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Swindon Council’s bigots

23 May 2014

May 22, 1914

IN 1881 a public cemetery was opened at Swindon, and at no time since then has a portion of the ground been consecrated by the Bishop. At last, local Churchmen have decided to make the demand which the law entitles them to make. The vestries of three of the parish churches have petitioned the Town Council to assign a portion of the cemetery area for consecration in due form. At the Council meeting last week the question was brought up for discussion, when various Councillors and Aldermen delivered themselves of the usual fatuous argument against labelling people when they are dead. But, if they will so label themselves when they are living, we fail to see what further harm is done by continuing the label after their death. This, however, is not the real point. Churchpeople, whether rightly or wrongly, prefer being laid in consecrated ground, and they possess the right, which the State is prepared to enforce in their favour, to have a portion of a public burying-ground set apart for ever with sacred rites performed by a Bishop. To interfere with that right is to be guilty of religious intolerance. The worthy and wordy Councillors who opposed the claims of the rate-paying Churchpeople are entitled to their own opinions on the needlessness of consecration, and one can only regret that their minds should be constituted as they are. But when they refuse, as they refused last week, to recognize the rights of a section of the ratepayers, there is nothing to be said but that they are actuated by bigotry. We hope, therefore, that the Swindon Churchpeople will not leave a stone unturned until they have secured the fulfilment of their just demand.

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