Call for less Christian emphasis in UK coronation ceremony

The coronation of the next monarch of the United Kingdom needs to reflect pluralist modern Britain, a new report states.

The Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life has also called for the number of Church of England bishops in the House of Lords to be reduced.

The report, titled “Living with Difference”, calls for a major overhaul of aspects of public life to reflect the realities of an increasingly multicultural and secular Britain.

The commission, led by former high court judge, Baronness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, spent two years in public consultation before issuing its report.

She called the report a “new settlement for religion and belief in the UK”.

The commission’s patrons include a former archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Rowan Williams, and its members are drawn from all major religions in the UK, as well as academia and the British Humanist Association.

The report states that society “needs customs, symbols and ceremonies which give public expression to how it sees itself”.

It says that those responsible for such events, including the coronation, should “ensure that the pluralist character of modern society is reflected”.

The last coronation, of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, was an explicitly Christian ceremony in Westminster Abbey.

It involved the monarch swearing to uphold Protestantism and protect the Church of England and its bishops and clergy.

The commission’s report also recommended that schools not be able to select children on the basis of faith.

And it called for an abolition of a legal requirement for schools to provide daily acts of worship of a Christian character.

But the commission wants religious education – as distinct from religious instruction – to be a compulsory subject taught from a nationally determined curriculum.

The report also recommended that the UK Ministry of Justice should study the workings of religious tribunals and courts, such as Muslim sharia and Jewish Beth Din courts.

This is in order to disseminate best practice and promote gender equality.


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