The cover of New Humanist's summer 2023 issue features the King, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Prime Minister as figures on stained glass windows

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Church and state

After the coronation of King Charles III as head of state and supreme governor of the Church of England, we look at the relationship between Church and state in Britain today.

No more tax breaks

Emma Park asks why we're still handing out tax breaks to religious charities, who need to be judged for what they do, not what they preach.

"Everyone who pays taxes or votes in England and Wales today is helping to subsidise the advancement of religion by thousands of organisations, and to support its approval by the state. This is despite the fact that the country itself is less and less religious."

Church in crisis

Jeremy Rodell explores the future of the Church of England, as it struggles to face up to its decline.

"For the time being at least, the Church retains a carapace of a great national institution: massive wealth; a substantial bureaucracy; buildings in virtually every city, town and village; the Head of State as its Supreme Governor; and control over a quarter of the country’s state-funded primary schools. But inside the carapace, it is hollowed out. A rapidly diminishing number identify with it, share its metaphysical beliefs, subscribe to its positions on LGBTQI+ equality, or attend its services. And yet you would not know that by reading its strategy."

Scroll for spirit guides

Pavan Amara looks at the rise of Shamanism in Britain – and if its claims of building on history and tradition stack up.

"In recent years, Shamanism has drawn attention, attracting celebrity followers including Jennifer Lawrence and Daniel Craig. And this interest is set to increase, if the 2021 UK census is a benchmark. It showed that over the past decade, there has been a 12-fold increase in British people stating their religion as Shamanism... Behind the headlines, however, Shamanism’s complex origins are surprising and rarely understood."

The summer 2023 issue of New Humanist is on sale now! Subscribe here for as little as £10 a year for a digital subscription, or £27 for a print subscription.

Also in this issue:

Video game graphics
  • How Samira Ahmed discovered a lost Beatles tape

  • Dominic Hinde takes a road trip through US coal country to see how efforts to champion green energy are playing out

  • Kenan Malik argues that a deep and paralysing pessimism underlies Critical Race Theory and the struggle for equality

  • Rachel Muller-Heyndyk explores how neo-Nazis are weaponising video games

  • Noah Berlatsky looks at the history of ChatGPT-style poetry

  • Historian Mathew Lyons reflects on how caring for his father through Alzheimer's raised questions about identity and memory

  • Conor Feehly on whether intuition plays a role in science

  • Andy Field on our love-hate relationship with voice notes

  • Christopher Shrimpton discovers the cruel history of portrayals of women in art
  • PLUS: Columns from Michael Rosen, Laurie Taylor and Marcus Chown, book reviews, poems, cryptic crossword and Chris Maslanka's quiz

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New Humanist, a quarterly magazine of culture, ideas, science and philosophy, is published by the Rationalist Association, a 136-year-old charity promoting reason and free enquiry.