Put religion back in its box – David Starkey
David Starkey argues that the Church must be disestablished to ensure that other religions can’t claim a right to faith schools and the other privileges it has. We need “a level playing field”.
I adore much about the Church of England, profound atheist though I am. I raise funds for its cathedrals and parish churches, which I regard as absolutely intrinsic to the fabric of England. But because of what is happening with Islam, the sweet, confused C of E has, alas, to be disestablished. Britain must become a secular state.
One of the consequences of the Church’s privileged position, Starkey writes, is that…
…in the House of Lords we have the extraordinary situation where religious leaders sit ex officio in the legislature. Only one other country entertains the practice — the Islamic Republic of Iran. Now it is being suggested that because bishops are represented in the Lords, therefore rabbis, Catholic archbishops and imams should also sit there. This, in the early 21st century, is grotesque.
Over the last couple of years we’ve seen the Government getting into difficulties over “multiculturalism”, as various religious lobbyists have demanded the same privileges as the C of E. Increasingly, unelected religionists are having an influence on the politics of this country, and the rot must stop. Disestablishment is essential, isn’t it?