Thursday 17 May 2007

Church and State

The death of Rev. Jerry Falwell reminds us of the issue of the relationship between the Church and State.

In the United Kingdom the Church of England is the official State Church. The Queen is Head of the Church (and it is 'her' parliament, 'her' government and 'her' judges!). In the House of Lords 26 seats are set aside for the Archbishops (2 - Canterbury & York) and Bishops (24 - Bishops of Durham, London and Winchester, and the 21 next most senior Church of England Bishops). Church of England measures are passed by Parliament. (for more information go to http://www.parliament.uk/documents/upload/l10.pdf)

By contrast separation of Church and State has been fundamental in the US system. The First Amendment to the US Constitution reads: -

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;". The implications of this has been the subject of controversy and Supreme Court decisions. One site you might find interesting is

http://members.tripod.com/~candst/tnppage/tnpidx.htm - strongly for separation