Comments: House of Lords reform and the bishops

It had been rumoured that Wales and Scotland Anglicans would get a seat .....

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Sunday, 1 April 2012 at 9:55pm BST

There are no Bishops in the single House of Parliament in Aotearoa/New Zealand, but I don't see that as a great difficulty for the governance of our freely-elected parliamentary system.

Christians ought not align themselves completely with any system of government - except perhaps their own - but preferably not with world-domination as a prospect.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 2 April 2012 at 12:17am BST

It had been rumoured that Wales and Scotland Anglicans would get a seat .....

Just checking the date before replying....

From a Scottish perspective... Why? The SEC is not an established church.

Posted by Kennedy at Monday, 2 April 2012 at 8:44am BST

Most TA readers already know, but:

1. 12 C of E bishops in the legislature, all male, scales up to about 57 faith representatives total, mostly female, if you are to represent faith (and what about non-faith?);
2. Church of Scotland, Baptists, and Catholics all rejected the 2000 offer of representation in the legislature for their own theological reasons (all good, and all different);
3. The bishops have acted as protectors of an interest group, not as protectors of religion. See their behaviour over Equality Act 2010, and behaviour of some of them in attempting to block religious freedom for Quakers, Unitarians and Jews (who seek it for themselves, not to impose on others);
4. Letting Welsh and Scots bishops into the legislature, suggested by Martin on April 1, entails repeal of Acts of Union 1706/7 and Welsh Church Act 1914.

Posted by Iain McLean at Monday, 2 April 2012 at 10:11am BST

What Iain said.

Posted by Scot Peterson at Monday, 2 April 2012 at 10:50am BST

Ah..... a master class .... thanks Iain!

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Monday, 2 April 2012 at 11:25am BST

I seem to have fallen victim to a hunt-the-gowk as I looked at the date/time on my RSS feed rather than the original post....

Posted by kennedy fraser at Monday, 2 April 2012 at 11:44am BST

Always strikes me as faintly amusing when the secularising left wing (and I speak as a quondam 'Guardianista') delivers paeans of praise to the bishops when they vote against repressive government policies (eg the benefits cap) and then forget this speedily as soon as it is convenient. The comments about opposition to euthanasia, for example, neatly ignores the majority opinion against it by medics! But what the hell, any stick....

Posted by david rowett at Monday, 2 April 2012 at 1:48pm BST

Disgusted..that a denomination that has less than a million regularly attending its services and baptizes less than a fifth of the new babies is given such a privileged position.

Posted by robert Ian Williams at Monday, 2 April 2012 at 4:54pm BST

Twelve bishops in the Lords sounds quite Biblical to me. Presumably Cantuar, Ebor, Londin, Dunelm and Winton remain but how will they decide which other seven overseers join them on the red benches to become the Lords Spiritual?

Posted by Father David at Monday, 2 April 2012 at 5:35pm BST

For once I find myself in agreement with the mainstream view on TA :) No Bishops in government, and time to disestablish the church and let the monarch hold whatever faith he or she chooses - or none at all.

Posted by Clive at Monday, 2 April 2012 at 5:37pm BST

Something to be viewed and understood in the context of historical accident, RIW - like the bishop of Rome as head of the universal church.

Posted by Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer at Monday, 2 April 2012 at 7:02pm BST

I want to echo or parallel Fr. Ron Smith's comments.
There is no official established church in the USA -- it's flatly forbidden -- but despite this, nay, BECAUSE of this, religion flourishes. And, despite very noisy protestations by the self-martyring wing of the Christian religion to the contrary, religion is quite active in the public square. Too active, IMHO, but then I fall victim at times to what david rovett so succinctly describes in his first sentence.
Furthermore, there is no bar -- except internally within religions themselves -- to the ministers of any faith running for legislative office. There probably have been others, but I clearly remember a "Father Drinan" being a very effective voice for liberal points of view on the floor of the US House of Representatives in the early 1970s -- until the Roman Catholic Church literally told him to shut up, finish out his term, and report to a monastery.
So, why not have no Lords Spiritual, let each faith make its own rules about clergy or minister participation in politics, and let them seek public office the way any other person in England would seek to run for Parliament or the reformed House of Lords?

Posted by peterpi - Peter Gross at Monday, 2 April 2012 at 7:53pm BST

'like the bishop of Rome as head of the universal church.'

What are you talking about ?

NO, no, no , no. Never.

Read JC Ryle's 'The True Church' pleeease.

If you confuse the RC denomination with 'the universal church' are you an Anglican ?

Why do so many here concede so much to Rome ?

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Monday, 2 April 2012 at 10:22pm BST

Irony, Laurence.

Posted by Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer at Tuesday, 3 April 2012 at 11:44am BST

"like the bishop of Rome as head of the universal church." - Crazy-Rabbit -

I really thought that the pope was only Head of the Roman Catholics. He certainly does not have any jurisdiction over the Orthodox Churches of the East of any of the 'Separated Brethren and Sistren' of the numerous other Christian Churches.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 3 April 2012 at 11:49am BST

Lapin, I sometimes enjoy irony on this site. However, we do have an odd sort of irony appearing from time to time from, for example; RIW, who is actually a Roman Catholic who seems to be much more interested in dismissing the politics of his old love - evangelical Anglicanism.

It does help to post under one's own banner - so to speak.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 4 April 2012 at 1:35am BST

Irony, Laurence.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer on Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Oops ! Thanks Lapinb

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Wednesday, 4 April 2012 at 3:48am BST
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