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All articles in category Society

October 2018
News > Society

Government plans for ‘no-fault’ divorce

Marriages will be broken up more quickly and easily if government plans get the go-ahead following an announcement to consult on new proposals in England and Wales. Critics say the move would further ‘trivialise marriage’, but the government says it would make splits less acrimonious. The consultation will, among other things, consider the introduction of ‘no-fault’ divorce — a divorce in which the dissolution of a marriage does not require a showing of wrongdoing by either party. Under the current law in England and Wales, when you apply for a divorce you must prove your marriage has broken down because of adultery, unreasonable behaviour, or...

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October 2018
News > Society

Reaction to the ‘Boris burka row’

In August, Boris Johnson wrote an article in the Daily Telegraph saying the ‘burka is oppressive and ridiculous, but that’s still no reason to ban it’. In his article he described those who display only their eyes as ‘looking like letterboxes’. The commentariat exploded into a frenzy of outrage. Here is a selection of quotes from some of the more sensible and thoughtful responses, including secular voices. Carl R Trueman — First Things The controversy highlights two serious matters. First, it underlines the problem of fundamentalist Islam for the Western Left. The veil puts women in their place — not a very Leftist idea, one...

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September 2018
News > Society > Uncategorised

Tale of two cathedral cities

London and Gloucester, two cathedral cities, have taken very different approaches to public Bible reading in recent weeks. London’s St Paul’s Cathedral no longer dominates the skyline amid the rise of skyscrapers but its vast dome is unmistakable. Often presented as a symbol of hope — one thinks of the famous Second World War image of the dome rising above the smoking ruins following a German air-raid — the cathedral was built by Christopher Wren, who wanted to rebuild a monument to God’s grace after the 1666 Fire of London destroyed the old, medieval cathedral. One has to wonder what he would have made of...

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September 2018
News > Society

Religious liberty – Bercow: LGBT rights ‘more important’

The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, has said LGBT rights are more important than religious freedoms. Mr Bercow was speaking at an event hosted at Speakers House in support of the gay website, PinkNews. Mr Bercow said, ‘I respect people’s rights to adhere to and profess their faith, but for me, where there is a clash between somebody’s adherence to faith on the one hand and the acknowledgement of and demonstration of respect for human rights, the latter has to trump the former.’ However, Mr Bercow, who as Speaker of the Commons is supposed to maintain political neutrality, failed to acknowledge that...

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September 2018
News > Society

Society – Disastrous prostitution zone

A legalised prostitution zone in Leeds has been a ‘disaster from day one’, a senior police officer has said. The zone was set up in an attempt to reduce crime related to the sex industry, but it seems the very opposite has happened. One senior police officer said, ‘Other criminals came into the area quick as a flash. Drug dealers, pimps, even traffickers that brought the women from Romania. Loads of illegal immigrants, and complaint after complaint from people that worked and lived nearby.’ He added, ‘It was obvious we couldn’t contain it in the zone. The women were given carte blanche and it was like...

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August 2018
News > Society

Society – Sparkle lost from royal sermon

US Bishop Rt Rev. Michael Curry’s wedding sermon for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has lost its sparkle among UK Christians, research has found. A poll by Christian thinktank Theos explored what people thought about the bishop’s lively sermon, once the media bandwagon had rolled on. The survey found most people were disappointed in the long-term effects, claiming the sermon has failed to leave a lasting impression on Brits, despite the initial praise it received. The 14-minute sermon was the most tweeted about moment of the ceremony, receiving 40,000 tweets per minute. However, only 16 per cent of respondents said they would be more likely...

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August 2018
News > Society

Charity – Supporting vulnerable families

Volunteers from more than 500 churches across the UK have actively supported vulnerable families through the Christian charity, Safe Families for Children (SFC). The charity opens the door into the community for Christian volunteers by connecting families needing support with those able to give it. In a time where national statistics show volunteering levels have declined by 15 per cent over a decade, the charity has seen increasing numbers of volunteers stepping forward. SFC partners with churches of all denominations and many church leaders see it as a practical way for the church to ‘love their neighbour’, engaging with and supporting vulnerable families in the...

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August 2018
News > Society

UK moves to ban ‘gay conversion’ therapy

In July this year, Prime Minister Theresa May announced the anti-conversion therapy plans, as part of an effort to combat ‘intolerance’ and ‘discrimination’ against the gay community. The £4.5m initiative followed a poll among 108,000 LGBT people, which found 2 per cent of respondents had undergone conversion therapy, while 5 per cent had been offered it. Just days before high-profile resignations from her Cabinet and strong division among her MPs because of her Brexit plans, Mrs May said, ‘No one should ever have to hide who they are or who they love’. However, Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, said this amounted to a...

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July 2018
News > Society

Royal wedding sermon was lively but empty

The energetic sermon preached at the royal wedding of Harry and Meghan drew praise from many in the secular elite, but strong criticism from others. Bishop Michael Curry spoke on the subject of ‘love’. The style of the American was very lively, more so than one would normally expect at a stiff British royal occasion. Many evangelicals saw through the outward display of passion and noted the lack of any real gospel substance to the message. Alarmingly though, some evangelicals thought it was wonderful. Rev. Curry hails from Chicago and has actively campaigned on a number of liberal issues. He has defended the Episcopalian church’s...

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June 2018
News > Society

Society – Parents likened to Nazis

Parents discussing gender dysphoria online have been compared to Nazis fomenting hatred of Jews. Transsexual journalist India Willoughby, writing for gay news website Pink News, slammed the Mumsnet website, comparing it to a ‘Nuremberg rally’. This came after female users of the Mumsnet forum asked questions about how to deal with transsexualism, spurring trans activists to start targeting and threatening advertisers on the site. As reported in the Daily Mail, the row escalated, with cabinet minister Liz Truss incurring the wrath of the transgender community after she praised the open forum, free speech ethic of the Mumsnet site. In April, when she posted a magazine...

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June 2018
News > Society

Society – Explicit apps for children

Sexually explicit and violent apps have been approved by Apple and Google as being suitable for young children, an investigation by The Times has revealed. According to the newspaper, there were many games available featuring adult themes aimed at twelve-year-olds, with some even rated as low as for ages four and above. The investigation involved a reporter signing up for an ‘anonymous chat’ app, which has been certified as suitable for ages 12 and above. However, he was soon accosted by other members with profile pictures of topless teenage boys, asking him for nude photos. According to the report, consumer tech giants Apple and Google...

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May 2018
News > Society

London — killer capital

Britain’s capital has been awash in recent months with reports of violent deaths. It has now outstripped New York as a place of violent homicide. Ten years ago, this writer’s first article for Evangelical Times (September 2008) was a reflection on the terrible knife crimes that rocked London in 2008. At the time, I reflected on the fears that teenagers in my church youth group had expressed to me every time they heard another teenager was stabbed, shot or beaten to death. Soaring crime figures That was in 2008. And now in 2018 it is reported that London has surpassed New York for the number...

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