Monday, 21 June 2004

disestablishment report

A think tank called New Politics Network has issued a report entitled The Church of England and the State.
A press release of 7 June is here: Church of England “would be freed” by reforming establishment, says new report.

The report, The Church of England and the State, argues that the present system of establishment should be reformed to create a greater degree of separation between the State and the Church of England. It holds that this is not disestablishment, as it proposes maintaining the Church’s status as the national church in England. The paper advocates removing political control over Church affairs, and allowing it the same degree of self-governance that the Church of Scotland has enjoyed since 1921.

Furthermore, the paper advocates the removal of the bishops from the House of Lords and any successor body on the grounds that they constitute an unfair and ineffective mechanism for the faith groups of the United Kingdom to influence political decision-making. In seeking to move to a more fair and equitable foundation, the paper advocates the creation of a United Kingdom Council of Faith, thus giving all faith groups political recognition and a fair mechanism through which their voice can be heard at Westminster, and in society as a whole.

A second press release dated 16 June, New Report Proposes Council of Faith as Alternative to Bishops in the Lords has provoked news reports today in both The Times and the Guardian but only the latter mentions that Bishop Colin Buchanan contributed a foreword to the report.

Guardian Bishop calls for end to link to state

A bishop today describes the Church of England’s established status as indefensible, in a pamphlet arguing that the church should lose its political ties to the state.

The Rt Rev Colin Buchanan, Bishop of Woolwich, says: “In this, as in so many other things, the Church of England prefers to live by fantasy rather than look coolly at the facts.”

The Times Support fades for Established Church

Today’s report, The Church of England and the State, indicates that this support may be fading. In a project headed by Iain McLean, Professor of Politics at Oxford University, researchers interviewed leading representatives from the Roman Catholic, Scottish Episcopal, Methodist, Quaker, Presbyterian and Baptist churches, as well as senior figures from the Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist faiths.

One third of the respondents favoured the present state of establishment, a third opposed it and a third had reservations about the present system. Opponents objected to the presence of bishops in the House of Lords and raised questions over the role of the Queen as Supreme Governor.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 21 June 2004 at 10:12 PM GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England