Methodists make careful response to Queen's speech

By staff writers
November 7, 2007

As the political debate around the Queen's speech continues, the Methodist Church in Britain has made a careful response to a range of issues - including climate change, social policy, human rights and bioethics.

Anthea Cox, the Church's Coordinating Secretary for Public Life and Social Justice, declared yesterday that the government says it wants "to make education, housing and health care the centre of its work over the new Parliamentary session. Methodists care passionately about these issues and welcome the opportunity for debate."

She added that the Methodist Church, along with other environmental, development and lifestyle groups, are welcoming the introduction of the Climate Change Bill.

Ms Cox commented: "Earlier this year we responded to this bill in its draft form. As a nation the UK must achieve real year-on-year cuts in carbon emissions. The urgency for action is underlined by a report published by the UN today stating that carbon emissions from industrialized countries are at a record high."

She continued: "We argue that long-term targets should be revised in the light of the findings published this year by the International Panel on Climate Change. In addition we must not use the purchasing of carbon credits overseas to buy out our own responsibility at home."

Ms Cox noted that "the Human Tissues and Embryos Bill will prompt further debate on abortion and the ethical and moral issues around early human life."

The Methodist Church has not taken a dogmatic stance on this, but has noted the complexity of the issues and is urging people "to seek to listen, learn and speak with great care on this sensitive issue."

On another hot topic, the Church is urging attention to freedom and human rights in the face of internal and external threats.

Ms Cox explained: "We take a keen interest in the proposals to combat terrorism. The Methodist Church previously opposed extending the time for which people can be held before trial to 90 days but we recognise the need to consider how a balance can be achieved between providing adequate powers to address terrorism and ensuring the right to liberty and justice for all."

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