Disestablish the Church of England

Disestablish the Church of England

A state religion has no place in a 21st century democracy.

The UK is one of the last western democracies with a state religion: the Church of England.

The Church's entanglement with the state is bad for both.

Join our campaign to disestablish the Church.

CAMPAIGN ALERT: Support the disestablishment bill

In November 2023, a private member's bill to disestablish the Church of England was selected in the ballot.

Please write to your MP and urge them to support this bill, to make the UK are more equitable and democratic country for people of all religions and beliefs.

Since our founding in 1866, one of our primary objectives has been disestablishment of the Church of England: its formal separation from the state.

More than 150 years later, census figures show most people in England and Wales are not Christian. Surveys consistently reveal a similar picture in Scotland. The case for disestablishment has never been stronger.

Disestablishment means the Church would no longer have privileged input into government - but also that government could not involve itself in the running of the Church. Both sides would gain autonomy. This is why support for Church-state separation can be found within the CofE itself.

There have been many proponents, religious and non-religious, for church-state separation, and there are a wide variety of motivations for supporting this reform.

The existence of a legally-enshrined national religion privileges one part of the population, one institution and one set of beliefs. Removing all symbolic and institutional ties between government and religion is the only way to ensure equal treatment to citizens of all religions and none.

The Church of England has enjoyed significant privileges relating its established status for many centuries. These privileges have remained largely unchanged despite the massive and continuing reduction in support for the Church in the UK. It is highly likely that this trend will continue for the foreseeable future, making the Church of England's continuation as the established church unsustainable.

  • Christians are a minority in Britain. In Wales and Scotland the majority have no religion.

  • Just 1% of 18-24 year olds say they belong to the Church of England.

  • Less than 1% of the population regularly attend Church of England church services.

The Church of England is also out of step with the UK public on several key issues: it remains opposed to same-sex relationships and allows parishes to reject women as bishops and priests. These discriminatory positions cannot be reconciled with the Church's status as part of the UK state.

And no institution with the shameful historical record of the Church of England safeguarding and abuse should retain its privileged role in the British establishment.

The existence of a legally enshrined national religion privileges one part of the population, one institution and one set of beliefs. Removing all symbolic and institutional ties between government and religion is the only way to ensure equal treatment of citizens of all religions and none.

Take action!

1. Write to your MP

Ask your MP to support the separation of church and state

2. Share your story

Tell us why you support this campaign, and how you are personally affected by the issue. You can also let us know if you would like assistance with a particular issue.

3. Join the National Secular Society

Become a member of the National Secular Society today! Together, we can separate religion and state for greater freedom and fairness.

Latest updates

Report: CofE safeguarding “below standards” of secular institutions

Report: CofE safeguarding “below standards” of secular institutions

Posted: Thu, 22 Feb 2024 10:15

Most victims and survivors unsatisfied with safeguarding approaches, while safeguarding 'weaponised' to remove those "seen as a nuisance", report finds.

The Voice of Hassocks, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons (cropped)

Resist calls for £50m a year for churches, NSS urges minister

Posted: Wed, 31 Jan 2024 14:43

Churches trust also calls for churches to host NHS services.

More information