Church and state at odds
A hard-hitting report from senior leaders of the Church of England accuses the Government and Labour party of discriminating against Christian Churches in favour of other faiths, of ‘deep religious illiteracy’ and of having ‘no convincing moral direction’.
The 180-page report describes the Government as moral, but lacking a ‘compass’ and calls for the appointment of a ‘Minister for Religion’, who would act as the Prime Minister’s personal ‘faith envoy’ and who would recognise the contribution of faith communities to Britain across every government department.
Commenting in The Times newspaper Ruth Gledhill, the Religion Correspondent, suggests the report is an attempt by the Church to carve out a role for itself in the 21st century as a provider of welfare for young and old; particularly as it was issued just days after Archbishop of York Dr Sentamu accused Mr Brown of sacrificing liberty for misguided notions of equality and of betraying new Labour’s mantra of ‘rights and responsibilities’.
The authors find evidence of deep-seated hostility to the Church in particular, excluding it from important areas of policy and research. They portray a Government committed to research into Muslim communities but barely interested in Christian involvement in Britain’s civic and charitable life.
Outlining evidence of huge fault-lines in the relations between Church and state, they write: ‘The Government is planning blind and has no convincing moral direction’.