The Salman Rushdie controversy, religious plurality and established religion in England
This thesis argues that the Salman Rushdie controversy has a range of "entails" which focus and contribute to the need for a reconsideration of the complex constitutional nexus of religion, society and state currently embodied in the establishment of the Church of England. Chapter 1: The Introduction, acknowledges the academic and professional contexts that have informed the thesis. It clarifies the central research questions, defines the boundaries of the research and sets out the arguments in brief. Chapter 2: The Contours of the Controversy, charts the principal features of the controversy as it developed between 1988 and the end of 1995, primarily by highlighting the "critical incidents" during 1989. Chapter 3: The Controversy: Actions and Reactions outlines a range of positions taken up within the controversy and concludes by distilling five clusters of issues (social, religious, cultural, legal and political) which it is argued have "entails" for established religion in England. Chapter 4 on Established Religion, The Controversy and the Issues outlines the inheritance of established religion in England. It brings the identified clusters of issues into critical interaction with debates around this inheritance and the constitutional nexus which it represents for the contemporary relationships between religion(s), state and society in England. Finally, some alternative patterns for structuring these relationships are examined. Chapter 5 on Towards a New Socio-Religious Contract concludes the thesis by arguing that, in the context of the changed composition of English society and the public policies and community responses adopted in relation to these changes, the "entails" of the Rushdie controversy signal the arrival of a "kairos" for established religion and the need for negotiating a new "socio-religious contract. " Some alternative models are debated for symbolising, structuring and operationalising the relationships between religion(s), state and society in England within the UK, and a proposal is made for what is argued to be a more theoretically coherent and practically appropriate way forward than either the current form of established religion or the other identified possibilities.