Sunday, 7 April 2013

Greg Mulholland to disestablish CofE???

Imagine my surprise last night, when I was leafing through the Evening Standard on the train home, and discovered that Greg Mulholland (Lib Dem MP for Leeds North West) is taking the first steps to disestablishing the
Church of England.

Er.... Are you sure Chris?

Afraid so. If you don't believe me the whole article was reproduced in the Huffingdon post.

To go into greater detail it isn't as bad as it sounds.

One of the most divisive parts of the introduction of Gay marriage has been the fact that basically the state is perceived as ordering Religious leaders to make it so and dictating rules on what people had to believe.

One of the problems that many probably had with the proposition of equal marriage was that the state was effectively telling them that their beliefs were wrong and correcting the word of God rather than any deep seated Homophobic views or hatred. The British government has no right to tell Muslims, Catholics or even Church of England what they can believe.

I know some scions of the Christian Church still view homosexuality as wrong or sinful and although, I personally have a more enlightened approach I cannot tell them that their interpretation of the scriptures and Bible are wrong. After all the freedom to practise your own spirituality and beliefs is one of the cores of Liberalism - as long as it isn't being actively used to persecute and restrict the freedoms of the Gay community.

So we reach an impasse of what is more important - something Greg has stressed in this online press release on the subject.

He states:

I also want to make it clear that, as a liberal, I do also believe that it should be up to each faith and belief based organisation to decide for themselves what they believe marriage to mean and who it should be open to. I also do believe that the current situation, where same sex couples in civil partnerships lack some of the rights of civil married opposite sex couples (notably on partner's pension rights) is not equal or fair and must be addressed.

Which I think is something we can all agree with.

It further makes sense that you should secularise civil and state marriages and leave them as a wholly
civil/state controlled affair.

I am a little shaky on the removal of the clause that means adultery can be used as grounds for divorce but lets see how that plays out.

This isn't the end of the Church of England, nor is it a great secularisation of State and marriage, rather a way of encouraging equality for married couples, no matter what your orientation, and giving religious bodies the right to practise their beliefs and definitions of marriage as they see fit. How can this be a problem?

Religion is not as big a part of a significant part of the nation's life anymore, unless you are dying or there is a major sporting event on and for many marriage is about the committing as a couple rather than before God. Attitudes have changed as well over the last fifty years and now Homosexuality is considered, and rightly so, as the norm where as my Grandad was a policeman at the time it was illegal and was involved in arrests!

Greg's motion is something that should definitely be considered and is the best liberal answer to a groundbreaking move within politics and society to finally make people equal in marriage. It is hardly the first step in disestablishing the C of E, but giving them the freedom to practise their beliefs without interference from the State.


  1. Whilst I support Greg's amendments (in a way), you characterisation of the Same-Sex Marriage Bill as telling religious organisations what they can believe (and this is why it needs amending) are way off the mark. The Government has bent over backwards to protect their rights to believe and, more importantly, practice what they believe.

    1. The problem is that the act does come across as dictating to religious groups or atleast that is the portrayal and fear amongst people.

      Also, if you take public opinion as read on the twittersphere there was a lot of anti religious sentiment from people who have referred to the devout as "Religious zealots/biggots" so I felt the characterisation was fair in a way