Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Henry VIII to be celebrated for his separation of Church and State

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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  1. I hope the speaker learns from this history lesson. You don't think the intent was to misrepresent history? Maybe the speaker was following her own advise. To quote from the text, "Perhaps it is time for some new
    experiments…" Perhaps the first experiment could be to see what happens when history is rewritten.

  2. Good Day Vicar,

    I read Ms. Hodge's entire speech in hopes to see the math behind her statement about King Henry. We too experience this on this side of the pond, where politios who have no solid depth of history make sweeping statements of questionable veracity. Curious...

    A Terry
    Stafford Virginia