Justine Greening, Equalities Minister, in her enthusiasm for transsexual rights, positively advocates the Church to change its position. Her religious illiteracy was trumped, though, by the former Prime Minister, David Cameron, who famously urged the Church to ‘get with the programme’. Cameron once compared his faith to the dodgy radio reception in the Chilterns – ‘it comes and goes’. And it was Cameron who presided over the ever-building pressure for a change in the Church’s relationship.
By interfering in the Church of England’s own decision-making with his indefensible ‘lock’ he made it impossible to defend the Church’s establishment. His breezy, braying Etonian interventions were representative of religious illiteracy that is now widespread in the Palace of Westminster.
In a matter of five years or so, conservative religious attitudes to marriage are now regarded as extremism or hate speech. The Church of England has no choice but to flee the relationship it has with the state. To stay is to risk having a relationship like the official Chinese church has with the Communist Party.
We need to beware the temptation of becoming a tame, domesticated state Church that desperately yearns for official approval and gains influence by supporting the short-term interests of politicians. The other danger is to be forced by the state to change doctrine because of the pressure to conform to new secular orthodoxies.
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