Rowan Williams expresses his opinion on abortion today in the Sunday Times: People are starting to realise we can’t go on as we are and a related news story is Williams calls for abortion review.
There is also a BBC report about this Williams urges debate on abortion. The original article begins:
For a large majority of Christians — not only Roman Catholics, and including this writer — it is impossible to regard abortion as anything other than the deliberate termination of a human life. Whatever other issues enter into the often anguished decisions concerning particular cases, they want this dimension to be taken seriously.
Equally, though, for a large majority of Christians this is a view which they know they have to persuade others about, and recognise is not taken for granted in our society. The idea that raising the issues here is the first step towards a theocratic tyranny or a capitulation to some neanderthal Christian right is alarmist nonsense.
One of the confusions that has arisen in the past week is the idea that we are somehow going to be swept up into a British rerun of the US election of 2004, with a moral conservative panic dictating votes. It’s far from clear that this is what happened in America; and even if it were, we are a long way from any comparable situation here…
Last Friday in the Guardian Giles Fraser and William Whyte wrote Don’t hand religion to the right.
For decades, the political class on this side of the Atlantic has prided itself on the absence of religious culture wars. The obsession with abortion, gay marriage and obscenity, the alliance between the secular and religious right – these are peculiarly American pathologies. It couldn’t happen here. After all, we’re just not religious enough.
Except it does seem to be happening here. In making abortion an election issue, Michael Howard has prompted the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, pointedly to warn against assuming “that Catholics would be more in support of the Labour party”. Elsewhere, the Christian right targets the BBC, and the Church of England is being colonised by homophobic evangelicals with broad smiles and loads of PR savvy. No wonder the cogs are whirring at Conservative central office on how best to exploit the voting power of religion…
The Observer today has a Focus: The religious right feature which includes this article by Jamie Doward and Gaby Hinsliff Who would Jesus vote for? with the strapline:
As abortion and religious censorship move up the pre-election agenda, evangelical pressure groups are seizing the chance to exercise increasing influence over mainstream British politics
Related news story Blair seeks the Christian vote
And yesterday the Independent carried a report about Tony Blair, Blair: ‘Within my milieu, being gay was not a problem’ and an accompanying news story First the grey vote, now the gay vote which includes this:
The Prime Minister insists there is no conflict between his religious views and his pro-gay stance. Urging the Church of England to resolve its differences over homosexual bishops, he says many people in the Church share his view that the fundamental Christian principle is one of equality. “But there are those that passionately disagree,” he says.