Una Kroll: Abandon establishment, and gain autonomy

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At the same time, those who now dissent from the Church of England’s “official” views on women, homosexuals, and some other moral issues would at least know clearly where they stood. The Church of England is currently being offered the opportunity to choose its own bishops and senior clergy. Its present discriminatory practices will probably continue, despite the law of the land.

In Britain, we now live in a society where women and homosexuals in civil partnerships are treated equally by the law, but continue to be treated unequally by the Church. Moral authority should be earned rather than given automatically to one denomination.

Changes in Church and society will happen according to the ethos of the people in different generations. A theocratic Church and other faith organisations can provide moral balance when such decisions are impending, but a parliamentary democracy needs to heed the voices of all people of faith and those of none, through its elected delegates.

Laws exist for the protection of individuals and communities, especially those who are vulnerable to oppression. This is one very good reason why in Britain there needs to be an end to parliamentary involvement by any religious denomination.

Otherwise, the Church of England may be using religious conscience to mask sexism and homophobia. It is time for the Church of England voluntarily to let go of its special relationship with the state, and to join other religious organisations on an equal footing in contributing to political, ethical, and social discussions.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

6 Comments
Posted March 30, 2008 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Cole wrote:

Let us see.  We can subtract traditional Western Christianity from Britain’s historic timeline and we are left with Roman pagan totalitarianism fighting barbaric paganism.  We can skip forward to a state that legislates not only how civil relationships may exist, but also how deep personal relationships must take place - Both between people with each other, and with God.  I am speaking about people’s freedom to decide this individually for themselves.  Is that a step forward or a step backward?

March 30, 4:57 pm | [comment link]
2. driver8 wrote:

Respect for the consciences of those who oppose the ordination of women to the priesthood has resulted in a marked disrespect for the consciences of those who want them to be employed by their community.

I am rather astonished my this. My anecdotal experience in a variety of dioceses in England is that those who favor women’s priestly ministry are absolutely not disrespected. However I rather suspect that what she means is that she desires legally to compel people to accept the priestly ministry of women (through, for example, non discrimination legislation) and feels her conscience is disrespected because such compulsion was not the path taken.

Indeed, this highlights a rather authoritarian undercurrent in Rev’d Kroll’s article. She wishes the church to be disestablished in order that it can be compelled, through prosecution if necessary, to accept her moral views.

Not so liberal after all?

March 31, 1:38 am | [comment link]
3. John Wilkins wrote:

driver8, I didn’t see compulsion, and her argument didn’t have any stats.  But “employment” is the key word.  Clearly she might have had an event im mind in a community where there was some conflict.

I think the essay does draw some interesting consequences for the church.  I wonder if churches can be compelled to obey the law of the land, or if they shall be reduced to having their own sorts of Sharia….

March 31, 3:01 pm | [comment link]
4. Cole wrote:

#3:  The subject of the thread is “establishment”, but the rationale or agenda of the writer is anti-church autonomy and tradition.  For those of us who think that the tradition and teachings of the church are not to be manipulated by the state, this rationale and agenda is troubling.  The first worry may be whether religion controls the state (I don’t think so much), but once the state controls religion, we all have lost a major liberty.  This argument is much higher than most of the politics argued on T1:9

March 31, 4:04 pm | [comment link]
5. driver8 wrote:

#3 The right to religious freedom is also a human right and should be protected under non discrimination legislation. I don’t see Rev’d Kroll making any arguments to protect that particular freedom.

March 31, 5:13 pm | [comment link]
6. driver8 wrote:

Along with some other religious communities (eg the RC church) the CofE has some hard fought and important exemptions from parts of employment legislation that respect its right to religious freedom. Rev’d Kroll is complaining at the way in which the right to religious freedom is protected in legislation and is suggesting that such rights be removed. If this were to occur, the church could then be prosecuted for breaching secular non discrimination legislation. Of course, she names exactly the kind of discrimination that she wishes to see prosecuted - the church’s “official” view about non celibate same sex relationships.  The desire for prosecution of religious minorities I view as authoritarian.

As I said - not really so liberal after all.

March 31, 5:30 pm | [comment link]
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