Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Evict the Bishops? A public debate on the future of the House of Lords

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The Labour Humanists have asked us to help put the word out about a debate they're hosting in the Houses of Parliament entitled "Should the bishops be evicted from the House of Lords?", featuring David Aaronovitch, Polly Toynbee, the Rt Revd Tim Stevens (Bishop of Leicester and Convenor of the Lords Spiritual), Jonathan Bartley (Co-director of the Christian think-tank Ekklesia) and Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Slos. It takes place on Wednesday 27 January at 7.30pm in Committee Room 10, Houses of Parliament, and is free to attend – all you need to do is be sure to book online first.

Labour Humanists have put together a great panel, and it should be a fascinating debate on a subject we've covered in the past in New Humanist. Here's the blurb from their website:
The UK is the only Western democracy that has clerics in its parliament as of right. With reform of the House of Lords currently a hot topic, Labour Humanists are hosting an open debate on whether it is time to evict the "Lords Spiritual."

Is their presence in the House of Lords unsupportable in a country where less than half of the people belong to Christianity, far less, the Church of England? Those opposed would point out these clerics are all men, they are unrepresentative and - despite their claims - they have no special insight or universally accepted morality to bring to the debate. They also point out that this is unfair on those of other faiths, and those of no faith. If we are to have religious leaders in our legislature, then should we not also have Islamic, Jewish, Sikh and Scientologist leaders in there too, by right?

Yet their supporters would say that as non-aligned members, their activities in the Upper House are not subject to a whip, and can be a force for good. Their presence in the Lords, supporters claim, is an extension of their general vocation as bishops to preach God's word and to lead people in prayer. Bishops provide an important independent voice, and spiritual insight to the work of the Upper House; and are a voice for all people of faith, not just Christians.
 Remember, it's free, but you have to book first.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Labout humanists? Who'd have thought it. Anyone know which MPs are associated with it?

silvertiger said...

And suppose that the argument were to go in favour of eviction: what would happen?

Why, absolutely nothing, naturally.

Apart from the spilling of yet more hot air, of course.

DM said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Eiskrystal said...

-Bishops provide an important independent voice, and spiritual insight to the work of the Upper House; and are a voice for all people of faith, not just Christians.-

Prove it, bishops.

-the atheist sins not only against God, but also against man...-

But not little boys.

-do you think you are RIGHT and they are all WRONG?-

Yes, because last time I checked magic apple trees and talking snakes weren't considered "fact". Popular doesn't mean right. Also speaking of popular I should point out that "your" god is only one of many worshipped gods. I'm sorry but the roman gods were for more fun. Your god is boring.

Anonymous said...

"the atheist sins not only against God, but also against man..."

That's okay then DM, I'm an atheist woman

Anonymous said...

DM = Mabus?

Eiskrystal said...

-DM = Mabus?-

Possibly...but I don't see any goats on fire.

Perhaps they don't light well in the snow.

Anonymous said...

>-the atheist sins not only against God, but also against man...-

>But not little boys.

And your evidenced proof of that?

Thought not :-)

Eiskrystal said...

-And your evidenced proof of that?

Thought not :-)-


It is not up to me to prove a negative ;) Especially when its flippant...and IMHO... quite funny.