Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

postheadericon ‘Society can turn against abortion, just like it rejected the slave trade’

‘Society can turn against abortion, just like it rejected the slave trade’

Advocates for unborn children need the compassion, resilience and ingenuity of 19th’ century anti-slavery campaigners to succeed in their’ 2’1 st century work, a writer and journalist has said.

In an article for The Gospel Coalition, US-based writer Gracy Olmstead highlighted how evangelical Christian William Wilberforce and his co-workers used culture to shift public perception eventually leading to the “monumental” .accomplishment of outlawing slavery. Wilberforce’s cheer and harisma drew people to his cause and his faith.

Noting similarities between slavery two hundred years ago and the abortion industry now, Olmstead said, “slavery was an accepted practice; while many believed it was wrong, most were willing to turn a blind eye”.

As a result, abolitionists focused on the cultural, social, and ideological factors that allowed slavery to exist and “turned themselves passionately and primarily to public awareness, cultural causes, and grassroots campaigns”.

Alongside tireless efforts in Parliament to change the law, they used music, poetry, plays and even a boycott of West Indian sugar to slowly turn the tide away from an acceptance of slavery.

“In a world that disdained the goody-two-shoes sincerity of dedicated Christians, Wilberforce’s cheer and charisma drew people to his cause and: his faith.”

Other campaigns on the humane treatment of animals, child prostitution and female infanticide were addressed not to make an anti-slavery stance popular, but because he was “determined to fight oppression, injustice, and suffering in all its forms”.

Olmstead concluded: “If we’re” going to compare the pro-life movement to the abolitionist cause, we’re going to need leaders like Wilberforce”. She added, “we’re going to need tender culture warriors and humanitarians, winsome orators and artists”.

William Wilberforce was born in Hull in 1759. After becoming an evangelical Christian in the 1780s, he campaigned fiercely in Parliament against slavery. It was his effort that led to the passing of the Slave Trade Act of 1807, ending Britain’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade.

In July 1833 – just 3 days before Wilberforce’s death – the Slavery Abolition Act was passed, granting freedom to slaves in the British Empire.

 Christian Institute – 25th January 2018

 

postheadericon Bishop calls for ban on Premier League gambling ads

Bishop calls for ban on Premier League gambling ads

 A bishop is challenging the Premier League by calling for betting firms’ logos to be banned from football shirts. The Bishop of St Albans, Right Revd Alan Smith, has tabled a motion in the General Synod to stop children being “groomed into gambling”.

The CofE’s ruling body will debate the motion later this month and decide whether it will put pressure on the Premier League to ban betting companies from becoming shirt sponsors.

‘Groomed into gambling’

Bishop Smith said that banning gambling firms from sponsoring shirts and pitch-side hoardings would help counter the growing numbers of child gamblers. Last month, he called it a “generational scandal” that around 55,000 children in the UK are problem gamblers. Now he adds: “I know families who will not let their children watch football matches on TV because they feel their children are being groomed into gambling.” “We have changed the enjoyment of sport from sport in itself to something that’s to do with money and betting.”

‘Normalising’

.Bishop Smith also warned that the “FA and others need to wake up very quickly to how damaging this is going to be”. He added, the Church’s worry is that “we are as a nation sleepwalking into something by normalising and socialising a whole generation of people with no idea where it might go”.

The motion to be discussed at the General Synod also proposes a mandatory requirement for gambling firms to carry out research into the scale of the problem, and to fund education programmes and treatment for addicts.

Benefits

Bishop Smith indicated the positive effects that a logo ban could have on the sports clubs. “If you think of the values that clubs want to promote in terms of their community role, does a betting sponsor sit four square behind that?    .

“Ultimately a ban could benefit them and their role in the community.”

Christian Institute – 5th February 2019

postheadericon ‘British values’ agenda criticised by Bishop of London

‘British values’ agenda criticised by Bishop of London

Government efforts to promote ‘British values’ in schools could play a part in turning the State into an “ideologically driven Big Brother”, the Bishop of London has warned.

Speaking on Thursday, the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, raised concerns over
the attempt to “enlist schools in the communication of ‘British values’ as a way of combating ‘extremism”’.

He suggested that the State should support religious freedom, but that it should not pry into everyday affairs.

