Senior bishop criticises increasing rates of abortion, promiscuity and divorce in Diamond Jubilee address
The Bishop of London has criticised the increasing trend towards abortion, divorce and promiscuity in Britain, stating that the Queen’s Jubilee should be used as an opportunity to restore lost values.
In a pamphlet published by the Bible Society, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres raises concerns that divorce and separation had reached “epidemic proportions”, with an increasing number of children being raised in broken families and “hundreds of thousands” more being aborted every year.
The pamphlet, entitled Jubilee then and now: A big idea for the 21st century, is currently being distributed to MPs and calls on Britain to use the Queen’s Jubilee as a chance to reassess moral values and “rebalance the scales” for future generations.
Dr Chartres states: “Britain is indeed a better place today materially than ever before, but that material progress has been at the expense of our relationships with one another, our communal life. Within families, within communities, within society as a whole, our relationships are more strained, more fragile, more broken than we care to recognise.
“As we celebrate the Jubilee of our justly popular monarch, we have an opportunity to ask some wider questions in the spirit of Jubilee, to pause, look back and ask where we are as a nation, and where we are going.
“Promiscuity, separation and divorce have reached epidemic proportions in our society. Perhaps, then, we shouldn’t be surprised that depression and the prescription of anti-depressants has reached a similarly epidemic level.
“Literally millions of children grow up without knowing a stable, loving, secure family life - and that is not to count the hundreds of thousands more who don’t even make it out of the womb each year.
“We need a fresh narrative that appreciates the real virtues communicated by our history but which transcends our recent past.
New figures released by the Department of Health last week (29 May) reveal that abortion rates in England and Wales continued to increase in 2011, with 189,931 terminations taking place that year, 0.2% more than in 2010 (189,574) and 7.7% more than in 2001 (176,364).
According to figures published by the Office for National Statistics, divorce rates in England and Wales increased by 5 per cent from 2009 to 2010 (the latest year for which figures are available) with the number of cohabiting couples increasing from a million in 2001 to 2.9 million in 2010.
Approximately 3.8 million children are caught up in the family justice system every year, with one in three cohabiting parents now splitting before their child’s fifth birthday.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern welcomed the comments made by Dr Chartres, stating:
“As the UK has chosen secular humanism, including widespread sexual license, over Christian faith and morality, society has suffered greatly in a number of ways. It is time for public policy to take into account the high cost of the so-called “sexual revolution”. This includes Britain’s spiralling rates of abortion, a procedure which is now being increasingly used by women as a means of contraception.
“A growing body of research shows that a healthy society is based on stable life-long marriages, and that children prosper best when they have a father and a mother in a committed relationship.
“The huge social problems resulting from the failure of successive governments to promote marriage and discourage sexual activity out-of-wedlock are becoming clearer than ever. It is high time for a change. The Government needs to encourage marriage as an urgent priority.”