This so-far unloved petition was shared with me on Facebook the other day, and while I can’t bring myself to sign it – I agree with most, but not the dis-establishment of the Church of England – it has got me wondering why we still have such a thing as a “state religion” in the United Kingdom.
Like I said, I have no objection to the Church of England existing (and likewise its Scots equivalent). I know many members, and I know it does good work. What I can’t see the sense of, however, is declaring it our country’s religion. It is the most popular religion amongst the people of this country, and the religion of our head of state, but nothing more.
We do not just live in a “Church of England” country, or a Protestant one, or even a Christian one. We live in a Christian country, and a Muslim country and a Jewish country, a Sikh and Hindu country, a Buddhist and Pagan country, an Atheist and an Agnostic country, a Pastafarian and Scientologist country (for better or worse).
There is an English language, which there are some reasonable arguments in favour of requiring those who live here to speak. Of course no-one in their right mind would suggest that people who live here adopt the “English religion”, so why have such a concept in the first place? It can only serve as a small but niggling reminder to the nation’s Muslims and Sikhs that they aren’t quite as “English” as others.
I find the number of state-funded church schools quite odd too – in my town, there are only two non-faith schools, neither of which we are in the catchment area of. So I am paying money in the form of taxes for my child to be taught as fact something that is only an opinion, and one that I disagree with at that.
I understand the historical reasons behind the system, why the Church of England exists and why the concept of a state religion exists. But is it not a little out-dated now?
I admit that this post comes across as flame-bait, but I genuinely cannot think of an advantage to having a state religion, and I honestly welcome any comments that offer a reason as to why the state religion is useful to our society.