The recent disturbances in England show that fundamental issues concerning the legitimation of government, social justice, and societal stability need to be addressed ever more urgently, says Professor Richard Roberts. He argues that scholars of religion should not simply remain reluctant but paid tools of an industrialised system of defective socialisation that initiates students into informed passivity, but rather the source of a truly critical discourse that broadens the imagination and enhances personal agency.
I returned last Friday from a week more or less out of reach of TV, radio and electronic communications to what feels like another country: A country convulsed by anger, outrage and anguish. A country in which the ‘old certainties’ of even ten days ago, now seem past their sell by date.
If we can take anything positive from the days of destruction and division in England recently, says Chris Bain, perhaps it should be a dedication to tackle fear and exclusion wherever it exists around the world, and to stand by the women and children in the poorest countries who currently stand afraid on their own.
On 14 August 2011, in church, we celebrated Mary, mother of Jesus. She first appears in the Gospels as a brave, dynamic teenager, hopeful of a better future for the oppressed through One she trusts – and willing to put her reputation and even life on the line for this.
Riots and looting have left large parts of Tottenham wrecked. The homes and possessions of some in this already disadvantaged area have gone up in smoke, and others may lose their livelihoods. As has now been extensively reported, other parts of London, and cities elsewhere in England, have also been hit.