Sean Gabb in The Times - Friday 24th October 2008
- 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.
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.
Any cut to public services is miscalculation
Should the Church be disestablished? 'No'
Management briefing: social services
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 Lords 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" -