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Research papers in the category Ecology and Environment.
The Westminster Declaration is an attempt to win greater recognition and respect by politicians and society for what its supporters regard as Christian values, and policies in line with these. It has received significant media attention in the run-up to the 2010 UK General Election, and is being used as a rallying point for socially conservative Christians. In this paper, the author offers a carefully considered critique of the Declaration, finding that it is a flawed document overall. Some of the theology which underpins it is highly questionable. Where it is specific on policy issues some of the proposals are impractical or unhelpfully partial, and it may do more harm than good to the church.
Political debates about migration in general and immigration in particular, not least in the 2010 General Election campaign and its aftermath, revolve narrowly around two concepts: 'numbers' and 'control'. In this paper, the author shows why a broader view is essential. Situating UK concerns within an assessment of global challenges, it looks at the causes of human displacement and how to address them, attending also to the consequences of migration - including its significant benefits. Climate change, conflict, economic inequalities, community cohesion, and participation are among the 'drivers' highlighted. Concluding with a positive alternative vision of people movements as a renewing factor in society, this paper includes links to further resources and analysis from Ekklesia, and from a range of other NGOs and expert agencies / institutions.
The 1915-23 Armenian Genocide was indisputably homicidal, despite the continued denials, says an international legal and ecumenical consultant. The historical evidence is overwhelming, but this terrible event is about much more than the past. Beginning with a telling comparison with Poland and Russia, where the remembrance of the long-denied Katyn massacre has finally been acknowledged (in the midst of present tragedy and the struggle to transcend it), Dr Hagopian looks at the way the facts and disputes around the Armenian horror at the beginning of the twentieth century have been handled, as well as the current politics of recognition and non-recognition. Lobbying for international acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide – including that of the US and UK governments – is important, he says. But a positive approach to handling it in the present is also needed. By choosing "living unity over deathly disunity", Armenians can be effective witnesses against official Turkish denial, letting their present define their past and showing that the refusal to forget can be integrated with healing, as well ensuring that the crimes of history are not repeated in the future. This essay does not seek to be cold, dispassionate analysis, but comes from a perspective of acknowledged engagement which still seeks to see the wider picture, to promote justice for all, and to locate facts and feelings within a sphere of humanising concern shaped by faith.
This research and discussion paper, revised and re-issued in 2010, proposes that the figure of St George should be reclaimed according to his true, hidden story.
The earliest traditions of St George present him as a dissenter against the abuse of power, a contrast to religious crusades, a global figure we share with other nations, someone who offered hospitality to the vulnerable, and a champion of right rather than might.
This paper (originally entitled When the Saints Go Marching Out: Redefining St George for a new era) proposes that St George’s Day should be re-conceived and re-launched as a national day to celebrate - among other things - an English contribution to the history of freedom, justice and dissent.
We suggest that this should be based on the witness of people like the abolitionists, the suffragettes and those who have sought to combat racism, nationalism, debt, poverty, colonialism and war with the vision of a nation and world open to all - and a modern Britain / Europe of diverse peoples.
For the churches, we argue, St George can be a post-Christendom saint - one who takes us beyond 'the church of power', to the church of freedom and service. He is a Christian figure, but he does not ‘belong’ to Christians.
This means that, in his 'faithful nonconformity', the figure of St George invites the churches to become better followers of Jesus Christ - by abandoning reliance on a romanticised military past and (in the case of the Church of England) a legacy of Establishment privilege – and seeking a better way of equality, peace and justice.
A March 2010 opinion survey conducted by professional polling organisation ICM Research shows that the population of the UK is equally split over the importance of institutional religion in public life, but three-quarters of the public and 70 per cent of Christians believe it is wrong for bishops to have reserved places in the House of Lords.
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