Apparently, according to The Times, in dismissing an appeal by Gary McFarlane, a Christian counsellor working for Relate, against discrimination on religious grounds, Lord Justice Laws has announced that, 'Christianity deserves no protection in law above other faiths [in this country] and to do so would be “irrational”, “divisive, capricious and arbitrary”'.
I find myself wondering whether he has read, or is even aware of, the Coronation Oath taken by Queen Elizabeth II, at her crowning by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1953:
Archbishop: Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel? Will you to the utmost of your power maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law? Will you maintain and preserve inviolably the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established in England? And will you preserve unto the Bishops and Clergy of England, and to the Churches there committed to their charge, all such rights and privileges, as by law do or shall appertain to them or any of them?Now I am not saying it is right that the Queen should have taken this oath (though presumably it seemed a good idea at the time). Nor am I saying that Prince Charles, should he ever become King, ought to take the same oath (indeed, I cannot see how he possibly could). Nor, indeed, does it matter one whit whether Mr McFarlane is in the right or the wrong.
Queen. All this I promise to do.
What I am saying is that this oath surely 'privileges' Christianity in the constitution of England. And I am therefore asking whether Lord Justice Laws can simply say "This is no longer the case" and it is so, with regard to such a profound issue.
I may well have misunderstood many things in this situation. Perhaps others could clarify?
29 April 2010
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