Christians and the Riots

I wrote a letter to The Sunday Telegraph last week about this letter which they published from a group of Christians:

The new barbarism

SIR – We write as senior church leaders whose congregations have been affected by the recent violence on our streets.

What made Britain great was a sense of responsibility, of accountability to one another and, ultimately, to God. It is the loss of this moral framework that has led to the plunge into the new barbarism. We must take steps immediately to strengthen the family as a place for moral and spiritual formation where our children first learn about boundaries.

The churches are also committed to the task of supporting schools in their work of instilling the young with values derived from the timeless life-enhancing principles of the Bible.

What we instil in children today will determine in the future how they govern a nation, influence our policies and ultimately determine the quality of life in our communities.

We each make choices and decisions based on our value systems. Godlessness has only produced selfishness and greed. The well-tried Christian faith has given us hope in the past and can do so again now.

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali

Former Bishop of Rochester and President of Oxtrad

Pastor Ade Omooba

Co-Founder, Christian Concern/Christian Legal Centre

Pastor Kofi Banful

Senior Pastor, Praise Chapel, Edgware, Middlesex

Rev Celia Apeagyei-Collins

Rehoboth Foundation, London E16

Rev Wale Hudson-Roberts

Founder African Development Forum, London

Pastor Lanre Sholola

Co-Founder, Christian Victory Group, London SW9

I tried to make it as Telegraphy as possible but they didn’t publish it. Here it is anyway!


The idea that the Christian religion per se has some sort of beneficial effect on personal morality is without foundation, especially in Britain where surveys have found little variation in social responsibility between Christians and the non-religious. The idea that many centuries of Christian teaching and practice in Europe produced a more morally advanced culture that the culture of pre-Christian Europe or non-Christian societies elsewhere in the world is at the very least arguable, and many would argue the contrary.

In any case, the linking of morality to a system of religious belief in the education of children is seriously misguided. What will happen then if the religious belief dissolves in later life? Young people can be left with the very false idea that a sense of concern for others and values of social responsibility have become unnecessary.

The recent civil unrest and criminality surely needs addressing rationally and with a regard to evidence of what really works, by citizens of all beliefs. Pious and ahistorical assertions from those most interested in pursuing their own proselytising religious agenda are not helpful.

Andrew Copson

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