Thinking Anglicans

Equality Bill – Church of England briefing

The Equality Bill 2008-2009 had a second reading in the House of Commons on Monday. The Hansard record of that debate starts here.

The full text of the bill can be found in two PDF files, here, and here. For html formatted versions go here.

For background papers, this page is very useful.

See earlier article for my report in the Church Times on the Church of England’s criticism of the bill’s definition of the phrase “for the pur­poses of organised religion”.

The Mission and Public Affairs Council of the CofE issued a parliamentary briefing in advance of Monday’s debate. A PDF version is now on the Church Times website. An html version can be found here.

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Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

Under the heading ‘Church of England to challenge equality bill’, Riazat Butt writes in the Guardian today (16 May) [The church] argued the equality bill has ‘potential for drift’ towards government actively promoting religious equality ‘which could undermine the public place of the Church of England’.

There we have it, neither religious equality nor indeed human rights are of interest to the C of E. What matters is its place in society. What a sorry position the church has got itself into.

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

Richard Ashby rightly, in my opinion, questions the propriety of the C.of E. challenging the rights of others to propagate and practice their faith in the UK. For the C.of E. to any longer claim *special provision* emphasises the present outstanding criticism of other Christian bodies; that C.of E. is a ‘state religion’, having special privileges not available to other Christian Churches or any other religious bodies. To continue in this state dependency situation marks out the C.of E. as being different from other Anglican Churches around the world, which have to bear witness to Christ alongside people of other… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“Our brand of Angicanism is superior to yours” As an Anglican living in a country where we have no “official status”, but are merely one, rather small, group of Christians among many, I can honestly say I have never felt the CofE was claiming to be somehow more exalted than the rest of us. I just think it’s really, really funny, yet sweet in an oddly sentimental sort of way, that all these conservative eccentric old men get to play Empire and convince themselves they actually have power outside their very limited sphere. It’s like looking at some renactment village… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

No, Ford. Here’s one Englishman, living abroad, who does not consider himself superior to you – or to anyone else in the Communion. It’s just that I felt – as an Englishman abroad – that the dear old C.of E. (my alma mater) must try to extricate itself from the stigma of ‘State Church’. This has been one of the unfortunate situations in which certain Roman Catholics feel they are somewhat superior to what some of them want to label as a state-controlled religion, and therefore hardly to be trusted.

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

Fr. Ron, One of the joys of being a demmed colonial is having scorn for the colonizers. I often say, and it is not even half joking, that the best reason to keep the Commonwealth together is that no matter the colour of our skin, our language, our religion, we all of us have had the experience of having snotty upper class Brits look down their noses at us. It might have varied in severity depending on some racial factors, but it is a common experience for us. It also allows us a great deal of fodder for humour, and… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

Ford. Pax Vobiscum! I do value your sense of humor (or should that be humour?) It’s the likes of you on this site that keeps me going – together with lots of other lovely people who seem to share the need for an incarnate religous understanding of the God of Love. Good on yer! In this week of Prayer for Christian Unity, we Anglicans need to look to one another – as well as the larger multi-denominational sector – for signs of koinonia. “God has gone up with a merry noise, Alleluia! He has gone up with the sound of… Read more »