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All articles in category Society

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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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May 2018
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Society – British values

Government plans to create ‘integrated communities’ could end up marginalising Christian schools, according to reports. Building on the Casey Review in 2016, the 80-page Integrated Communities Strategy Green Paper, published in March, aims to promote British values and improve community integration rather than segregation. While the Green Paper rejects a proposal to regulate sharia courts — a move praised by Barnabas Fund, as to have regulated such courts would have been to legitimise sharia law in the UK — Barnabas Fund also slammed proposals to regulate out-of-school educational settings, a proposal that has now been shelved by the government. In the foreword to the Green...

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May 2018
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Society – EA conference on legal matters

Over 300 church and charity leaders packed into St Mary’s Church London, on 20 February 2018, for a day conference entitled ‘Above and Beyond’. This gave specialist advice and updates on governance, legal matters and charity regulations, and was organised by the Evangelical Alliance. Shirin Aguiar reports on key points made during the day. In her keynote speech Fiona Bruce MP pointed to the one parliamentarian in history more respected than any other: William Wilberforce. She said, ‘Only ever a backbencher, never a minister, but over a period of decades two centuries ago, he led the fight against the slave trade. He was crystal clear...

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April 2018
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Society – Islamist extremists and UK charities

British taxpayers have handed over more than £6m to charities which are, or which have been, used by extremists to further their radical agenda. This is among the findings of a report from neo-conservative think-tank the Henry Jackson Society. The report is called Wolves in sheep’s clothing: how Islamist extremists exploit the UK charitable sector. The report’s case studies indicated an approximate £6m has been handed over to individuals, some of whose involvement in extremism can be traced back to the Islamist scene in the early 2000s. The UK’s Charity Commission has been particularly ill-equipped to deal with these organisations, the Henry Jackson Society claims....

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April 2018
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Society – Britain ditching marriage

Marriage is less popular in England and Wales than at any time since records began in 1862, as statistics reflect the sad story of what is happening within our nation. Statistics for opposite-sex marriages in 2015, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 28 February 2018, show that only 2.17 per cent of eligible men (unmarried men over the age of 16), and 1.98 per cent of eligible women, married in 2015. The popularity of marriage was at its peak in 1972, when the equivalent figures were 7.84 per cent for men and 6.05 per cent for women. This means that the proportion...

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April 2018
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Society – Widespread loneliness

Loneliness is the biggest issue across communities in the UK, research by Church Urban Fund and the Church of England has found. A survey carried out among 1,094 Anglican church leaders, conducted in September and October 2017, revealed that while churches have been instrumental in building communities and doing charitable work, the biggest challenge was how to tackle loneliness. More than 75 per cent of church leaders called this a major or significant problem in their parishes, with little variation between the most and least deprived areas. Moreover, 60 per cent of church leaders reported mental health problems in their parish were becoming an issue...

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