Jonathan Bellamy comments
The destruction is shocking, the thieving violates us all, and the lack of respect for authority shakes our confidence in our law and order values.
Yet something else 'pained' me at least as much as the above: on many news reports it was the number of times that these errant young people were described as 'scum'.
Sure, fear causes people to react, and this word is a verbal retaliation, but when we do, we create an 'us and them' polarization. We disassociate ourselves from our youth as if 'they are not really like us'. We want to deal with them as some sort of alien invasion into our world, as some sort of foreign virus or infection that has entered our body that we need to fight off.
Rubbish. Where do we think today's youth came from? Were they born as different babies than you and I? Did they start off somehow as freaky aberrations waiting to grow up into anarchic headcases?
Of course not. They were born into the world that our older generations have shaped and developed. They are the consequence of the values we have promoted and allowed.
Older generations should take most of the responsibility for the condition of their children's generation.
Scripture declares: 'Train a child in the way it should go and when it grows up it will not divert from the path'. What we are reaping today is the manifestation of how our children have been 'trained'.
And the single most destructive effect on how many of our young people have been brought up is that they have been fatherless!
The effect of fatherlessness is not just to be seen in the violent behaviour, it is not just revealed in the absence of respect for the authority of our Police, it is not just expressed through mindless vandalism; the darkness also shouts loud in our teenage binge culture, addictions, abortions, STDs, eating disorders, self harm, knife crime, suicides.
Let me quote from a 2010 book called I Am Your Father, by Mark Stibbe, which eerily predicts what we are now seeing:
'Britain's record on family breakdown is now the worst in Europe. Three quarters of the households on social housing estates in the UK are now headed by lone parents, usually mothers. Only 15% of social-renting households are headed by a couple with children. Nationwide, 15% of babies are currently born without a resident biological father and approximately 7% are born with no registered father on their birth certificate.
'The consequences for children are toxic. The centre for Social Justice has collated the evidence and now conclusively demonstrated that children who grow up without fathers, in a lone parent environment, are 75% more likely to fail at school, 70% more likely to be drug addicts, 50% more likely to develop an alcohol problem, 40 per cent more likely to have serious problems with debt, and 35% more likely to experience unemployment and a need for social welfare. Fatherlessness is now reaping a whirlwind of destruction in UK society. We should not be surprised to hear that there has in recent years been a tripling of children murdering children, that 70% of young offenders come from fatherless homes, that in 2008 11,000 children were treated for addiction to drugs and alcohol, that the UK has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Western Europe, and that it is also witnessing an unprecedented surge in street-gang membership in its inner cities.
'Today the Centre for Social Justice is swimming against the tide of political correctness and declaring we cannot go on tolerating everything and anything. They are reminding us that "healthy marriages build healthy families, and healthy families build healthy society". Where marriage is undermined and fathers are absent, society slips towards lawlessness and violence as children resort to gangs as an alternative to family (as a place where they can belong and find value and identity). Broken Britain is a very dark landscape indeed.'
It is hard to be a father. It takes character and maturity to teach responsibility and bring discipline. And sadly for too long our high minded, liberal, political correctness has given young fathers too many excuses for their right to run from responsibility. To shy from the courage and backbone required to be a committed partner and a loving father.
So often however political correctness is Biblical incorrectness! It takes time, but eventually the outcome of a society believing it knows better than God, is that this society reaps the effects of its pride.
There is another scripture in the book of Malachi that declares the importance of allowing the Spirit of God to 'turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers'. It declares that if this does not happen then the land will suffer a curse.
What we have seen on our streets in the last week is just the latest in a long line of different manifestations over recent years of the growing levels of brokenness that besets our younger generation.
No they are NOT scum! They are the product of the fatherless society that we have created. And we will not see them restored until a Spirit sweeps our nation to nurture, inspire, value and encourage fathers to be fathers once again.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms.
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