Michael Portillo on the case for an Established Church
Mr Portillo conflates ‘England’ with ‘Britain'.
‘Constantine did not convert to Christianity in 312: he made Christianity the official religion of the Empire. He converted to it on his deathbed in 337. Has Portillo never read Gibbon and is his programme going to display the same level of basic ignorance?’
‘Constantine made Christianity the state religion? Actually Emperor Theodosius the Great did that. Constantine simply granted universal toleration to Christians and acted as a benevolent benefactor to them.’
‘The Established Church in this country serves many purposes but standing in the way of radicalisation is not one of them. I find it very hard to believe that the disestablishment of the Anglican communion would lead to an upsurge in Protestant bigotry. Nor do I have the dread fear of religious people that you seem to nurse Michael. Margaret Thatcher was a preacher's daughter and began her Premiership paraphrasing that famous St Francis prayer and she didn't turn out so bad.’
‘Our allegiance is to the Crown and through the Crown to all the people in this land and long may it remain so because if the Treaty of Lisbon becomes active, signed and ratified by this temporary Government that ignored the very people who mistakenly elected it once more, our allegiance might be to a head of very different kind of State. Do you think everyone in the UK would have allegiance to the likes of those that sit in our Parliament at present that takes our money yet cannot do the job we foolishly elected them to do? Or to a Head of State that lodges in Brussels or Strasbourg? We may have a Government at present that has absolutely no idea of what our own Constitution stands for, or what this Country went through in 1939-1945 war fighting to keep that very same Constitution and Head of Church and State rather than a foreigner Governing all...
Our Head of Church respects all religions let that be enough for a different Head of State, one that is voted in one day, might not allow such freedom.’
‘...there is quite a lot to that persecution as well as the political use of a state religion. "Constantine's Sword" by James Carroll provides a valuable insight to all of this.’
“Keeping religion out of politics remains essential. The need for institutionalised moderation is growing, not diminishing." -
‘This is the contradiction in the column - keep religion out of politics by keeping it in. The assumption that a wishy-washy, but increasingly fundamentalist-rent, Anglicanism is the only option as a hold on fundamentalism is false. In the modern world secularism is a viable option. In fact, it is a far better option since even the CofE gives reinforcement to the idea that irrationality is reasonable. Do you really think that the CofE serves as any sort of check on fundamentalist Islam or Protestantism? How and why? Even Sharia law was given a look-in by the AB of Canterbury!’
Cranmer is most looking forward to Rageh Omaar’s view of the Crusades. This is sure to be a most objective and unbiased account.
And His Grace is still wondering why Channel 4 have not yet commissioned a series on the origins and foundation of Islam or on the historicity of Mohammed, and why are they not inviting Christians to present it? It is strange indeed that this present series - Christianity: A History - is being presented by a Jew, a Muslim, three Roman Catholics, an Atheist, and two evangelicals of Afro-Carribean origin - one a Pentacostalist, the other a liberation theologian with a discernible obsession with 'Black theology'.
Not an indigenous Protestant or via media Anglican among them.