Church Commissioners’ Written answer: Religious freedom

On 29th November 2017 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question from Jim Shannon MP about religious freedom.

Jim Shannon(Strangford): To ask the Honourable Member for Meridan, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to support Christians in the UK who face difficulties in following their faith in the (a) workplace and the (b) public forum.

Dame Caroline Spelman: At its July 2012 session the General Synod of the Church of England passed the following motion:

“That this Synod express its conviction that it is the calling of Christians to order and govern our lives in accordance with the teaching of Holy Scripture, and to manifest our faith in public life as well as in private, giving expression to our beliefs in the written and spoken word, and in practical acts of service to the local community and to the nation.”

Bishops of the Church of England frequently speak about the need to ensure freedom of expression for Christians and for those of other faiths and none in the public square. In their joint letter before the last General Election, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York wrote:

“Contemporary politics needs to re-evaluate the importance of religious belief. The assumptions of secularism are not a reliable guide to the way the world works, nor will they enable us to understand the place of faith in other people’s lives. Parishes and Chaplaincies of the Church of England serve people of all faiths and none. Their contribution and that of other denominations and faiths to the well-being of the nation is immense – schools, food banks, social support, childcare among many others – and is freely offered. But the role of faith in society is not just measured in terms of service delivery…The new Parliament, if it is to take religious freedom seriously, must treat as an essential task the improvement of religious literacy.”

The full text can be read here: