Beith: church disestablishment “not necessary”

by Stephen Tall on November 11, 2008

The Religious Intelligence website has the story:

A DISESTABLISHED Church is not part of a truly liberal society, the British MP Sir Alan Beith has said.

Speaking at the Liberal Democrat Christian Forum’s inaugural Gladstone Lecture [entitled Faith, Passion and Politics], Sir Alan told members of the Liberal Democrat party that “disestablishment is not a necessary feature of a diverse and multi-cultural society.”

He said: “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.”

He went on to say: “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.”