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• Britain is a Christian state and most people
living in Britain are Christian.
• One of the most religiously diverse
populations in Europe.
• British free to choose their religious beliefs.
• Christianity main religion,
• Large communities of Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus
and Jews, and smaller communities of Baha'is,
Buddhists, Jains and Zoroastrians.
• Increased diversity
• Less formal practice
• Fewer attend church
• Fewer say they belong to a religion
• More outmarriages (interfaith marriages)
Recent trends (2)
• Immigration and demographic change has led
to religious diversity.
• Some religious groups have higher birth rates
• Church going steadily declines
CHURCH OF ENGLAND
• Church and State never dissociated
• The Church of England is the
Established (Official) Church
• Variety of Christian Denominations:
Methodists, Baptists and the United
•Until 1530’ Britain was
•Rallied Protestantism in 16th
•1533 Act of Supremacy:
•Monarch = Head of Church
•Henry declared to be “The
only Supreme Head on earth
of the Church of England.”
•England broke from the
Roman Catholic Church to
form the Anglican Church.
Henry VIII (1491 1547)
Catherine of Aragon
•Married for 16 years
•Gave him a daughter:
without the consent of the
• the Pope would neither allow
divorce nor accept the remarriage
•Act of Supremacy :
•Married Anne in 1533
•Gave birth to a girl, Elizabeth (later
Queen for England).
•1536 Accused of adultery then
•11 days later Henry married this
• Jane was from an old and noble family.
• She gave birth to a son in 1537,
Edward, who would become King after
• 12 days later she died.
• Henry waited two years before
Anne of Cleves
• Henry saw a picture of Anne of
Cleves and he agreed to marry!
• She didn't speak any English and
didn't know who he was.
•Divorce six months after marriage.
• 20 days later Henry married again
• He is said to have found her
repulsively ugly, and called her a horse!
• A cousin of Anne Boleyn
•Was previously, secretly
engaged to probably more
than one man.
•Accused of adultery &
beheaded in 1542.
•The following year Henry
VIII married again
•Kathryn had already been married
twice, but both husbands died.
•Kathryn was rather a nurse than a
•When Henry died in 1547, Kathryn
quickly married Thomas Seymour
(her fourth husband).
Divorced, beheaded, died
Divorced, beheaded, survived.
Back to Reformation
• The church of England Independent
from Rome and the Pope
• End of celibacy
• Dissolution of monasteries
• Confiscation of goods
• Prosecution of Catholics
Catholicsm vs Protestantism
Pope Heads the church, Vicar of Christ No human is infallible and
Jesus alone heads up the
“humanity must discover its unity
and salvation” within a church.
All Christians can be saved,
regardless of church
Saints Pray to saints (holy dead people)
in addition to God and Jesus.
acknowledge saints, but don’t
pray to them
Celibacy & Nuns Catholics only Priests/Pastors can marry
Scripture Tradition & bible Only the word of god
Interpretation Only the pope can interpret the
Confession of sins To God through priests To God through Jesus
• All men predestined by God to be doomed or
saved after death
• God’s decision not to be altered by human deeds
• God’s grace not to be bought by confession
• Individual alone in the eyes of God
• Catholicism : a series of intermediaries between
God and man Vs Individual responsibility
Contemporary Issues 1
• The Monarch retains the title Defender of the
Faith and is still the Supreme Governor of the
• The Church of England has a legislative role
– Twenty-six bishops (including the two
Archbishops) sit in the House of Lords and are
known as the Lords Spiritual.
Contemporary Issues 2
– Ordination of women priesthood
– Religious remarriage of divorced couples
– Gay marriages
– Interfaith issues: Euthanasia, Abortion…
• Most religions disapprove of euthanasia.
• Some of them absolutely forbid it.
• Catholics and Muslims are most active in
• Reasons for opposition:
– God has forbidden it
– Human life is sacred
– Humans shouldn't interfere with God's plans by
shortening human live
• Freedom of religion
• Religious diversity
Freedom of Religion
• Article 9 Freedom of religion : The right to
freedom of thought, conscience and religion :
• The freedom to change religion or belief, to
exercise religion or belief publicly or privately,
alone or with others in worship, teaching,
practice and observance; and
• the right to have no religion (e.g. to be atheist
• Role of State: encourage tolerance & all
European Convention on Human Rights
Freedom of religion issues
• Working Fridays
• Working Sundays
• Official uniforms
• Equal treatment of religious signs
Aishah Azmi 2005
• A Muslim teaching assistant
suspended for refusing to
remove her niqab in class
• Mrs Azmi said she was willing to
remove her veil in front of
children - but not male
• Government : barring men from
working with her would amount
to "sexual discrimination".
Eweida vs British Airways 2006
British Airways said its uniform
policy was changed in 2007 to
allow Miss Eweida and others
to "wear symbols of faith"
David Cameron :
people "shouldn't suffer
discrimination due to
Sikh and Muslim
employees are not
prevented from wearing
religious garments at
• Christian (Anglican, Roman Catholic,
Presbyterian, Methodist) 59.3%,
• Muslim 4.8%,
• Hindu 1.5%,
• Sikh 0.8 %
• Jews 0.5%
• Not stated 7.2%
• Hinduism is the religion of the majority of
people in India and Nepal.
• It has over 900 million adherents worldwide.
• Hinduism has no single founder, no single
scripture, and no commonly agreed set of
• Supreme god represented by
multitude of gods
• Believe in reincarnation
• ‘Britain needs to take inspiration from
Hinduism’ David Cameron, 2015
• Integration of women in public & professional
life and education
•Well established in
professional fields –
law, media, medicine,
• 20 million Sikhs in the world, in
Punjab province of India.
• It was founded by Guru Nanak
• Sikh principles:
– keep God in heart and mind at all times
– live honestly and work hard
– treat everyone equally
– be generous to the less fortunate
– serve others
• Said to be “the best example of cultural
• Strong work ethic = Succesful businesses
– Second only to Jews in finance
• Integration in communities
• Educational achievement
• However remain conservative (eg. Opposed to
• Violent persecution
in the Middle
• Expelled by Edward I
• Allowed back in
1657 in exchange for
• 60 percent of school-age Jewish children
attend Jewish schools
• High educational achievement
Cameron on a visit to a
Manchester Mosque, 2013
• 1890 first mosque in UK
• Places of worship and welfare
• Muslim schools granted state
• 13 Muslim MPs 8 of which are
• 11 Muslim Peers (House of
Muslims: 4.8% of the population.
• 42.5% are of Pakistani origin,
• 16.8% Bangladeshis
• 8.5% Indians
• 7.5% other white.
(Turkish; Arab and North-African ethnic origin
and East European Muslims from Bosnia and
Who are British Muslims?
Faith Schools with public funding
• 47 Jewish schools
• 23 Muslim schools
• 10 Sikh schools
• 4 Hindu schools
• Jewish state schools started in first half of the
• first Muslim state school in 1998, the first Sikh
school opened in 1999 and the first Hindu
school opened in 2008
9/11 and the 2005 London
• 2005 London bombings: a series of
coordinated bomb blasts that hit London's
public transport in rush hour
• 52 people were killed & also the 4 bombers:
British Muslims, three of Pakistani and one of
Jamaican origin motivated by Britain's
involvement in the Iraq War and other
• British media