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All articles in category Cultural and Ethical

Marriage: ‘equality’ and ‘sameness’ are different things
January 2013
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Marriage: ‘equality’ and ‘sameness’ are different things

Marriage: ‘equality’ and ‘sameness’ are different things I believe passionately in the immense importance of marriage as ‘the voluntary union of one man and one woman for life, to the exclusion of all others’. I remember learning this definition as a law student in 1966 from the case of Hyde v. Hyde 1866, when the point at issue was whether marriage could include a polygamous union.        Little did I imagine then that, after 142 years of certainty, the meaning of marriage would come under attack from those who say that marriage should include homosexual relationships.    The issue is said to be one of equality...

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July 2012
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Starting blocks

Starting blocks The fanfare and flair of the opening Olympic ceremony will live on in many people’s minds. But, for one man, the Games is the start of something even more amazing, for people of all nations. In March, ET reported on the Grace2London mission and its preparations ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games.     This month, we caught up with Pastor Steven Richards of Homerton Baptist Church, to see how God is blessing his vision to evangelise our corner of the world.     He was present at the May Bank Holiday test events — the British Universities and Colleges Sport — as was one...

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Olympic cheats – and others
July 2012
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Olympic cheats – and others

Olympic cheats — and others Most athletes would say that the greatest prize in sport is an Olympic gold medal. Some are so anxious to win one that they resort to drugs to help them, and this has become a plague at recent Games. It is getting worse and the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens were described as the dirtiest games ever, with 24 doping violations uncovered. Prior to these Games, the last track and field gold-medallist to be stripped of his gold medal was Ben Johnson at Seoul, in 1988.    Detection The organisers of the 2012 Games are taking this seriously. A sophisticated laboratory...

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Olympic cheats – and others
July 2012
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Olympic cheats – and others

Olympic cheats — and others Most athletes would say that the greatest prize in sport is an Olympic gold medal. Some are so anxious to win one that they resort to drugs to help them, and this has become a plague at recent Games. It is getting worse and the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens were described as the dirtiest games ever, with 24 doping violations uncovered. Prior to these Games, the last track and field gold-medallist to be stripped of his gold medal was Ben Johnson at Seoul, in 1988.    Detection The organisers of the 2012 Games are taking this seriously. A sophisticated laboratory...

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Militant secularism (2)
June 2012
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Militant secularism (2)

Militant secularism (2) What are the aims of secularism? Rightly understood, secularism works for the separation of political and religious institutions, so that government is free from the dominant (or domineering) influence of any particular religion. In other words, secularism asserts that religion should not be privileged by the state when the state enacts legislation or formulates policy. Secularism also guarantees people within a state freedom from the governmental imposition of a religion.     As far as it goes, such aims are potentially beneficial to Christians (or other minority religious groups) in Islamic states where Shari’a law prevails, for example; and would disenfranchise extremist groups...

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A Protestant monarchy?
June 2012
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

A Protestant monarchy?

A Protestant monarchy? The British monarchy has had much to celebrate over the last year — a royal wedding in 2011, swiftly followed by a diamond jubilee in 2012. There has been a surge of popular support for the royal family, riding high again after the crises of the 1990s.     The gift of bonus bank holidays always helps to lighten the national mood; allied with street parties, flag-waving and British pageantry at its best.    The prospect that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge may soon start a family of their own has led to sudden proposals for changes to our national constitution.     On...

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Militant secularism (1)
May 2012
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Militant secularism (1)

Militant secularism (1) The UK Conservative Party co-chairwoman Baroness Warsi (the first female Muslim cabinet minister in parliament) has expressed the view that Britain is under threat from a rising tide of ‘militant secularisation’. She warned that religion is being ‘sidelined, marginalised and downgraded in the public sphere’.     These sentiments were voiced in a speech at the Vatican on 13 February. They represent a growing fear amongst people of faith, that their religious views are being intentionally attacked. The speech was picked up by Channel 4 News and BBC Newsnight on 15 February.    Sayeeda Warsi was on a two-day delegation of seven British ministers...

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Valuing life’s veterans
September 2011
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Valuing life’s veterans

Valuing life’s veterans If I were to ask who were the most neglected people in British society, I wonder what your answer would be? In fact, it is the elderly who are often overlooked and pushed to the margins of society. Although many senior citizens are physically active, psychologically alert and enjoy happy lives, a large number struggle with loneliness, ill health and neglect.     We are becoming a society that prefers not to bother with the elderly. However, it is not that long ago that they were honoured and respected. Why has this devaluation of the aged happened and what should we do about...

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If the foundations are destroyed … What are the issues?
August 2011
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

If the foundations are destroyed … What are the issues?

If the foundations are destroyed … What are the issues? The modern world is dominated by shades of liberalism. According to Alasdair MacIntyre, there are ‘conservative liberals, liberal liberals and radical liberals’.1 For our purposes, we can say that there would seem to be three main ingredients in the present make-up of present day Western societies — humanists who oppose saying that anything sexual is wrong; Muslims with varying degrees of commitment to the rising tide of Islam; and churches that by and large have capitulated to the world.     In short, unfaithfulness on the part of the professing church has led to an increasingly...

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If the foundations are destroyed … The church’s responsibility
July 2011
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

If the foundations are destroyed … The church’s responsibility

If the foundations are destroyed … The church’s responsibility There is always a temptation for Christians to wring their hands, and declare that what is wrong with the modern world is Darwin, Marx and Freud, who are popularised today by Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Richard Dawkins. Certainly, the West is a different place to what it has been. From his Nazi prison cell in the final years of World War II, Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer perceived something of what had happened: ‘The west is becoming hostile towards Christ. This is the peculiar situation of our time, and it is genuine decay’.1     The West has...

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If the foundations are destroyed … Descent into barbarism
June 2011
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

If the foundations are destroyed … Descent into barbarism

If the foundations are destroyed … Descent into barbarism   Democracy cannot long survive without moral foundations. The second president of the United States, John Adams, is noted — and sometimes resented — for his observation in 1798 that ‘Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other’.   In 1807 he commented that ‘without national morality a Republican government cannot be maintained’.1 In the 1940s T. S. Eliot warned: ‘If Christianity goes, the whole of our culture goes. Then you must start painfully again, and you cannot put on a new culture...

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‘If the foundations are destroyed … ‘ ­- Living with an echo
April 2011
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

‘If the foundations are destroyed … ‘ ­- Living with an echo

Continued from Undermining the Foundations Cicero defined a people as an association brought together by a common sense of what is right and by shared utility. Augustine took this up and wrote: ‘A people is the association of a multitude of rational beings united by a common agreement on the objects of their love’ (Augustine, The City of God, XIX, 24). That is now lacking in Western society. With Christianity supposedly discredited and largely abandoned, alternative schemes of salvation were concocted. Utopian hopes have been embraced, but sweet dreams have not been matched by any translations into reality. As Hamlet lamented, ‘the time is out...

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