Publication: “Devolution fraying the edges of UK Church establishment”

Norman Bonney, ‘Established religion, parliamentary devolution and new state religion in the United Kingdom’, Published online in Parliamentary Affairs 2012.

Parliamentary devolution in the UK since 1999 has had the effect of trimming the significance of Church establishment in the UK and introducing alternative expressions of official religosity and secularism in the proceedings of the devolved parliament and assemblies in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The Church of England remains as the official state church of the United Kingdom performing religious services for the UK Parliament and state but the elected devolved institutions have devised alternative arrangements in relation to their own business with a secular Welsh National Assembly, silent contemplation in place of daily prayers in the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly and a multi-faith Time for Reflection in the Scottish Parliament.

The article examines the origins and reasoning of the new parliamentary bodies for abandoning the practice of Anglican prayers and adopting innovative contemporary solutions to the perennial tensions between the spheres of politics and religion.