Publication: Secularism and Scottish independence

Some of the religious dimensions of the current UK constitutional arrangements and the opportunities that are afforded by the debate over Scottish independence for moves towards a secular state and a secular monarchy are investigated in an article in the current issue of the Political Quarterly by Norman Bonney.

It is argued that If the proponents of Scottish independence follow the expressed preference of the Scottish Parliament to eliminate the religious discrimination against Roman Catholics and other faiths in the line of succession to the throne – an opportunity afforded by the need to renegotiate the Acts of Union of 1707 in the event of a ‘yes’ vote for independence – this could result in a secular constitution for an independent Scotland and a need to rethink the monarch’s religious role as Head of the Church of England in a rump UK.

Tuvalu and You: The Monarch, the United Kingdom and the Realms -NORMAN BONNEY and  BOB MORRIS

‘Scottish Independence, State Religion and the Monarchy’, Political Quarterly, 83, 2, 2012, 360 -367.

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.