Key Quotes for 2013

A world perspective in bite-size chunks
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Last update: Wednesday 25th March
David Cameron has been warned Britain is at risk of being seen as a ‘nasty country’ as he presses ahead with a clampdown on benefits for migrants. The Prime Minister has set out radical plans to overhaul welfare rules, including stopping new arrivals from the European Union (EU) getting out-of-work benefits for three months.
Social IssuesThe Sentinel, November 28, 2013
Downing Street has rejected a call from a leading public health expert to consider lowering the age of consent for sex to 15. Professor John Ashton, president of the Faculty of Public Health has called for a national debate, saying society sends “confused” signals about when sex is permitted. But No 10 was swift to pour cold water on the idea. A spokesman said: “We reject the call to lower the age of consent. The current age is in place to protect children and there are no plans to change it.” Professor Ashton’s intervention follows official figures which suggest up to a third of teenagers have sex before the present age of consent of 16. He said lowering the age by a year would make it easier for 15-year-olds in sexual relationships to obtain contraception or sexual health advice from the NHS.
SexThe Sentinel, November 18, 2013
Six out of 10 teenagers say they have been asked for sexual images or videos, an NSPCC and ChildLine survey suggests. Childline has launched a new app in reponse to these findings – Zipit – which offers whimsical images for teens to send as an alternative to explicit ones.
Young PeopleYouthwork, December 2013
Members of the European Parliament condemned violence and persecution against Christians in Syria, Pakistan and Iran in a resolution passed on October 10. They expressed particular concern about attacks on Christians in Maaloula, Syria, and the suicide bombing of All Saints Church in Peshawar, Pakistan. They called on the Pakistani government to overhaul the blasphemy laws, noting that these were open to misuse, and urged the Iranian authorities to acquit and release jailed pastor Saeed Abedini.
Religious PersecutionEvangelicals Now, December 2013
A bid to obtain an emergency judicial review on the displaying of bus adverts in London failed in early November. Transport for London (TfL) allowed Stonewall’s bus adverts to appear on buses last year reading, ‘Some people are gay. Get over it!’ but did not allow the Core Issues Trust counter advert, ‘Not gay. Ex-gay, post-gay and proud. Get over it!’ Back in March a judge had ruled that the TfL decision was ‘inconsistent and partial’. The ads breached TfL’s own guidelines. The original case is currently on appeal with a result due imminently. However, TfL allowed the Stonewall ads to be put up for a second time in October, despite the judgment in March which said that they were offensive. It appears that the whole tenor of the original judgment was ignored by the judge reviewing the case, and Christian Concern, who have been supporting the case, have been ordered to pay costs.
Social IssuesEvangelicals Now, December 2013
Halloween has been banned in a Polish city because it is seen as ‘anti-Christian’ it was reported on October 30. Children have been told by town hall bosses in Radom that they must not dress up while shops were ordered not to sell decorations. The celebration is ‘pagan and satanic’, said Cllr. Slawomir Adamiec.
Religion/SpiritualityEvangelicals Now, December 2013
According to an article published in The Spectator on October 5, 80% of all acts of religious persecution in the world today are directed at Christians. Christians are by far the most persecuted religious body on the planet, with 11 Christians killed somewhere in the world every hour, for reasons related to their faith. Author John L. Allen Jr. said: ‘The global persecution of Christians is the unreported catastrophe of our time.’
Religious PersecutionEvangelicals Now, December 2013
The Chinese government has welcomed the role of the church in providing social care in the country. China’s leaders held meetings in mid-November in Beijing to discuss the economic and political agenda for the next decade, in which it seems the church will play a vital role. Though it is the world’s second biggest economy, China is facing a social care crisis, particularly in caring for an increasingly elderly population. According to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, by 2040 nearly 20% of China’s rural population will be aged over 65. The government called on the church to provide care for the elderly, as well as offering drug prevention and rehabilitation, and work with those living with HIV.
Social IssuesEvangelicals Now, December 2013
The family advocacy organisation Common Sense Media has found that 38% of children under the age of 2 have used a mobile device for playing games, watching videos or other media-related purposes. The time spent using these devices showed that children aged 0 to 8 spent an average of 15 minutes a day using mobile devices.
Social IssuesEvangelicals Now, December 2013
A technique which would create three-parent babies was criticised as a eugenic practice and ‘incompatible with human dignity’ by members of the Council of Europe in mid-October. A group of eight British MPs and peers, along with 26 other European politicians, signed a declaration saying that the technique is against international law. In the UK, the government has backed moves to allow scientists to take genetic material from three or four adults to create a child. Politicians have to vote on the technique before it can become law in the UK, with supporters saying the technique would help avoid mitochondrial disease passed on from mother to child.
Social IssuesEvangelicals Now, December 2013
According to research commissioned by the Dying Matters coalition in 2012, more than two-thirds (71%) of the public agree that people in Britain are uncomfortable discussing dying, death and bereavement. No doubt the evasion of the subject has been informed by the increasingly medicalised and distanced nature of death, which is often removed from day-to-day family and community life. Dying Matters also say that nearly 60% of UK deaths now take place in hospital, despite the fact that 70% of people would prefer to die at home.
Social IssuesChristianity, December 2013
Just 12% of adults know the nativity story, and 51% of people say the birth of Jesus is irrelevant to their Christmas. That’s according to, an annual campaign designed to help churches and communities to remember the real meaning of Christmas. Its website has links to posters, leaflets, advent calendars and information to support churches at Christmas.
Social IssuesChristianity, December 2013
More than a quarter of young people in Britain do not trust Muslims, a BBC Radio One Newsbeat survey has discovered. Of the 1000 asked in the poll, 27 per cent said that they didn’t trust Muslims, 16 per cent said that they didn’t trust Hindus or Sikhs, 15 per cent said they didn’t trust Jews and 12 per cent said they didn’t trust Christians.
Social IssuesYouthwork, November 2013
A survey carried out by Populus for the University of Birmingham’s Jubilee Centre for Character and Values has revealed that 87 per cent of parents think that schools have a wider role to play than just producing academic results. Those asked wanted schools to encourage values such as honesty and fairness in pupils.
EducationYouthwork, November 2013
In 2012 YouGov polled 1,825 adults asking whether RE should remain part of the national curriculum. For many, the results were surprising.
The poll showed:
• Over half (53%) of all adults in England and Wales think that RE should remain a compulsory subject in state funded schools.
• 58% think it is beneficial for pupils to study RE.
• The above two percentages rise to 63% in each case among 18-24 year olds.
• 1 in 2 adults think RE provides a valuable space in the school day where young people can learn about all religious and non-religious beliefs.
EducationThe Plain Truth, Autumn-Winter 2013
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