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Sean Gabb in The Times - Friday 24th October 2008

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  • Dr Sean Gabb
    Dear All, A useful tie-in with the Libertarian Alliance Conference, which takes place this weekend in London. If you follow the link below, you ll get to the
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 23, 2008
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      Dear All,

      A useful tie-in with the Libertarian Alliance Conference, which takes
      place this weekend in London.

      If you follow the link below, you'll get to the website where the article
      appears, and you can leave your own comments for or against.


      Sean Gabb


      From The TimesOctober 24, 2008

      Should the Church be disestablished? Yes, says Dr Sean Gabb
      Yes: Dr Sean Gabb Director of the Libertarian Alliance

      "In the British Constitution, Church and State are joined. The Queen is
      head of both. There are 26 Anglican bishops in Parliament.

      The weak argument for disestablishment is that only a minority of people
      in Britain are Anglicans. Why should Catholics or Jews or Muslims or
      atheists defer officially to an institution that does not represent their

      This is not in itself a good argument. Establishment is part of the
      Constitution. If I move to Pakistan or Ireland, I would have to put up
      with the existing establishments there. Why should it be different with
      us? If it should be different, it is because the Church of England has
      ceased to be either intellectually or theologically respectable.

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      Anglicanism used to mean Cranmer and Hooker and Tillotson and Warburton
      and Paley. Malthus and Sydney Smith were Anglican priests. These were men
      who combined distinction in theological and secular learning with a
      broadly tolerant outlook.

      Nowadays, priests and bishops seem to be less interested in preaching the
      Gospel than in preaching an embarrassingly naïve socialism.

      It may be arguable that the true message of Christ is socialist. It may
      also be argued that the laws of supply and demand are as much part of the
      Divine Order as the laws of motion – and that Christians cannot validly
      pronounce on either without some study of the secular sciences that have
      uncovered them. If this is true, it is not enough for an Anglican priest
      to read The Guardian, announce that “God is love” and then make other
      than embarrassing pronouncements on interest rates and distribution of

      Now, the problem here is not that so many Anglican spokesmen appear to be
      of the Left, but that they seem wholly unaware of any other theological
      perspective on economics and politics.

      With this, I regret, goes their almost casual rejection of the Authorised
      Version of the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer in favour of new
      versions that are devoid of literary merit.

      The Church should be disestablished because it has, in a sense,
      disestablished itself. It has made itself an object of derision where not
      of contempt. It should not be allowed to continue representing itself as
      England at prayer.

      The practical argument against disestablishment is that the monarchy
      would be destabilised. Again, the monarchy has destabilised itself. The
      settlement by the Glorious Revolution of 1688 was that we would regard
      the monarch as the Lord’s anointed. The monarch would, in turn, safeguard
      our liberties. Without mentioning any other dereliction, Her Majesty this
      year allowed ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, despite its implications
      for how we govern ourselves, and despite the promise by the Government in
      2005 that what became the treaty would not be ratified without a

      Since the monarchy is at best on probation, therefore, and since the
      Church of England cannot be defended as it has become, the arguments for
      disestablishment strike me, however sadly, as too strong to be brushed

      Sean Gabb (away from home computer)
      Director, The Libertarian Alliance
      Tel: 07956 472 199
      Skype Username: seangabb


      Linkedin Details: http://www.linkedin.com/in/seangabb
      Wikipedia Entry: http://tinyurl.com/23jvoz

      FREE download of my book - "Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How
      Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back" -
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