Letter: Church and state belong apart

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Sir: Andrew Brown's article "Frailty, thy name is Williamson" (15 April) raises one big question. Not that of the ordination of women priests (as a Nonconformist I recognise the priesthood of all believers), but that of the disestablishment of the Church of England. At a time when constitutional reform is back on the political agenda no one seems to be asking whether it is about time we reviewed the constitutional anomaly that is the Anglican Church.

The legal shenanigans over the ordination of women priests instigated by Paul Williamson are both costly and absurd. Why should the state have a say in internal church matters? It is about time that we recognised that church and state are two separate institutions with two different goals. The church is to preach the gospel and function as salt and light in society. The state is to provide law and order and national defence, and to oversee the economy and so on. The relationship should be an indirect one, with the church bringing moral pressure to bear upon the state and the state upholding freedom of religion.


Sturminster Newton, Dorset