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Shaker

Clegg supports disestablishment

Clicky linky:

Quote:
The Queen should lose her constitutional role as head of the Church of England, Nick Clegg has said.

In comments that divided the Coalition, the Deputy Prime Minister became the most senior politician of modern times to propose the disestablishment of the Church.

Mr Clegg believes that the Anglican Church would “thrive” if no longer “inhibited” by its role at the heart of the British constitution.

The disestablishment of the Church would undo a constitutional settlement that has stood since Henry VIII rejected the authority of the Roman Catholic Church in 1534. The Queen holds the title of Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

Mr Clegg and the Lib Dems have a long-standing commitment to disestablishment, but this is the first time he has publicly backed the cause since entering government in 2010. Aides said Mr Clegg believed it was an anomaly for one denomination to have a constitutional role, given Britain is a multi-faith society with almost as many Catholics as Anglicans.

Sources close to Mr Clegg said he had a “huge admiration” for Christians and their contribution to Britain, but that he believed the Church was “inhibited and circumscribed” by its constitutional role.

If disestablishment took place, “it would be answerable to itself and God, if that’s what you believe, rather than other institutions”, a senior Lib Dem source said. “It’s a liberal stance of self-governance.”

Disestablishing the Church of England was a central demand of Catholics, liberals and Christian nonconformists in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

It is also a demand of many atheists, who believe religion should have no position in the British constitution.
The Boyg

A serious national debate over this is long overdue, in my opinion.

Although the cynical part of me wonders over the timing of Clegg's statement, given Cameron's "Christian country" comments in his Easter message. Is this just another example of the coalition partners trying to create differentiation in advance of next year's general election?
Shaker

The Boyg wrote:
A serious national debate over this is long overdue, in my opinion.

Fully agreed.

Quote:
Although the cynical part of me wonders over the timing of Clegg's statement, given Cameron's "Christian country" comments in his Easter message. Is this just another example of the coalition partners trying to create differentiation in advance of next year's general election?

Not necessarily: according to the article disestablishment is a long-standing LD policy (since 1990, I gather: I've just had a poke around and discovered that Simon Hughes advanced a Private Member's Bill to this effect in 1993), though doubtless Clegg raised it now purely because of recent comments by Pickles and Cameron.
Jim

Re: Clegg supports disestablishment

Shaker wrote:
Clicky linky:

Quote:
The Queen should lose her constitutional role as head of the Church of England, Nick Clegg has said.

In comments that divided the Coalition, the Deputy Prime Minister became the most senior politician of modern times to propose the disestablishment of the Church.
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Well, he's got to be right at least once....hasn't he?
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Mr Clegg believes that the Anglican Church would “thrive” if no longer “inhibited” by its role at the heart of the British constitution.  
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Yep...
but 'British'?
What the heck does Anglicanism have to do with Britain?
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The disestablishment of the Church would undo a constitutional settlement that has stood since Henry VIII rejected the authority of the Roman Catholic Church in 1534. The Queen holds the title of Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

Mr Clegg and the Lib Dems have a long-standing commitment to disestablishment, but this is the first time he has publicly backed the cause since entering government in 2010. Aides said Mr Clegg believed it was an anomaly for one denomination to have a constitutional role, given Britain is a multi-faith society with almost as many Catholics as Anglicans.  
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Doesn't he mean "England"?
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Sources close to Mr Clegg said he had a “huge admiration” for Christians and their contribution to Britain, but that he believed the Church was “inhibited and circumscribed” by its constitutional role.
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He's not wrong.
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If disestablishment took place, “it would be answerable to itself and God, if that’s what you believe, rather than other institutions”, a senior Lib Dem source said. “It’s a liberal stance of self-governance.”

Disestablishing the Church of England was a central demand of Catholics, liberals and Christian nonconformists in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

It is also a demand of many atheists, who believe religion should have no position in the British constitution.
Ketty

Separation of the Church of England from 'State' is inevitable, but it's so intertwined with our history, laws, royalty, parliament, and all that which rules us and rules over us it's a more complicated exercise than a simple walking away from each other.  If it happens; when it happens, it will be a significant point in our history.  Once the process starts there will be no going back, and I think maybe it could be the death knell for Anglicanism.
Shaker

Why would it be the death knell for Anglicanism? That implies two things, as I see it: (1) that currently Anglicanism is only being propped up by the C of E being the established church of one nation, and (2) that Anglicanism, despite the name, is a uniquely English thing, whereas the Anglican Communion is worldwide.

Agree that disestablishment is, ultimately, inevitable, though. An established state religion which actually has the adherence of such a small minority of the population (small and consistently dwindling at that) simply won't stand for very much longer.

The next most interesting step along this particular road will be when the Queen dies and Charles - presumably - takes over.
Ketty

Shaker wrote:
Why would it be the death knell for Anglicanism?


It could be a slow death, not instantaneous:  Numbers are falling anyway.  A significant number of the hierarchy are 'career clergy' - this will no longer be as attractive when you know you will no longer get automatic invitations to spend some time at Christmas at Sandringham or get regular invitations to Buckingham Palace, and you'll be no longer regularly mixing with the 'great' and 'good', or have invitations to be a Lord Spiritual.  There will be more selling off of the organisation's assets in order to meet increasing costs no longer aided by the same level of parish shares . . . lots of reasons I can see a possible decline to the death of the Church of England as we know it even without the current State connections.  Add all that together into the mix that is the Anglican current slow slide towards a schism caused by the move towards women Bishops, etc.

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