U.K. Evangelicals Emphasize Family Values Over Social 'Respect'

Evangelicals in the U.K. have called on the Government to focus on issues around values, family structure, and family breakdown.

After a considerable amount of funding was earmarked by British Prime Minister Tony Blair for his new social respect campaign, Evangelicals in the U.K. called on the Government to focus on issues around values, family structure, and family breakdown.

According to a Sept. 5 report by the U.K.-based newspaper, Independent UK, Tony Blair intended to allocate 30 million pounds from each of the budgets of three front-line departments - the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the Department for Education and Skills, and the Home Office- to create a special inter-departmental "Respect" unit.

The "Respect" unit, headed by the newly appointed "Respect coordinator" Louise Casey, aims to tackle anti-social behaviors among British youths such as binge drinking and vandalism. The ultimate goal of building respect in communities is to be achieved through education.

The Evangelical Alliance UK (EAUK) acknowledged Blair’s effort to restore "respect," and urged the government to look into the roots of youth problems and to strengthen the collaboration with local agencies that are working more directly with young people.

Rev Joel Edwards, general director of the EAUK, said in a Sept. 6 statement, "It is all very well to talk about respect, but if the Government is serious about tackling the causes, rather than merely the incidence of anti-social behavior, and really wants to restore attitudes of respectfulness in society, it must do more to support agencies and groups who are seeking to mentor and instill values in young people."

"It is so important that young people are given the chance to develop a moral compass, because without it they are not going to respect others," he added.

Well-documented research from the leading Christian social concern charity, CARE, suggested that anti-social behaviors and the focus of the Government’s "respect" campaign can be clearly linked to both family breakdown and the growing phenomenon of "fatherlessness".

Therefore, rather than issuing laws as an immediate way to reduce misbehaviors, the government should highly promote marriage and prevent family breakdown, so that the young generation can be protected under the education from their family and be able to act responsibly with discipline, according to EAUK and many other Christian charities.

Paul Bickley, senior policy officer at CARE, warned the government to spend its budget effectively.

"While sticking a 90 million pounds plaster on the weeping sore of anti-social behavior, the government is failing to take proper account of the relationship structures that benefit children the most - stable families based on married parents,” he said. “The state could more appropriately spend time and money in promoting and sustaining the marriage relationship."

Rev Edward of EAUK added that many Christian youth projects in the communities are actually under-funded and under-resourced, so even a small proportion of the 90 million pounds will help a great deal.

Restoring "respect" in the society has been highlighted by Prime Minister Tony Blair since he has won his new term in the General Election in May. During his first monthly press conference with his new cabinet after the election, Blair sternly declared a "war" against the rising trend of anti-social behavior in Britain, which is especially serious among the young generation.