Big Brother

“The business of the State is to ensure that the living traditions in our pluralist society have space
to flourish without the State itself being drawn into the role of an ideologically driven Big Brother, profligate with ever more detailed regulation”, he said.

In a message delivered at St Paul’s Cathedral, the Bishop touched on the issue of human rights and said that while an “insistence” on individual rights had been valuable, that now needed to be reassessed.

Schools in England have been required to “actively promote” British values since 2014.

Intrusive

Pressure from The Christian Institute, MPs and others forced the Government to issue new guidance to all schools setting out that it is respect for people – rather than their beliefs – that schools need to promote.

However, in its inspections Ofsted have subjected some children in faith schools to intrusive questions.

Now the Government is considering giving Ofsted the power to investigate non-school settings such as church youth work under the Conservatives’ British values drive.

Christian Institute 29th March 2016

 

postheadericon Ofsted Head’s comments on The Christian Institute

Ofsted Head’s comments on The Christian Institute

In a speech to Anglican school leaders today about ‘extremists’ who ‘pervert’ education, Chief  Inspector of Schools Amanda Spielman referred to The Christian Institute. As reported on the front page of today’s Times, she said:

“Rather than adopting a passive liberalism that says ‘anything goes’ for fear of causing offence, school leader should be promoting a muscular liberalism.” .

“It means not assuming that the most conservative voices in a particular faith speak for everyone – imagine if people thought the Christian Institute was the sole voice of Anglicanism. And it means schools must not be afraid to call out practices, whatever their justification, that limit young people’s experiences and learning in school.”

Just because you oppose theological liberalism doesn’t mean you also oppose democratic liberalism. There seems to be some confusion here.

Indeed we fear that some Ofsted inspectors will interpret the call for ‘muscular liberalism’ as a call for more aggressive secularism.

We genuinely hope that Ofsted will promote the Great British tradition of democratic liberalism.

At its heart such liberalism means the freedom to disagree.

The Christian Institute which is non-denominational – has been a strong critic of Ofsted. Perhaps that’s why we get a mention. We have disagreed with the way in which some Ofsted inspectors have gone about their work. For example demanding that Vishnitz – an Orthodox Jewish School – should be promoting transgender rights to five-year-olds. Anyone reading that inspection report will see how inspectors can be unhelpfully ‘muscular’.

There have also been cases of unprofessional conduct where inspectors have asked teachers their personal views on same-sex marriage.

Clearly there is a problem of religious literacy.

Social liberalism is a particular viewpoint, whereas the tradition of British liberalism is about the freedom to disagree. Ofsted inspectors need to know the difference.

Please pray for us as we respond to Ofsted.

Pray that the concerns of Christian parents and teachers will be heard.

Thank God that the Government has not backed giving Ofsted power to inspect Sunday schools

Colin Heart – Director of the Christian Institute

1st February 2018

 

 

postheadericon Govt confirms: Ofsted will not inspect churches

Govt confirms: Ofsted will not inspect churches

Churches will not be inspected as part of Government attempts to counter extremism, the Department for Education has confirmed. Under the approach first mooted by David Cameron, any setting which provided instruction to children for more than six hours a week could have been inspected by Ofsted,

But amid strong concerns from groups including The Christian Institute, and critical consultation responses, the Government confirmed it has dropped the plans. Some 18,000-people responded to the call for evidence in total, expressing doubts about Ofsted’s ability to inspect settings such as churches and questioning the vague ‘British values’ definition.

According to the official consultation report, 75 per cent of those who responded using the Government’s questionnaire said Ofsted should not be able to investigate out-of-school settings. “Respondents who disagreed with this question expressed concerns about Ofsted’s capacity, expertise and neutrality in dealing with such settings”, the document said.

Many of those who responded also warned that the “proposed policy would result in the state becoming a regulator of religious teaching”. And respondents said “existing laws are already in place to tackle issues raised in the call for evidence and therefore additional powers are not needed”.

The Government decided “not to pursue the model proposed in our call for evidence”, but instead to “develop further the evidence base for a national approach”. It said: “We believe it is equally important that we ensure any future system carefully takes into account the differences within such a diverse sector”.

