theological conservativism by no means equates with political conservatism). The C of E will be largely evangelical in a generation largely because no one else will be left.
Much as I disapprove of the privileging of any superstition, if there has to be one linked to the state, wooly Anglicanism is not too awful. I would worry about what might jump into the gap.
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