jump to navigation

Bishop questions oath plan for citizenship: CEN 3.21.08 p 4. March 19, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Immigration, Multiculturalism.

tim-stevens.jpgThe Bishop of Leicester has questioned the utility of holding ceremonies for school-leavers to swear an oath of allegiance to Queen and country.

Writing in the Leicester Mercury on March 15, Bishop Tim Stevens said “the swearing of oaths of allegiance do have a place in our society but the important thing is they are symbolic acts and don’t get in the way of valuing our children.”

The March 11 report commissioned by Prime Minister Gordon Brown on British citizenship recommended the creation of a British national day, citizenship ceremonies for young people, reforming the treason laws, and loans to immigrants to help pay the cost of English language classes.

The report’s author, the former attorney general Lord Goldsmith said holding an allegiance ceremony would help young people strengthen their sense of Britishness.

“Certainly there isn’t a crisis of national identity, but the research does tend to show there’s been a diminution in national pride, in this sense of belonging,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“The citizenship ceremonies, which are just one of the many things I have suggested, are a way of marking that passage of being a student of citizenship to a citizen in practice, Lord Goldsmith said.

“It does make sense to promote a sense of shared belonging, a sense that you are part of a community with a common venture, to integrate better newcomers to our society and be clearer about what the rights and responsibilities are,” the former attorney general explained.

While he applauded the Lord Goldsmith’s motives, his conclusions were misplaced, Bishop Stevens said, as a ceremony would do little to foster national pride.

“We shall recover confidence in our national identity if we learn to be proud of our young people and recognise the contributions they are making. That will do more to make them feel British than any act of allegiance,” he said.

%d bloggers like this: