Personal Values and Other News

 

Personal values

Religion is not regarded as a particularly important value either in the UK or in the European Union (EU) generally, according to newly-released data from Special Eurobarometer 415, which was undertaken in March 2014 as wave 81.2 of Eurobarometer among representative samples of adults aged 15 and over in each of the 28 member states of the EU. UK fieldwork was conducted by TNS UK on 15-24 March 2014 with 1,296 respondents.

Interviewees were presented with a list of twelve values and asked to select a maximum of three which were most important to them personally. Only 7% in the UK picked religion (the same figures as a year previously), which relegated it to eleventh position, just ahead of solidarity (a concept which very few related to in the UK compared with other European countries – otherwise, religion might have come bottom of the list). As in the EU as a whole, the top three UK values were respect for human life, human rights, and peace. The highest priority to religion was accorded in Cyprus (21%), Malta (17%), Greece (15%), and Romania (12%). Summary data are tabulated below, with the full topline statistics available on pp. T60-61 of the report at:

http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_415_data_en.pdf

%

UK

EU

Respect for human life

44

40

Human rights

35

43

Peace

35

41

Equality

33

20

Rule of law

27

18

Individual freedom

24

23

Democracy

22

26

Respect for other cultures

18

9

Tolerance

16

14

Self-fulfilment

8

9

Religion

7

5

Solidarity

5

15

Church membership

There were 5,436,500 church members in the UK in 2013, 4.5% fewer in absolute terms than in 2008 (with an even bigger fall relative to the rising population), according to Dr Peter Brierley writing in the June 2014 issue of FutureFirst, the bimonthly bulletin of Brierley Consultancy. The 2013 figures derive from a form sent to each of the UK’s almost 300 denominations augmented by estimates in the case of non-response or missing data. The overall rate of decline appears to have lessened from the preceding period, and this is attributed to two principal factors: the establishment of new black and other immigrant churches, and Fresh Expressions of church.

However, the absolute decrease in members between 2008 and 2013 was unevenly distributed across the four home nations, reaching 8.4% in Wales, 11.7% in Northern Ireland, and 17.3% in Scotland (the contraction being especially concentrated in, respectively, the Union of Welsh Independents, Roman Catholic Church, and Church of Scotland). England actually registered a small increase (0.4%) over the five years, thanks to growth among the New Churches, Orthodox Churches, and Pentecostal Churches. A full analysis of the data will appear in the forthcoming second edition of Brierley’s UK Church Statistics.

Same-sex marriage

Prime Minister David Cameron may have recently extolled the virtues of Britain as a Christian country, but, in a poll chiefly about same-sex marriage, 34% of its citizens think he has actually undermined Christianity in the nation, the figure rising to 41% of over-65s and 60% of UKIP voters. Dissentients to the proposition number 42%, including 62% of Conservatives, with 25% don’t knows.

Likewise, a plurality of 45% disagrees that Cameron has improved religious freedom in the UK, with 63% for UKIP supporters. Only 19% consider that he has enhanced religious liberty (among them 37% of Conservatives and 30% of Liberal Democrats), a substantial 35% being undecided.

Notwithstanding the multiple locks (to protect religious sensibilities) built into the English and Welsh legislation for same-sex marriage, 44% feel it inevitable that the Church of England will be forced to conduct such unions (the Welsh being especially pessimistic, on 58%), 30% disagreeing and 26% uncertain.

The findings come from a survey commissioned by the Christian Institute from ComRes, and for which 2,056 adult Britons were interviewed online between 9 and 11 May 2014. Full data tables were published on 19 May at:

http://www.comres.co.uk/polls/CI_SSM_Poll_May_2014.pdf

YouGov miscellany

YouGov’s final European election polling for The Times on 20-21 May 2014, employing an especially large sample of 6,124 adults, included several questions on miscellaneous topics, a couple of which are relevant to BRIN.

The first asked respondents to reflect on various changes in Britain in recent times and to say whether, on balance, each had been good or bad for the country. On the list was allowing supermarkets and other big shops to open on Sundays. This legislative change was approved by 63%, with 17% neutral and 16% opposed. Support was greater among the under-40s than over-40s, the figure for women over 40 falling to 55%.

