Advancing Religious Liberty
8/12/11 at 11:13 AM 0 Comments

UK Riots and Church Attendance

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Author: ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot

Max Hastings, in an article for Mail Online, writes:  “Years of liberal dogma have spawned a generation of amoral, uneducated, welfare dependent, brutalized youngsters.” He goes on to observe that a lack of moral training has resulted in children that

“are essentially wild beasts. I use that phrase advisedly, because it seems appropriate to young people bereft of the discipline that might make them employable; of the conscience that distinguishes between right and wrong. They respond only to instinctive animal impulses — to eat and drink, have sex, seize or destroy the accessible property of others. Their behavior on the streets resembled that of the polar bear which attacked a Norwegian tourist camp last week. They were doing what came naturally and, unlike the bear, no one even shot them for it.”

Mr. Hastings is speaking in biblical terms. 2 Peter 2:10-14 says people who despise authority “blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish.They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood!”

Accordingly, church leaders in England are reported to have roundly condemned the rioting, but is anyone listening? Not many. Only 15 percent of people in the UK attend church at least once per month.  That’s down about 35 percent since 1980, and this downward trend which began in the UK in the 1950s is expected to continue.

Max Hastings is correct that this lack of morality is a result of lack of training, but he never identifies who or what should be doing the training.  He laments that schools aren’t capable of completing this great task because they lack the support of parents or the government to force students to do anything. Unfortunately, he never takes the final step of identifying that institution that is best suited to instill moral values in the population:  the church.

As I often point out, the church’s role as the moral compass of society was recognized in the USA from the very beginning. George Washington  said in his Farewell Address that only a moral people can govern themselves and our religious institutions are charged with teaching that morality. Unlike the UK, our churches are still in a position to do that.  A 2010 Gallup poll shows about 43 percent of Americans attend church weekly, and 54% do so monthly (if I am reading the statistics correctly). More importantly, most pastors are willing to preach about controversial moral issues such as abortion and homosexual behavior. A 2008 a survey indicates only 23 percent don’t preach on the issue of homosexual behavior, 18 percent won’t preach on abortion, and 17 percent avoid the same-sex marriage issue.  That means 77 percent of pastors do address homosexual behavior, 82 percent will preach on abortion, and 83 percent teach about the biblical view of marriage.  Interestingly, the topic the highest percentage of pastors say they will not address is politics (38 percent).  As the debate regarding abortion and homosexual behavior becomes more political, one wonders if these pastors will stop teaching about these important issues.

ADF’s Pulpit Initiative is designed to encourage pastors to speak up on all moral issues – even if they are political.  People in the pew need to know whether their political leaders have the proper biblical perspective on topics like homosexual behavior and abortion. but many pastors fear their tax exempt status may be jeopardized if they speak out on moral issues that happen to be political because of the Johnson Amendment. For example, this law prohibits churches from criticizing a presidential candidate because he supports same-sex marriage. To learn more about the Pulpit Initiative and participate in ADF’s plan to challenge the Johnson Amendment in court, visit PulpitFreedom.org.

It certainly is encouraging that the majority of  Americans still attend church where most pastors are still willing to teach biblical morality. We must be diligent to protect this right and fulfill this responsibility. ADF is committed to doing its part of legally defending pastors when they do speak out on political issues. Please contact use at speakupmovement.org/church or 1-800- TellADF, if you or your pastor are ever challenged for speaking biblical truth. And encourage every pastor you know to keep up the good work. The alternative is unacceptable. A silent church leads to the amoral anarchy that’s plaguing the UK today.

This post originally appeared here.

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