Comments: Reforming the House of Lords - 2

So much for the bishops' sense of self-importance. We here in the US never got to kick out the bishops along with the aristocratic governors for the simple reason that in the 160 years prior to our declaration of independence the CofE never saw fit to send a single bishop.

Posted by Kahu Aloha at Monday, 15 March 2010 at 3:51am GMT

Very interesting. At any point do they break down the Christian stat? I wonder what the figures would be amongst English Anglicans.

Posted by Judith Maltby at Monday, 15 March 2010 at 8:35am GMT

To Lutherans mixing Church and State damages both irretrieably. Both Rome and Calvinism does that.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Monday, 15 March 2010 at 10:15am GMT

"74% of the population - including 70% of Christians - believe it is wrong that some Church of England Bishops are given an automatic seat in the House of Lords." - ICM Survey -

This particular statistic - if verifiable - should give the Church of England cause to reflect upon the present inequitable situation of 'automatic' seats in the House of Lords for 'certain' Bishops.

This will no doubt encourage debate on the present system of the legislative power available to un-elected members of a specific faith community. The question for everyone is whether or not this system can any longer be seen to be democratic and just - in a society with no written constitution which would entitle it to be called 'theocratic.'

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 15 March 2010 at 10:35am GMT

I am glad about this. This automatic right is against the principles of a modern, egalitarian society and in practice, of course, a majority of our bishops spend their time and energies defending the indefensible and bringing our church into disrepute. Perhaps some of them will now begin to acquire a bit of much-needed humility. Expect much squawking, but the unwelcome knowledge that a majority of their flock think they should go (from this particular venue - though perhaps also full stop!) may sober them up a bit. (Not T Wright of course.)

Posted by john at Monday, 15 March 2010 at 8:27pm GMT

" Even more persuasive is that 70% of Christians want the bishops gone, and only 26% are in favour of keeping them. We are the only western country with theocracy in its law-making."
- Polly Toynbee, Guardian Comment -

Theocratic States (ruled by Religious Law) have never been very successful from Constantine onwards. They guarantee neither domocracy nor justice. The sooner Church of England Bishops withdraw peaceably and voluntarily from their toe-hold in the house of Lords, the better for both common justice and democracy.

After all, we know the problem of the dominance of religion in other, Muslim, theocracies. Why should we cling to this process of systemic involvement of unelected C.of E. Bishops in the legislative process of the H.of L., when we see the way in which people are treated in other theocratic governments?

A conscientious move by the Bishops, now, could prevent the possibility of a future governed by Sharia Law in England. There would then be no excuse for preferential treatment for any religious body. God does not need protection!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 15 March 2010 at 8:47pm GMT

I think it's a bit much to describe the UK as a theocracy simply because there are bishops in the House of Lords. In fact, the comparison between the UK government and non-Western theocratic states is just ridiculous.

I realise that the present system is not entirely satisfactory (ie. it gives certain bishops a soapbox upon which to stand) but ideally, the HoL ought to provide a system of checks and balances to the elected House of Commons. Rather than inventing a new Second Chamber, which will be as politically polarised as the HoC, we ought to increase representation in the Lords (including other Christian denominations and faiths).

The sad fact is that voter turnout at General Elections in the UK is nowhere near as high as it could be. Are people really going to vote in yet another set of elections for a Senate?

Posted by Nick Lincoln at Tuesday, 16 March 2010 at 9:52am GMT

I don't have enough trust left in me to support

'increase representation in the Lords (including other Christian denominations and faiths).'

Posted by Rev L Roberts at Tuesday, 16 March 2010 at 5:25pm GMT

"I realise that the present system is not entirely satisfactory (ie. it gives certain bishops a soapbox upon which to stand)."
- Nick Lincoln, on Tuesday -

And this, Nick, is precisely why those of us who do not support the anti-gay statements of certain of the Bishops who are misleading the House of Lords (from a privileged position within that House) on 'bogey-man' issues like the entirely spurious potential of clergy of the Church of England being subject to prosecution for not agreeing to host a Church Blessing for Civil Partnerships. The movers of the amendment have made that very clear.

Such duplicity is not becoming in the State Church and Bishops of the C.of E. do hold an invidious position in an Upper chamber of Government, which smacks of an out-of-date hierarchical privilege, not available to other faith communities.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 16 March 2010 at 9:24pm GMT

Now here in 'Uhmerka we gots J.D. Heyworth who is challenging John McCain, Senator from Arizona who is proposing a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages altogether. He likens gay sex to bestiality (likens same-sex recognition as marrying your horse).

Do you think this guy is any better than +Winchester?

Warning: You could do far worse, so be careful.

My guess is that +Winchester has dug himself a hole deep along the L&SW mainline between Basingstoke and Portsmouth so deep he couldn't see the whites of a horse's eye.

Meanwhile, we've still 'gots' cowboys over here. Ye-haw.

Be careful for what you pray for.

Posted by evensongjunkie (formerly cbfh) at Wednesday, 17 March 2010 at 12:55am GMT

I think I agree with Father Ron Smith. There's hardly a thing from these figures that would leave one to rely on there being in the short- or mid-term a secular Muslim constituency in the UK.

We don't need theocrats of any stripe: the Bishops may find that they become, if they stay, the thin end of a very large wedge.

Posted by Achilles at Wednesday, 17 March 2010 at 11:13am GMT

"Now here in 'Uhmerka we gots J.D. Heyworth who is challenging John McCain, Senator from Arizona who is proposing a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages altogether. He likens gay sex to bestiality (likens same-sex recognition as marrying your horse)."

True enough - elections can result in idiots in the Senate and in the House. They can also result in a Teddy Kennedy, a Barney Frank. Lately our elected scoundrels - all male so far - have been mostly randy rather than outright crooks, but we've had those too. It's one of the risks of democracy. Luckily, many of the randy ones are also bone stupid, and get caught, and even better, the electorate can toss them out.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Wednesday, 17 March 2010 at 12:31pm GMT

Thing of it is Cynthia, is how they get IN there...by slandering groups of people and lying outright in countless paid television ads. At least a member of the House of Lords probably had to at least behave themselves to get into the club. Granted, getting them out is a problem, but I suspect the British tradition of cold-blooded politeness deals with it quite effectively.

Posted by evensongjunkie (formerly cbfh) at Wednesday, 17 March 2010 at 7:57pm GMT
Post a comment









Remember personal info?






Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.