The second question of interest to BRIN posed the statement: ‘Even in its more moderate forms, Islam is a serious danger to western civilisation’. A plurality of 47% agreed, rising to 75% of UKIP voters. Endorsement was much greater among the over-40s than under-40s (22% more in the case of men and 23% for women). Disagreement to the proposition ran at 28%, peaking at 46% of Liberal Democrats and 58% of Greens, with 18% undecided. Data tables are at:

http://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/n966r6px4w/Full_EU_Poll_Final_CUKIP.pdf

Armed forces

FOI releases published by the Ministry of Defence on 28 and 29 May 2014 provide details of the religious affiliation of regular members of the UK armed forces as at 1 October 2013, thereby updating the statistics for 1 April 2013 which were noted in our post of 3 October 2013.

The newly-released data may be summarized (aggregating all non-Christian religions) thus:

 

Army

Navy

RAF

Total

%

Church of England

47,950

15,820

18,380

82,150

49.3

Roman Catholic

11,600

3,790

3,800

19,190

11.5

Other Christian

21,070

5,680

5,310

32,060

19.3

Non-Christian

2,470

290

310

3,070

1.8

No religion

13,770

7,860

6,800

28,430

17.1

Undeclared

170

80

1,320

1,570

0.9

Total

97,030

33,520

35,920

166,470

99.9

The breakdown of the 3,070 non-Christians was as follows: 870 Hindus, 650 Muslims, 550 Buddhists, 160 Sikhs, 120 Pagans, 120 Rastafarians, 70 Jews, 40 Spiritualists, 30 Kiratis, 20 Wiccas, 10 Baha’is, and 430 other religions. The two FOI releases are at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/315082/PUBLIC_1391420325.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/315106/PUBLIC_1391430963.pdf

Women bishops

The Church of England’s internal strife over female bishops may be coming to an end, according to the final tabulation (published on 23 May 2014) of voting in diocesan synods on the current draft legislation to permit women to be appointed to the episcopate. In aggregate, the bishops were 94.9% in favour, clergy representatives 87.7%, and lay representatives 88.6%. Apart from Europe (which could not arrange a vote in time), every diocese voted in favour, including London and Chichester (which had rejected the then proposal for women bishops in 2011), albeit 31.4% of the members of the Chichester synod still remain opposed (among them the Bishop of Chichester). The legislation will now go to the Church’s General Synod in July for final approval. The full diocesan record of voting is at:

http://www.churchofengland.org/media/1995951/pr%2064.14%20diocese%20vote%20table.jpg

Anglican school chaplaincy

The extent and nature of chaplaincy in Anglican secondary schools was revealed in a report published on 25 May 2014 by the Church of England Archbishops’ Council Education Division and the National Society. The underlying research was conducted by Michael Camp in the spring and summer terms of 2013, on the basis of an online survey of 198 schools, of which 72 replied, with 27 follow-up visits or structured telephone interviews. The Public Face of God: Chaplaincy in Anglican Secondary Schools and Academies in England and Wales is available at: 

http://www.churchofengland.org/media/1989177/nschaplaincyreport.pdf

Four-fifths (58) of the responding secondary schools were found to have a designated chaplain (or chaplaincy team). A majority of individual chaplains (34) were ordained, 22 were lay, and one was a religious. A plurality (26) were full-time appointments, 23 part-time employees, and eight were volunteers. Employed chaplains were more likely to be on support staff rather than teaching staff contracts.

Events

A reminder that the Church of England’s annual Faith in Research Conference is taking place this coming Wednesday (4 June 2014) at the Novotel, 70 Broad Street, Birmingham, with the Bishop of Manchester in the chair. The programme of keynote and breakout sessions can be found at:

http://www.churchofengland.org/media/1957190/session%20and%20speakers.pdf

Meanwhile, BRIN readers who live within reach of North-East England may be interested to attend a forthcoming public lecture by Dr Peter Brierley on ‘Church Statistics: the Latest Picture’. This will be given at 5 pm on Monday, 23 June 2014 at Etchells House, Cranmer Hall, 16 South Bailey, Durham. The lecture has been arranged by the Centre for Church Growth Research at St Johns College, Durham University, where Peter is a Visiting Fellow. Anybody intending to attend the lecture is kindly requested to email in advance to: d.j.goodhew@durham.ac.uk.

 

 


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