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Research papers in the category Religion and Society.
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.
This is a preliminary paper introducing the idea of Spiritual Capital, as part of Ekklesia's putative Spiritual Capital Project. The project would seek critically to evaluate and explore ideas of, the evidence base for, and the theological implications of 'Spiritual Capital'. Spiritual Capital is a term that refers to the positive benefits of spiritual, psychological and moral development to individuals, organisations and communities/societies. It seeks to measure these benefits in an objective manner, in a similar way to the way in which Social Capital claims to measure the socio-economic benefits of strong communities.
The recent elections in Iran have thrown up a host of vital questions about fraud, human rights, people power, opposition to theocracy, international solidarity, the role of the United States, and more. In this Q and A, reproduced on Ekklesia with the agreement of the US-based Campaign for Peace and Democracy, these questions are explored from the perspective of understanding and responding to the situation in Iran - and in particular support for the large number of Iranians seeking self-determination and justice rather than repression and dictatorship.
Since 2002, Ekklesia has been arguing that a key element of political and democratic renewal in Britain hinges on the encouragement of independent, citizen-based and associational politics as a counter-weight to the hegemony of top-down party elites, and as a challenge to a parliamentary and voting system badly in need of reform. This paper examines these ideas in theory and in practice. It offers Q&A responses to the criticisms that have been made about non-party candidates and 'alternative politics' in the context of the scandal over MPs' expenses and calls for change. The paper situates 'the rise of independents' in a wider context of 'politics as the people's work'. Finally it offers fresh perspectives on the relation of religion to politics and the creative role the churches can play in renewing democracy - after the 'power games' of Christendom. It includes substantial references and resources.
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