Archbishop’s address highlights the need for disestablishment

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has commented on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s address to the General Synod, which made political statements, particularly on legislation on equalities and assisted dying.

Naomi Phillips, BHA Head of Public Affairs, said, ‘Rowan Williams’ address follows a huge amount of recent political activity by Church of England Bishops, who have taken their reserved seats in our Parliament to speak out and vote en bloc against progressive, ethical legislation.’

‘We know full well – and this will be highlighted many times throughout the meeting of the General Synod this week – that the Church’s stance on issues such as gay equality, women’s equality and reforming the law on assisted dying is not representative of even its own flock, let alone the rest of society.’

‘While the Church and its spokesmen have a right to express their views and a right to seek to influence legislation, let them do it equally to the rest of us as another civil society organisation, and not through sitting in our legislature as of right. The continuing conservatism of the Church is one of many important reasons why we should seek actively to abolish the remaining and significant ties between Church and State.’

Notes

For further comment or information, contact Naomi Phillips on 020 7079 3585.

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The British Humanist Association (BHA) is the national charity representing and supporting the non-religious and campaigning for an end to religious privilege and to discrimination based on religion or belief. It is the largest organisation in the UK working for a secular state.