Displaying items by tag: Culture
Freedom has brought good progress in Lithuania. Doors for the gospel remain open. However, freedom has also brought dangers like greed for material goods, selfish pleasure-seeking, and a belief that traditional morals have no value. Substance abuse, suicide, and trafficking of women for prostitution all damage the social foundations. Spiritual transformation must accompany economic growth. Lithuania was the last European nation to be Christianised.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) regulates UK fertility treatment and embryology research. They want laws regulating fertility treatment and research to have less strict inspections and be inspected less regularly. Given the ethical controversies surrounding fertility treatment and embryo experimentation, Christian Concern believes regular inspections should continue and not simply be based on an opinion about current risks. HFEA also wants to store embryos in a research bank so that they can be allocated to research projects when needed. But Christian Concern believes life is sacred from conception and should not be treated as a disposable commodity. The proposed clause opens a way to create embryos for eventual destruction without valuing human life. These are not pieces of biological matter, they are human beings made in the image of God. As Christians, we are called to care for the most vulnerable, those overlooked or manipulated by others.
Many are made homeless from ‘no-fault’ evictions when their landlord decides to sell. The Government promised to ban these types of evictions in 2019 but has not done so yet. Evicted families are placed in temporary accommodation. On 31 March almost 105,000 households, with over 131,000 children, were in such accommodation (hotels or bed and breakfast). This latest figure is the highest since records began. Sitting outside a hotel in Plymouth earlier this month, the BBC found several homeless families keeping each other company. When people are in temporary accommodation, there is nowhere for them to move to. The root of the problem is lack of housing, exacerbated because local housing allowance rates have been frozen for the past three years. Amid soaring rents, that choice has left much of the country unaffordable for any household needing housing benefit to help pay their rent.
‘I have been a doctor for forty years working in a broken system. Endless demands with inadequate resources have been costly. But will striking work? Does Jesus want me to strike? I’m conflicted. Philippians says, ‘Don’t look out only for your own interests, take an interest in others, too with the same attitude of Christ.’ If I strike someone else will cover. They’ll be taken from routine work, making the queue of suffering grow. Nevertheless, when all is said and done, the NHS is not playing fair; they expect everything and erode my salary by stealth. The BMA says a strike in August will show the government we mean business. Colossians says I should think I work for you Lord, not them. Do I really have to trust you to meet my needs? Or must I agree with BMA’s next strike over pay and conditions?’
Even though several MPs were suspended recently for bad behaviour, a ‘predatory culture’ still exists around the House of Commons, as reports of inappropriate flirting and sexual misconduct continue. Six staff members say abuses of power by male MPs and senior staffers remain common, and the new complaints process is too slow. One woman was continually asked to sit on a male MP's knee, and another person was bombarded with text messages. A parliamentary aide said everyone who works in Parliament either has their own story of sexual misconduct or knows someone with one. She said the problem transcends party politics. A House of Commons spokesman said it took complaints seriously, and bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct had no place in Parliament, adding, ‘We remain committed to ensuring that lasting cultural change can be achieved here’.
On 27 April the Government unveiled its long-awaited white paper on gambling. The announcement of what it actually contains has been delayed at least four times since the review of gambling laws was first announced in 2020. Since then, there have been regular reports of individual cases of problem gamblers - but the government's solution has been crafted by three different culture secretaries without seeing the light of day. Current culture secretary Lucy Frazer says the rise of smartphones means ‘now there's a Las Vegas on every phone’ and believes she has a proposal which is suitable for the digital age. She said, ‘When gambling becomes an addiction, it wrecks lives. Gambling has always been measured in terms of money lost, but you cannot put a cost on the loss of dignity, loss of identity, and in some cases, loss of life that it can cause.’ Young gamblers could face a £2 slot machine limit: see
Former DUP leader Arlene Foster has expressed ‘sadness’ that the Girl Guides organisation is to omit reference to God in campfire songs enjoyed by generations of girls. Girl Guides said the tradition of singing songs could have ‘references that have been hurtful to people’ and suggested groups could make changes ‘so everyone can join in’. The original version of Brownie Bells stated ‘Oh Lord, our God; Thy children call; Grant us thy peace; And bless us all; Goodnight.’ The altered version reads ‘Time for the end; our meeting’s past; Brownies is great; time flies so fast; Goodnight.’ A Christian Institute member said, ‘The Girl Guides and Scouts should remember that their founders, Robert Baden-Powell and his sister Agnes, were motivated by their faith. Erasing our traditions does not promote inclusion or diversity. Quite the opposite. I hope they reconsider this decision.’
It was International Women's Day this week to draw attention to how slavery disproportionately affects women and girls and is a huge violation of human rights. One of the many missions working to establish a world where women can know their full potential is the Nomi Network. They categorize modern slavery as bonded labour, domestic servitude, commercial sexual exploitation, and child labour. Poverty and economic marginalisation make women and girls vulnerable to exploitation. Nomi Network creates pathways to safe employment and economic stability, empowering women and girls to break cycles of slavery in their families and communities by:- Training women in life skills and technical skills. Connecting women to jobs with private sector employers and promoting fair labour standards. Creating transparent supply chains with responsible sourcing with ethically-made products. Raising public awareness of human trafficking. The organisation is named after Nomi, an 8-year-old Cambodian who was trafficked by her stepfather and suffered unthinkable abuse. Nomi Network provides a future for thousands of other women and girls like her.
A study of 315 staff working for MPs found that 42% met the clinical definition of experiencing psychological distress, three times higher than in the general population. They face similar levels of psychological distress as frontline NHS workers, amid a ‘toxic’ workload and fears for their safety. MPs’ caseworkers said there was a ‘worrying upturn’ in the number of actively suicidal people seeking help in the past year. Two-thirds described their work as emotionally draining and one in ten said it was ‘harrowing’. It was not unusual for them to open horrifying mail detailing child abuse or containing pictures of maimed or dead children.
Persecution remains present in all South Asian countries, although location, social context and time frame all affect the intensity. In India and Nepal Christians are persecuted mostly by Hindus; in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the Maldives by Muslims; and in Sri Lanka by Buddhists. Some of this is a response of resentment and fear of church growth. But some persecution results from lack of sensitivity and wisdom by Christians ministering into these situations. Pray that evangelists, church planters and missionaries might share the gospel with love and boldness, but also with humility and wisdom. The Church in South Korea is a large and influential minority, an integral part of society. North Korea has an underground movement hunted down and reviled by the autocratic regime. But we can praise God for the recent growth of the Church in Asia through national workers, local evangelists and ordinary believers. These churches are Asian in structure, style and leadership. See also