Response to Theos report on bishops in the House of Lords

By Press Office
February 12, 2007

Jonathan Bartley of the religious thinktank Ekklesia, who recently published a book urging the end of the presence of bishops in the Second Chamber said; "The idea that the removal of bishops from the House of Lords would in some way prevent Christians from participating in public life is absurd. Christians can and do successfully stand for election to the House of Commons, and indeed Ekklesia's own analysis three years ago, pointed out that Christians are over-represented in the House of Commons when compared to the church-going population of the country at large.

"There are many Christians too in the House of Lords, including retired leaders of other Christian denominations. However they have not had to rely on patronage and privilege to get there.

"Whilst clearly a lot of work has gone into the Theos report, it is a glaring omission that in the 58 page document from a Christian group neither the word 'justice' nor the word 'equality' are used even once. There is no discussion of the ethics and values of democratic systems whatsoever, and if this is the kind of 'unique moral and spiritual message' that bishops are bringing, it is one we could all do without."

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