LDV readers say: yes to Church of England disestablishment

by Stephen Tall on January 5, 2009

The last poll of 2008 here on LDV was a bit of a throwback for us liberals, with the question of church disestablishment rearing its head amid reports that Labour is considering reforming the 1701 Act of Settlement barring Catholics from ascending to the throne. LDV asked: Do you think the time has now come for the Church of England to be disestablished?

Here’s what you told us:

>> 47% (147) – Yes, the link between state and church should be immediately ended

>> 35% (107) – Yes, in principle, but it is a minor issue
>> 17% (52) – No, it is important to retain the link between church and state
>> 2% (5) – Don’t know / Other
Total Votes: 308. Poll ran: 22 Dec 2008 – 3 Jan 2009

So a massive 82% of you are in favour of ending the link between Church and state, with a plurality of you believing it should end immediately. A significant minority – more than one-third of LDV-reading voters (including me) – reckon the principle of disestablishment is right, but question whether it should be seen as a priority.
but are less concerned about it happening immediately

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While I abhor the existence of an “official” religion in a modern democracy, the pragmatist in me has to acknowledge that the Church of England has been a very effective mechanism for keeping religion “under control”.

Whenever I dream of church/state separation in the UK, I remind myself of the USA – a nation whose founding principles included it, but which looks more depressingly theocratic with each passing headline. With that example, it’s hard to imagine disestablishment having the effect here that its supporters – and I – would desire.

by Rob Stradling on January 5, 2009 at 9:03 pm. Reply #

Rob Stradling, perhaps the model of the Netherlands is in that case more encouraging. No established religion for over 100 years (though the monarch still can’t be a catholic), and the country is considered to be one of the most tolerants. Then there’s France, though not really liberal, not a theocracy either.

by Anonymous on January 5, 2009 at 9:23 pm. Reply #

Erm, it’s not a good sign that your commenters see government control of the CofE as a way to “control religion” rather than a service to the community!

End this ancient abuse now.

by Roger Pearse on January 6, 2009 at 12:54 pm. Reply #

I think that supporters of disestablishment imagine that it will mean an end to offical sanction, and artifical respect, for superstition.

If I believed that, I’d be all for it.

Sadly, what I see as more likely is the extension of that respect to all the *other* superstitions. And let’s face it, most of them are considerably more iniquitous than “vanilla” CofE.

I fear that Freedom of Religion simply means *More* Religion. Surely, what we should be working towards is Freedom *From* Religion?

by Rob Stradling on January 6, 2009 at 8:45 pm. Reply #

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