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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

Majority of Britons believe state and church should be separate

Posted: Thu, 12 Dec 2013 09:45

Majority of Britons believe state and church should be separate

A new Yougov poll has found that the majority of people in Britain think the Church of England should be separated from the state.

The poll asked the same questions about religion as were asked in a similar poll in 1957. It shows that in the time between the two there has been a catastrophic collapse in personal belief in the tenets of Christianity.

The poll, conducted for Prospect magazine asked "Should the Church of England and state continue to be connected?"

In 1957, 37% said it should separate with 37% saying should stay connected (26% didn't know). In 2013, 51% said church and state should separate with 27% saying it should remain connected (23% didn't know).

In response to the question "Should religious leaders such as the Archbishop of Canterbury keep out of political matters or express their views on politics?" it was a different matter. In the latest poll, 45% said they should express their views, a rise of 9% since 1957 with 41% saying they should keep out of politics, a fall of 12% since 1957.

Some of the other questions — with 2013 answers first and 1957 results in brackets — were:

"Can religion answer all or most of today's problems or is it largely old-fashioned and out-of-date?

Can answer: 10% (46%)

Old-fashioned: 58% (27%)

Don't know: 23% (27%)

"Do you believe there is life after death?"

Yes: 33% (54%)

No: 33% (17%)

Don't know: 34% (29%)

An infographic of the poll can be found on the Prospect website

Tags: Statistics, Church & State