In 2016, The Christian Institute, CARE, Christian Concern, Evangelical Alliance and Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship called for the Government to scrap its controversial out-of-school settings proposals. Colin’ Hart, Director of The Christian Institute, said at the time: “Christians are justifiably alarmed at the prospect of Ofsted conducting ‘British values’ inspections of church youth work. “The freedom ‘to proclaim the Gospel, and indeed our wider civil liberties, must be protected, not undermined in the name of ‘counter-extremism’.

 

Christian Institute 12th April 2018

 

postheadericon Premier League football clubs accused of luring children into gambling.

Premier League football clubs sponsored by betting firms have been accused of luring
children into gambling.

Ten top-tier clubs feature a gambling firm as either their main shirt sponsor or sleeve sponsor.

Clubs are also using youth players – some as young as 15 – to promote gambling websites, in breach of advertising regulations.

Children’s characters

The gambling operators deny deliberately targeting children, but some of the websites advertised host free casino-style slots games. Critics say these are the “number one risk factor” in developing a gambling problem in later life.

Football Association rules ban under-15 players from promoting gambling, but Newcastle United’s entire under-18s squad was pictured on the club’s website wearing strips with the Fun88 logo.

Fun88’s website, which features many images of Newcastle players, includes numerous free-to-play slots games that would appeal to children.

West Ham United was also criticised for its promotional images of 15-year-old academy players Joshua Okotcha and William Greenidge wearing club shirts bearing Betway’s logo.

Normalised·

Critics say that the sponsorship deals, alongside TV and hoarding advertisements, are ‘normalising’ gambling for young people.

GambleAware’s Chief Executive Marc Etches said: “For young people today, an adult activity that is gambling is being normalised. It most certainly is around sports. There is an awful lot of gambling product being pushed at young people.”

He previously said that his organisation was “very concerned about how increasingly children are being introduced to gambling via social media, video gaming and free-to-play casino games online”.

Conservative peer Lord Chadlington has said that the Government should severely restrict or ban all gambling advertising,’ with the first step being to ban such advertising during sports broadcasts.

Christian Institute – 12th January 2018

 

postheadericon Mothering Sunday

History of Mothering Sunday


Most Sundays in the year churchgoers in England worship at their nearest parish or ‘daughter church’. Centuries ago it was considered important for people to return to their home or ‘mother’ church once a year. So each year in the middle of Lent, everyone would visit their ‘mother’ church – the main church or cathedral of the area.

Inevitably the return to the ‘mother’ church became an occasion for family reunions when children who were working away returned home. (It was quite common in those days for children to leave home for work once they were ten years old.) And most historians think that it was the return to the ‘Mother’ church which led to the tradition of children, particularly those working as domestic servants, or as apprentices, being given the day off to visit their mother and family. As they walked along the country lanes, children would pick wild flowers or violets to take to church or give to their mother as a small gift.

 

postheadericon Backlash after Ofsted’s ‘muscular liberalism’ push

Backlash after Ofsted’s ‘muscular liberalism’ push

Ofsted’s Chief Inspector is facing calls to resign following her inflammatory speech about faith schools. Amanda Spielman had called on schools to promote a “muscular liberalism” to ‘face down’ socially conservative views.

Her speech to a Church of England schools conference has come under fire from those who say such ‘liberalism’ is anything but liberal, and undermines free speech.

Alienation

Christians in Education’s Gill Robins said Spielman cannot “abuse her role as Chief Inspector of  Education, Children’s Services and Skills by imposing her views on society.”

Mrs Robins also noted that Ofsted’s motto is ‘Raising Standards, Improving Lives’, but asserted: “Lives are improved when people have the opportunity to determine their own beliefs, not have them inculcated by aggressive secular dogmatists.”

She added that Ofsted’s position will simply drive the real problems underground “whilst alienating vast tracts of a reasonable and balanced society”.

‘Totalitarian’

Dr Tom Rogers, of the Safe at School Campaign, said Spielman’s comments are “very sinister”, and threaten the rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit.

He said: “It is not the role of the state to override parents and decide what is in the best interests of their children.

“She is effectively calling for schools to operate a totalitarian regime where there is no room for the voices of concerned parents to be heard.”

