The Telegraph has reported that one senior Conservative MP has stated that “The Archbishop of Canterbury should stop “shouting” at the government like a noisy protester in Parliament Square if he wants Church of England bishops to keep their seats in the House of Lords”
Tony Baldry, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, had said in the Church Times Newspaper that “dismayed” Tory MPs and ministers “simply feel monumentally misunderstood by the Archbishop”, who they believe has failed to grasp the scale of the financial difficulties that the coalition inherited from Labour.
I am disappointed that, less than a year into this Parliament – a Parliament almost certainly of a five-year term – the perception of many MPs sitting on the Coalition benches is that the Church of England is shouting at us from the other side of the street,” he said.Later in this Parliament, the Church of England is going to want the understanding of MPs, not least when they debate the place of the Church of England in a reformed, mainly elected Second Chamber.
Mr Baldry, who acts as the link between the Church of England and Parliament, likened Dr Williams to a woman who stands on the pavement outside the Palace of Westminster and shouts at MPs as they leave the building. Mr Baldry appeared to suggest that the continued support of MPs for the historic right of Church of England bishops to sit in the House of Lords could be jeopardised by further political interventions.
His comments follow Dr Williams’s article in the New Statesman last week, in which the Archbishop accused the Coalition of fuelling public fear by forcing through “radical policies for which no one voted”. Dr Williams said that the Prime Minister’s flagship “Big Society” initiative had become a “painfully stale” slogan and was viewed with “widespread suspicion” as a cover for funding cuts.
Some MPs want the government to strip the Church of its exemption from equality rules and force traditionalists to accept women bishops.
I wonder if all this is a threat? I mean, it certainly seems so. It can seem to one that the Government are suggesting that Rowan Williams shuts up, or loses the privilege of Lord Spiritual in the House of Lords. Church and State are closely related in this country. And whether one agrees with it or not, that’s just how it is. And as such, I feel that the Church should make it’s opinion on issues know. After all, the state has a lot to do with the Church in terms of ‘Big Society’. But the thing that I don’t understand is that this guy, Mr Baldry, is meant to be the link between the Church and Parliament. But he seems like a bit of a stirrer to me.
The again, I don’t know too much about the issue, or about the workings of intricate details between Church & State. I can only go by what the news has published. What do you think about this?
Does this article bring up the question of church and state, political correctness, the liberty of free speech, or something else?! Comments appreciated 🙂
Dean is a Minister in the Anglican Church. Currently he is Curate in the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry in South Wales. He was born and bred in Wales, is married to Megan, and has two dogs called Taliesin and Melyn, and two cats named Sinsir and Hâf. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BA Hons. in Theology & Religious Studies, and has studied for an MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He also holds a Cert.RSCM from the Royal School of Church Music. He loves playing music, walking, reading, blogging and horse riding as well as going to the cinema and theatre.
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