Church, State and Religious Minorities


The development of a new multicultural and multi-state situation in Britain is once again opening up some old constitutional debates, in particular about 'establishment'; the privileged position of the Church of England in the British state. The Prince of Wales' highly publicised remark about not wanting 'to be Defender of the Faith' but a 'Defender of Faith' has dramatically brought the question of the implications of recent multi-faith developments for establishment, the monarchy and British national identity to the centre of public attention.

This collection of essays explores these issues and the public role of religion in a plural society. The introduction provides an overview of the debate. Part One explores the issue in relation to concepts such as citizenship, equality, secularism and national identity. In Part Two, 'establishment' is defended and rejected by Christians and secular critics, while Part Three gives the perspectives of leading members of different minority faiths. These thought-provoking chapters from prominent members of Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist, Muslim and Hindu communities, as well as Christian churches and varieties of secular opinion, make this the first book to explore the church-state relationship in Britain through focussing on the concerns of minority faiths.

The Contributors:

  • Professor Bhikhu Parekh, University of Hull
  • Professor Anne Phillips, London Guildhall University
  • The Right Reverend Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester
  • Professor Adrian Hastings, University of Leeds
  • Professor Valerie Pitt, Greenwich University
  • Jim Herrick, editor of New Humanist and International Humanist News
  • Dharmachari Kulananda, Friends of the Western Buddhist Order
  • Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild, Bromley and District Reform Synagogue
  • Daoud Rosser-Owen, Shaykh of the Naqshbandi Order and Amir of the Association of British Muslims
  • Ramindar Singh, Bradford and Ilkley Community College
  • Deepak Naik, The Hindu Council of Temples