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Research papers in the category Religion and Society.
Accord, whose founding members include Ekklesia, supports the Equality Bill currently going through the parliamentary process, but has concerns about some of its provisions as they impact (or fail to impact) on faith schools. This briefing concerns issues and amendments for the House of Lords Committee Stage of the Bill, which begins on 11 January 2010, with four subsequent days tabled before the end of the month. http://www.accordcoalition.org.uk/
This short paper by Ekklesia researcher Lizzie Cifford looks into the background and history of BBC Radio 4's 'Thought for the Day' (TftD) slot, as a precursor to a wider analysis of 'Thought for the Day' scripts which Ekklesia is currently engaged in. TftD has become a topic of public and media debate of late concerning the proposal that non-religious as well as religious voices should be heard on it. The paper seeks to reflect the range of viewpoints on TftD, as well as providing information about its development and presentation. It traces how the origins of TftD came in a context of BBC religious broadcasting which was originally viewed as ‘evangelistic and missionary’ and now has to adapt to a mixed-belief society, including humanists, atheists and those who see themselves as 'spiritual but not religious'. The paper describes how attempts at re-branding from the mid 1960s have been opposed by some in the Anglican Church and elsewhere as part of a concern about the withdrawal of the BBC from its position as a central broadcaster in what was seen as a ‘Christian country’. It also highlights how a number of other radio stations, in particular regional programmes, have output which is similar to TftD, but successfully include contributions from the non-religious, as well as ‘minority’ religions, raising further questions about why TftD itself has not followed suit. However, the aim of this paper is description rather than advocacy. Further research on the content of TftD will be published in the new year.
What are the opportunities and constraints involved in highlighting non-violent interventions in situations of conflict for the general media? Civil society organizations, academic institutions, faith groups and peace workers are regularly involved in conflict transformation work, and in direct interventions to challenge violence and injustice. While the role of the military is regularly profiled and even celebrated, the contribution of those who act without weapons or contracts is usually overlooked. In part, this is because the nature of peace work is often sensitive and requires a degree of ‘under the radar’ operation. But it also happens because of lack of wider understanding and knowledge of non-violent interventions, and because such interventions do not fit the dominant ‘news narrative’ around conflict. This becomes particularly evident in times of crisis. Here we present a short case study of working with the wider media response to the 2005-6 ‘Iraq hostage crisis’ (as it became known), involving four members of a short-term Christian Peacemaker Teams delegation in Baghdad.
This document has been produced by the Accord Coalition, of which Ekklesia is a founder member, to help researchers, journalists, campaigners and members of the public to find information about some of the policy implications of state funded faith schools and their practices. The aim is to bring together and summarise high quality research from reliable sources, pointing in particular to the shortcomings of faith schools and where changes need to made, particularly in the area of admissions and employment. With the exception of the 2009 poll commissioned by Accord from YouGov—itself a respected member of the British Polling Council—all evidence in the report is from sources independent of Accord and its members. Some sources cited however are religious, such as agency Tearfund, and other institutions that work with churches such as the Runnymede Trust. The evidence is also recent - all of it dates from 2001 or later and the majority was produced in the last two years. Research and opinion polls have been organised in reverse chronological order below, followed by relevant parliamentary questions and statistics from the DCSF.
Topics covered include:
• The impact of religious admissions on social segregation (sometimes called “cream skimming” or social selection)
• Faith schools and school standards / attainment
• Faith schools and community cohesion
• The number of new faith schools
• Faith schools and homophobia
• Faith schools and recruitment
• The number of schools of different types, and their denominations
Although the scope of evidence surveyed here is wide and cannot easily be summarised, it repeatedly gives cause for concern about the way that many faith schools operate, and the consequences of this for wider society. The polls and surveys in the report demonstrate that many members of the public have similar concerns as Accord, which is convinced that only legislative change will bring about an education system free from religious discrimination.
Rowan Williams has recently proposed major changes in the way the Anglican Communion is organised. Because of growing willingness in the Episcopal Church (TEC) to recognise the status and ministry of lesbian and gay people, and the global disagreement on this issue, he is putting forward a “two-track” approach. Provinces such as TEC in North America would not be able to carry out certain functions such as representing the Anglican Communion in ecumenical circles, while those which signed up to a Covenant would have a more central position. This research paper describes the background, examines the evidence on which the Archbishop’s main points are based, discusses their implications, and corrects some mistaken assumptions about history and practice. Inter alia it tackles a number of key theological issues. It suggests that a two-level Communion would be practically and spiritually harmful and suggests a different approach, less focused on institutional structures, that could be more effective in addressing divisions and ultimately enabling Anglicans to move towards a deeper unity.
Fear or Freedom?: Why a Warring Church Must Change by Simon Barrow (Ed)
The Subversive Manifesto: Lifting the Lid on God's Political Agenda by Jonathan Bartley
Faith and Politics After Christendom: The Church as a Movement for Anarchy by Jonathan Bartley
Consuming Passion: Why the Killing of Jesus Really Matters by Simon Barrow and Jonathan Bartley (Eds)
Threatened with Resurrection: The Difficult Peace of Christ by Simon Barrow