"Parliament is accountable not only to the electorate but to God"
He pours scorn upon it, of course, as one might expect of someone of his political disposition and liberal inclination with a whole packet of chips on each shoulder. But he discloses for the first time what His Grace has long expected: that Nick Clegg's reforms to the Upper House will not remove the bishops, but will instead halve their number and 'complement' them with a multifaith mishmash of unelected religious types, including an imam, a rabbi and a couple of enlightened pundits. It cannot include a cardinal, unless by special papal dispensation, and it remains to be seen if the Jedi Master will be treated equally.
Throughout his secularist rant, Johann Hari mentions (again and again) that only Iran and the UK have unelected clerics in their legislatures, as though the benign Anglican theocracy were equivalent to the malignant Islamic theocracy of the ayatollahs. To Hari, defending the religious conscience against aggressive expressions of homosexualism is tantamount to hanging homosexuals by the neck until they are dead.
The Church of England has defended the role of bishops in the Lords saying it helps 'connect the second chamber with the people, parishes and regions of England, not just their own worshippers. In an age where the role of religion in shaping social and moral attitudes is increasingly recognised to be highly significant, the idea of shaping the second chamber on a purely secular model would be a retrograde step'.
Prayers before each session of Parliament to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and to the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ are not some anachronistic absurdity in need of relegation to the private realm: they remind politicians that they are not omnipotent. Prayer moves us to the spiritual realm, and encourages politicians to reflect on their transience and relative insignificance: in short, it keeps them humble.
To tamper with the Anglican bishops or to grant other faiths an equivalent privilege in the House of Lords is a further step on the road of disestablishment: there will be a plethora of unintended consequences. Yet it is ironic that an atheist deputy prime minister, instead of secularising the Chamber, is intent on making it even more religious in its expression.