Thursday, December 18, 2008

Archbishop Backs Disestablishment (and the Muppets)

Well, this adds some hopeful overtones to the whole discussion . . . .

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The Archbishop of Canterbury has surprisingly reignited the row today over the separation of church and state by saying it is "not the end of the world" if the established church were to disappear.

Rowan Williams, the most senior figure in the Church of England, argues that there is a "certain integrity" to a church that was free from state sanctions.

His endorsement of disestablishment comes in an interview published today in this week's New Statesman.

Williams, who was born in Swansea, converted as a teenager to the Church in Wales, a disestablished church, and spent 10 years working as one of its bishops. He told the magazine his early clerical experience taught him there were advantages to not needing state approval.

He said: "I can see that it's by no means the end of the world if the establishment disappears. The strength of it is that the last vestiges of state sanction disappeared, so when you took a vote at the Welsh synod, it didn't have to be nodded through by parliament afterwards. There is a certain integrity to that."


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