Whether or not to disestablish the Church of England | Letters

David Redshaw warns against following the US example, Fr Alec Mitchell intends to transfer to the Church in Wales, and John Boaler says Britain is increasingly secular

Should Giles Fraser be careful for what he wishes (Disestablishment of the church is now necessary and inevitable, 8 September)? Even Richard Dawkins has pondered on the paradox of America where a gap between church and state (insisted on by the founding fathers) has merely left a vacuum into which have poured a thousand Elmer Gantrys selling religion like snake oil to a gullible population and doing very well out of it.

Perhaps as someone brought up in the C of E but now a mild atheist, I shouldn’t be entering my dog in this race. But it’s always seemed to me that the resonant language of the King James Bible, the Book of Common Prayer, the stirring hymns and the sacred classical music are the plus points of Anglicanism. Does Fraser wish to join the scrum of evangelicals competing for market share by offering miracles, healings, speaking in tongues, fainting in the spirit of the Lord, casting out devils, singing songs that sound like entries for Eurovision and, in some sinister cases, working to break up families?
David Redshaw
Gravesend, Kent

• I used to tell myself that I’d join the Church of England when it disestablished until I realised I’d be dead before that happened. Now approaching retirement, I intend to seek a transfer to the Church in Wales, which has been disestablished for 97 years, and whose bench of bishops last year voted to affirm same-sex relationships. Official statistics show the CinW had 206,000 attendees in 2015, compared to 152,000 the previous year, which looks pretty good alongside Giles Fraser’s assertion that he doesn’t “believe that disestablishment will revive the numerical fortunes of the church”!
Fr Alec Mitchell
Denton, Manchester

• You report (5 September) that now less than 50% of the British population profess a religious faith. Surely we should adjust to this reality? The words of our national anthem, God Save the Queen, must ring hollow to the majority who are agnostics or atheists. The reserved seats for Anglican bishops in the House of Lords are an anomaly in an institution that is itself an anachronism. Many of our village schools are “faith” schools, though probably at least half of the pupils who attend them (and their parents) have no religious faith. On 11 November we remember those who died in war. Around the country this act of remembrance will take the form of a religious service, though perhaps a majority of those who wish to take part do not believe in God. The time is ripe to disestablish the Church of England in recognition of growing secularisation.
John Boaler
Calne, Wiltshire

• Isn’t what Giles Fraser describes for the future of a disestablished Anglican church already in existence and available to all? Socialism!
Gary Bennett
Exeter

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