This is from our Minister of State for Culture, Media & Sport, Margaret Hodge, in a speech given on the 4th March to the Institute for Public Policy Research titled Britishness, Heritage and the Arts: Should cultural institutions promote shared values and a common national identity?
"Next year will also see the anniversary of Henry VIII’s accession to the throne. Given some of the less savoury parts of his reign, it’s not an obviously straightforward event to commemorate. But understanding his reign is essential to understanding England. He is an iconic figure, a well-known personality in our history. And whether in separating state and religion, or in instituting English as the common language, or in being the first to clearly define and map our boundaries, a deeper understanding of his reign may help the important debate on England which is emerging."
And this is from the same Henry VIII's 1534 Act of Supremacy:
"Albeit the King’s Majesty justly and rightfully is and oweth to be the Supreme Head of the Church of England ... yet nevertheless for corroboration and confirmation thereof ... be it enacted by authority of this present Parliament, that the King our Sovereign Lord, his heirs and successors, kings of this realm, shall be taken, accepted, and reputed the only Supreme Head on earth of the Church of England [...]."
Our culture minister obviously has in mind a a concept of the separation of church and state in the time of Henry VIII with which most of us are unfamiliar.
Revd John Richardson
4 March 2008
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