Commission of inquiry on faith and nation launched
-May 21, 2002
The Evangelical Alliance has launched a landmark Inquiry which aims to explore the relationship between Faith and Nation in 21st Century Britain.
Over the next three years, the Commission will extensively examine key issues such as the pros and cons of disestablishment, the nature of nationhood and the calls for religious belief to be divorced from public life and education.
Alliance Public Affairs Manager and Policy Commission coordinator, Don Horrocks, has said that he believes a meaningful Christian response to the national debate is both necessary and appropriate. The Inquiry will provide a multi-denominational forum for a whole range of opinions to be expressed.
Commenting on the commission's launch, Ekklesia's director Jonathan Bartley said; "this development is extremely welcome and the Evangelical Alliance should be commended for this move to deepen the debate about the relationship between church and state."
He continued; "I hope though that the commission will be brave enough to look beyond the old arguments about maintaining a privilaged position for the church in relation to society. For too long establishment has been defended because it gives the church a position of influence and power. But such a position conflicts with the values that as Christians we are all called to follow, and needs to be challenged."
Evidence will be submitted to the 14-member Commission which will run on similar lines to a House of Commons Select Committee. Its terms of reference include `examining issues of Faith, Church and Nation in the UK, in order to inform and shape the thinking of Evangelicals towards a 21st century evaluation of Establishment; Evangelicalsí ongoing contribution to society; and the upholding of religious liberty.í
The Alliance will invite contributors to take part by submitting both oral and written evidence. Interim reports will be produced and key evidence published.
Chairing the Commission will be Donald Shell, who is senior lecturer in the Department of Politics at Bristol University. The other members come from political, academic and church backgrounds.
The Alliance will be represented by its Policy Commission Chairman, Martyn Eden; Theological Adviser, Rev Dr David Hilborn and Don Horrocks.