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Utility and DemocracyThe Political Thought of Jeremy Bentham$
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Philip Schofield

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198208563

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198208563.001.0001

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The Church

The Church

(p.171) 7 The Church
Utility and Democracy

Philip Schofield (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Having recognized the existence of sinister interest in the legal and political establishments, Bentham extended his investigation to the ecclesiastical establishment. He had always argued that theology should not have any influence over morals and legislation, but now recognized that religious belief was used by the priesthood to promote their own sinister interest. The Anglican Church was merely another instrument of oppression in the hands of rulers. Bentham was particularly critical of the role of the Church in education, both in its establishment of schools for the poor and in its domination of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. He insisted that the provision of education should not be linked to the profession of religious belief, and called for the ‘euthanasia’ of the Church, whereby, as livings and other offices became vacant, they would be abolished.

Keywords:   Church of England, theology, religion, belief, education, euthanasia, Oxford, Cambridge

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