United Brethren has retired.

Vote! [updated]

I will be announcing my vote over at Headlife soon. Thanks for those who cast their own ballot for the Mother of Parliaments. Clearly Mr. Blair is a popular choice!

So-called "moral-values" are getting little air-time in the British General Election. This is because the religious right in Britain is a fraction of the size of its American counterpart. Nevertheless, the Christian Institute has offered an election briefing for British voters interested in the parties' moral values. Here is a list of things they consider to be important (it should be self-explanatory what position they expect Christians to take; according to them the Conservatives come out on top):

(BTW, Americans will be amazed at the non-separation of Church and State on many issues. Does this make the UK "more moral"? You can make up your own mind. For my own part, I am saddened that their list contains no opinion on what I deem two of the greatest moral issues facing all Christians: social justice and "just war". Nary a word on Iraq. Also, they have a list of how MPs have voted on moral issues. Terry Rooney, the Mormon MP, gets a "D-"! This has more to do with the Labour Party whip, than his own character, I'm sure.)


The present law allows abortion up to the age of 24 weeks, but the law permits abortion up to birth where the child may have ‘a serious handicap’.


Pro-life campaigners believe that the Mental Capacity Act legalises euthanasia by omission (e.g. by withdrawing food and water).

Human cloning

The present law allows human embryos to be cloned for ‘research’ (so-called ‘therapeutic cloning’), but they are not allowed to develop (‘reproductive cloning’) – embryos created must be destroyed when they reach 14 days old.

Fertility treatment

Under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, all clinics have to consider the welfare of the unborn baby, including his or her “need for a father”, before allowing fertility treatment such as IVF.

Parental smacking

The Children Act 2004 restricted the defence of ‘reasonable chastisement’ for parental smacking of children. The Act applies to England and Wales. Under the new law, any smack that causes reddening of the skin that is ‘more than transitory’ could potentially result in a prison sentence.

Gay marriage

Later in 2005 the Civil Partnership Act will come into force. In reality this creates ‘gay marriage’ in all but name, by creating a parallel scheme to marriage called ‘civil partnerships’.


The Adoption and Children Act 2002 legalised joint adoption by cohabiting heterosexual and homosexual couples in England and Wales.


At present there are five ‘grounds’ for divorce throughout the UK. These are adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, two years separation where both parties agree to the divorce and five years separation where one party does not consent.


Currently the law affords married couples benefits and protections which are not available to cohabiting heterosexual couples.

Morning-after pill in schools

In 2002 the Government announced its support for the provision of “full contraception and sexual health services” for schools in England and Wales, as part of its strategy to reduce teenage pregnancies.

State Christian schools

These are very popular with parents and the two main political parties are committed to promoting them.

Religious education

The law in England and Wales requires that the main content of religious education in non-denominational schools must be devoted to the study of Christianity.

Sex education in primary schools

Current Sex and Relationship Education Guidance drawn up by the Government in 2000 recommends (but does not require) that all primary schools should have a sex and relationship education programme

Promoting homosexuality in schools

In 2003 the Government repealed Section 28, which banned the promotion of homosexuality in schools in England and Wales.

Incitement to religious hatred law

Christians are concerned that this law could harm free speech and curb religious liberty.

Incitement to homophobic hatred law

At present there is no legal offence of inciting hatred on the basis of a person’s ‘sexual orientation’.

Employment laws

In 2003 the Government introduced special employment rights for homosexuals. These represent a serious threat to religious liberty.

Religious broadcasting

There are severe restrictions on religious broadcasting in the UK.

Equality Bill

Christians fear it could target organizations which hold to orthodox, traditional Christian belief on homosexuality.

Blasphemy laws

The laws of blasphemy and blasphemous libel still stand in common law in England and Wales.


There is a concerted campaign underway to dismantle the whole of our drugs legislation. Those in favour of the legalisation of drugs are continually campaigning for drugs to be reclassified downward, as happened with cannabis.

Public health

‘Harm reduction’ approaches have been advocated with the justification that telling people not to do something will not stop them doing it, therefore it’s better to allow them to do it and ensure they do it safely.


In 2005 the Government passed the new Gambling Act. The Act sweeps away layers of sensible restrictions which, for years, have controlled the worst excesses of casinos, betting shops and slot machines.


In 2004 the Government published a consultation paper on prostitution. The Government stated many of the laws relating to prostitution are “outdated, confusing and ineffective”.

Sunday trading

Sunday trading was legalised in 1994, when the Sunday Trading Act allowed six hours of unregulated trading every Sunday.

The Constitution

The constitutional settlement in Britain provides that Britain is not a secular state. The [Protestant Reformed] Christian nature of the constitution is evident not only in the monarch’s coronation oath, but also in the establishment of the Church of England and the bar on the monarch marrying a Roman Catholic.

House of Lords

In recent years it has been the House of Lords, not the Commons, which has been a more effective protection for religious liberties and a firmer defender of family values. Many Christians will be concerned at any curtailment of the role of the House of Lords.

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