Should We Defend an Established Church?

On 23 March, the McDonald Centre hosted a colloquium to consider the rationale for the establishment of the Church of England—at a time when voices on the political left are calling for Anglican bishops to be ejected from the House of Lords. Among the questions tackled were: What are the public benefits of church establishment? How can the privileging of one religion be compatible with religious freedom and the equality of citizens? How does it fare under European human rights jurisprudence? What is the case for a partly appointed upper chamber, and what public service might bishops perform there? And how does the English establishment compare to arrangements in other European countries?

 The following took part:

  • Paul Avis, Honorary Professor of Theology and Director of the Centre for the Study of the Christian Church, University of Exeter
  • Nigel Biggar, Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology and Director of the McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics, and Public Life, University of Oxford
  • Luke Bretherton, Senior Lecturer in Theology & Politics, King’s College, London

  • John Gladwin, former Bishop of Chelmsford and member of the House of Lords

  • Julian Hubbard, Canon of Christ Church and Archdeacon of Oxford

  • Christopher Hill, Bishop of Guildford and member of the House of Lords

  • Dave Leal, Fellow and Lecturer in Philosophy at Brasenose College, Oxford

  • Ian Leigh, Professor of Law and co-Director of the Human Rights Centre, Durham University

  • Judith Maltby, Chaplain and Fellow of Corpus Christi College and Reader in Church History, University of Oxford.

  • June Osborne, Dean of Salisbury Cathedral

  • John Perry, McDonald Fellow in Christian Ethics and Public Life, Christ Church, Oxford

  • Julian Rivers, Professor of Jurisprudence, University of Bristol

  • Roger Trigg, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, University of Warwick, and Senior Research Fellow, Ian Ramsey Centre, University of Oxford

  • Tom Wright, Bishop of Durham and member of the House of Lords