Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Church disestablishment is necessary

. Liberal Democrat Voice carries a report of remarks made by Sir Alan Beith. Speaking at the Liberal Democrat Christian Forum’s inaugural Gladstone Lecture Sir Alan said that;

“disestablishment is not a necessary feature of a diverse and multi-cultural society.

I know of no evidence that significant numbers of Muslims, Jews, Hindus or Sikhs
are at all interested in getting the Church of England disestablished, and it is no longer a popular view with nonconformists or Catholics as it was a century ago.

Such is the confusion on these issues that in current conditions disestablishment might pander to the view that religion in general needs to be banished from society, painted out like offensive graffiti. It is that sort of view which produces ‘Winterval’ and ‘happy holidays’ instead of Christmas.”

Opponents of secularism always deliberately confuse it with active atheism and that is exactly what Sir Alan does here. Disestablishment is a call for the separation of church and state; in other words the banishment of organised religion from political and civic society but not society at large.

This is a key distinction because it diminishes secularism's universality and it's *acceptance* of religion as a private matter and transforms it into an active campaign against religion. An established Church entrenches it's power and influence in the polity, in this case through the position that its representatives occupy in the House of Lords. Disestablishment would necessarily see those representatives stripped of their peerages and is a measure that should be a cornerstone of modernising our democracy; especially when 'society' includes so many different religious groupings.

2 comments:

asquith said...

'Such is the confusion on these issues that in current conditions disestablishment might pander to the view that religion in general needs to be banished from society, painted out like offensive graffiti. It is that sort of view which produces ‘Winterval’ and ‘happy holidays’ instead of Christmas.” '

What a knobhead.

If he seriously imagines "Christmas" has got anything to do with Jesus, rather than just commercial indulgence added to a good old-fashioned pagan festival, he should be thoroughly ignored & excluded from respectable discourse.

If he wants to be outraged about affronts to Christianity, he shouldn't go after principled secularists like me. He knows who the real villains are, & it isn't the people Littlecock et al attack with their made-up bollocks.

Darrell G said...

Very true...