Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Jews, Unitarians 'kicked off' main Church-State body

Writing in 2000, the Bishop of London, the Right Rev Richard Chartres, was characteristically munificent in his praise of the Churches Main Committee. 'In its work of conveying to the Government the views of the Churches on the legislation and other matters directly affecting them, [it] has the distinct advantage of Jewish representation,' he wrote in a booklet, Wrestling with Caesar. 'It is a personal view that this diversity could be developed to mirror the new religious culture of Britain in a field where faith communities have so many interests in common.'

Seven years later, the Churches Main Committee, set up in 1941 to liaise with Government over public policy and law making, has indeed examined its make-up with a view to developing it to bring it more in tune with modern times. The review was set up in 2005 and chaired by Tory MP Peter Bottomley.But far from expanding the membership of 39 religious groups, it is to restrict it to particular Christian bodies only.

Out will go the United Synagogue (Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks), the Unitarians, the Christian Scientists, the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches, the London City Mission and the Seventh Day Adventists.

In will come... well.... nobody. Read more

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