‘Dissent’

Dr David Landrum of the Evangelical Alliance also spoke out against the Ofsted chiefs speech.

He said: “Amanda Spielman talked about a liberalism strong enough to tolerate dissenting views, but then she goes on to criticise views that dissent from her own and they are not violent in any way”, adding, “that doesn’t seem like liberalism to me”.

Christian Institute 16th February 2018

 

postheadericon Justin Welby: I’m an extremist, according to the Govt’s definition

The Archbishop of Canterbury says the Government has a seriously flawed view of extremism that places Christians alongside extreme Muslim groups. Criticising ministers and civil servants for “religious illiteracy”, Justin Welby said many assume conservative Christian believers are “a bit bonkers”. The Archbishop also recounted a conversation where he told a politician that he was an “extremist” because he believed the “kingdom of God outweighs everything else”.

‘Trying to catch up’

He made the comments to leaders of Church of England schools as he considered the challenges they face. “The Foreign Office, the Ministry of Defence, our Government generally, is desperately trying to catch up, to understand a world in which they have no grip on what it is to be religious at all”, he said. The Archbishop added that the atmosphere in Whitehall is one “where religious illiteracy is prevalent” and where people fail to see “the difference between an extremist Muslim group like the Muslim Brotherhood and a sort of conservative evangelical group in a Church of England church”. “They assume they’re a bit bonkers”, he said.

Faith

He then described a conversation with a politician who questioned what could be wrong with the Government’s British values drive. The “very senior politician” said, “are you seriously going to tell me that I don’t call someone an extremist if they say that their faith is more important than the rule of law?” He responded: “So I took a deep breath and said ‘Well, you’ve got a real problem here because for me personally my faith is more important than the rule of law so you’ve got an extremist sitting in here with you.” He explained: “We do not believe as Christians that the rule of law outweighs everything else, we believe that the kingdom of God outweighs everything else.”

State-imposed orthodoxy

In 2015, Sir Edward Leigh MP warned that faith schools were “under attack from the forces of intolerance”, as he highlighted the treatment from Ofsted against several schools. Sir Edward argued that the schools’ regulator “appears to be guilty of trying to enforce a kind of state-imposed orthodoxy on certain moral and religious questions”. Ofsted came under fire after the introduction of new British values rules in 2014.

 

Christian Institute 9th November 2016

 

postheadericon TV historian admits that he was wrong about Christianity

Tom Holland, the TV and radio historian and author of the prize-winning Rubicon, says he had the completely wrong idea about Christianity. Holland realised that his false ideas about God had been cultivated in him by the works of Edward Gibbon and other writers of the Enlightenment. He now sees Christianity as a revolutionary idea which has changed the world, and calls it the “principal reason” behind many of our most deeply-held values.

‘Christ crucified’

Central to the changes in his thinking were the Apostle Paul’s words: “we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles” (I Corinthians I :23). In his article for the New Statesman, Holland wrote: “Nothing could have run more counter’ to the most profoundly held assumptions of Paul’s contemporaries – Jews, or Greeks, or Romans. “The notion that a god might have suffered torture and death on a cross was so shocking as to appear repulsive.” “In the ancient world, it was the role of gods who laid claim to ruling the universe to uphold its order by inflicting punishment – not to suffer it themselves.”

Egoism

Holland writes that he had a Christian upbringing and attended Sunday school, but eventually turned his back on Christianity, preferring to explore his fascination with dinosaurs and ancient empires. He was drawn into what he saw as the glamour of the Greek and Roman gods, preferring their ideology of egoism to biblical values. “If they were vain, selfish and cruel, that only served to endow them with the allure of rock stars”, he explained.

Value of life

But eventually he came to realise that these societies invariably promoted cruelty and dominance. He highlighted the Spartan practice of murderous eugenics, and Caesar’s slaughter and enslavement of the Gauls. “It was not just the extremes of callousness I came to find shocking, but the lack of a sense that the poor or weak might have any intrinsic value”, he said.

Revolution

Holland concluded that countries once part of Christendom “continue to bear the stamp of the two-millennia-old revolution that Christianity represents”. He calls it the “principal reason” that such societies take for granted that “it is nobler to suffer than to inflict suffering”.

The Christian Institute 19th September 2016