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April 5, 2005

Religion and (Abortion) Politics in Great Britain: Tony Blair's Faithworks Speech

Topics: International News

According to Joseph M. Knippenberg at the Ashbrook Center, religion, all of a sudden, has become a factor in the British election. Earlier this month, Conservative leader Michael Howard called for a change in the abortion laws, proposing to lower from twenty-four to twenty weeks the gestational age limit for abortions. His call was immediately hailed by leaders from many of Great Britain's religious communities, including Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, and Iqbal Sacranie of the Muslim Council of Britain.

(...) According to newspaper reports, as little as 5% of Britons regularly attend church services, though roughly 70% still regard themselves as Christians - Sound Familiar?

(...) British Catholics seem to be wavering in their traditional support of Labour - Sound Familiar?

(...) in early January of this year a Conservative MP, David Willetts, a member of Howard's shadow cabinet, gave a speech on "compassionate conservatism and the war on poverty" and that Steve Chalke, the founder of Faithworks, an evangelical anti-poverty group, recently called for a "level playing field" for secular and religious groups in their dealings with government - Sound Familiar?

(...) all this talk about "social issues" has made the Prime Minister and his Labour Party a little uncomfortable. Blair, by all accounts one of the most religious prime ministers in the past century, does not, as we have heard said of another candidate, wear his religion on his sleeve. He is a member of the Church of England, but frequently attends his wife's Roman Catholic church, which it is rumored he will join after he steps down from office. And while many Labourites consider themselves Christian Socialists, the party also has a substantial and vocal secularist wing, one presumably unaccustomed to being challenged by people from the pews and pulpits.

Read more of what Joseph has to say about the cross Atlantic analagies and where they might lead ...

Posted by Hyscience at April 5, 2005 10:52 PM

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