Britain is one of the least religious countries in Western Europe because the Church of England is a “very undemanding church”, the UK’s most senior woman judge has said.
“It has no dietary laws, no dress codes for men or women, and very little that its members can say is actually required of them by way of observance,” said Baroness Hale of Richmond, a Supreme Court justice.
England was a “parodoxical country” when it came to religion, she added. Despite having an established church, half the population did not belong to any religion. Affiliation to the Church of England fell from 40 per cent in 1983 to 20 per cent in 2010.
“Politicians are not encouraged to wear their religion, if any, on their sleeves,” she said in a lecture to a conference at Yale Law School released yesterday. “Religous observance is much more common amongst minority communities than it is among the majority, who would once unhesitatingly have described themselves as ‘C of E’ even if they never went to church.