Okay I admit I have been mulling over this for several weeks. Truth be told until David Cameron decided to tell us we were a Christian nation, the thought had never entered my head. I thought what the bloody hell is the idiot on about! From the time I wake up to going to sleep it has not impact on my day. Unless I’m on twitter and then the theists are out in droves like a flock of sheep. But that is pure entertainment value and anyway they are usually from the States. To be expected right?
Then of course I sat back and decided to check this bloody outrageous statement out. I don’t know about you but I don’t even know if there are any people in my daily working life etc that would be theists! I mean it is irrelevant. Nothing in my real life reflects religion, it doesn’t dictate how I act or what I can or cannot do. Okay, well maybe one incident :-
A few months ago a colleague took me aside and quietly requested for me to take off my silver Atheist necklace, apparently someone found it offensive. I did of course , know who they spoke of, and quickly replied, no problem at all, if the said colleague removed their crucifix which i found offensive i would be fine with it. Needless to say, problem solved and i wear my necklace proudly whenever i wish too…… aaah democracy
On looking further into it i found we do officially have a state religion.
So what does having a state religion mean?
To be honest not a lot! It seems to be more like having a state monarchy.. They are both more or less impotent. The Church of England (Anglican Church) is an established church, and the British monarch is the titular head of the anglican church, and cannot be a catholic. Until the Succession to the Crown Act of 2013 the monarch could not be married to a catholic. In England, the senior church appointments are Crown appointments, the church carries important state functions such as coronations, and 26 diocesan bishops have seats in the House of Lords. The links between church and state in the Uk are , nowadays, mostly a formality and the governance of the UK is relatively secular. So as per most things in the UK it is purely a tradition and you know how the Brits love their historical pomp and circumstance!
Religious Affiliations as at 2009 :-
- No Religion 51.7%
- Church of England 19.9%
- Roman Catholic 8.6%
- Presbyterian 2.2%
- Methodist 1.3%
- Other Protestant 1.2%
- Christian ( no Denomination 9.3%
- Other Christian 0.4%
- Muslim 2.4 %
- Hindu 0.9%
- Sikh 0.8%
- Judaism 0.4%
- Other religions 0.3%
- N/A 0.4%
So what are the figures of church attendance for this state religion?
Currently, regular church attendance in the UK stands at 6%** of the population with the average age of the attendee being 51. This shows a decline in church attendance since 1980 when regular attendance stood at 11% with an average of of 37. It is predicted that by 2020, attendance will be around 4% with an average age of 56. This decline in church attendance has forced many churches to close down across the UK with the Church of England alone closing 1,500 churches between 1969 and 2002. Their fates I am happy to report include turning them in to libraries , bookstores and residential conversion.
** to put our 6% attendance into perspective, the US currently has no official state religion but has a figure of 40% attendance.
Compulsory Religious Education and Assembly in Schools
Religious Education and morning assemblies are compulsory in many schools by virtue of clauses 69 and 70 of the School Standards and Framework Act of 1998. Clause 71 of the act gives parents the right to withdraw their children from Religious Education classes and the morning assemblies and parents should be informed of this right .
Notable figures who have been discussing Cameron and his state religion
- The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, entered the debate, saying Britain was not a Christian country if solely measured by the number of people attending church.
- Prince Charles has said if/when he becomes monarch he will not be ‘ Defender of the faith’ but Defender of faith’
- The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg has called for a breaking the link between church and state, and disestablishment of the Church of England.
I think we are in no doubt that Britain is a secular society and religion will be depleting year by year, which can only be a good thing. We only have to look at the secular societies in Scandinavia to see how well they work, and look across the pond at the US and see the spiralling insanity apparent over there….. which stems from their religious extremism
Moving forward our focus should be on the growing Islamic issues in Britain and the West and we should commit to a secular society that will be beneficial to all. Cameron mentioned recently of the threat from IS .. yes at last he has caught up with the nation! Took him a while but he got there……
Secular Britain?….. yes we bloody are
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