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British politicians and church leaders concerned over nation’s moral decline

Country/Region: United Kingdom, Europe

Firefighters douse a shop and flats destroyed by arson during the initial rioting in Tottenham, London
Firefighters douse a shop and flats destroyed by arson during the initial rioting in Tottenham, London
CC BY-SA 2.0 by Alan Stanton

As Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announced this week , tackling the "broken society" is back at the top of his agenda following the recent riots. In a speech in Oxfordshire, Mr Cameron described the disorder that spread from London to other towns and cities in England as "a wake-up call for our country".

He said that politicians had been unwilling to talk about rights and wrongs, but "moral neutrality" would not "cut it anymore", and "the slow-motion moral collapse that has taken place in parts of our country these past few generations" must be confronted.

"Irresponsibility. Selfishness. Behaving as if your choices have no consequences. Children without fathers. Schools without discipline. Reward without effort. Crime without punishment. Rights without responsibilities. Communities without control.

Some of the worst aspects of human nature tolerated, indulged - sometimes even incentivised - by a state and its agencies that in parts have become literally de-moralised.

Opposition leader Ed Miliband has demanded an inquiry to investigate the causes of the trouble, and said that bankers, MPs and journalists - as well as the rioters - had been greedy, selfish and immoral.

Several church leaders, including the former Bishop of Rochester, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, have had their joint statement published by the Daily Telegraph:

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.

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