Mid-Year Round-Up

 

Immigration and the religious landscape

Were it not for immigration, the speed of secularization in England and Wales might have been even faster. That is one gloss that could be put on a report from the Office for National Statistics on 18 June 2015: 2011 Census Analysis: Ethnicity and Religion of the Non-UK Born Population in England and Wales. For the proportion of UK-born residents professing no religion in 2011 was, at 27%, almost double the figure among the non-UK-born (14%). However, the situation appears to be changing and, for those arriving in the UK between 2007 and 2011, it was 17%. Also, although there were 3,567,000 foreign-born Christians in England and Wales in 2011, they still accounted for a minority of all immigrants, so their numbers alone could not offset the largely intergenerational process of disaffiliation from Christianity which is at work among the native-born. Some media coverage of the report, as in the Daily Telegraph for 19 June 2015, p. 6 (‘migrants are mainstay of Christian faith’), is therefore rather misleading. In relative terms, Sikh immigration has fallen continuously since 1981, and even Muslim immigration has tailed off somewhat since the Millennium, albeit non-UK-born Muslims still outnumber the UK-born. Summary data are tabulated below. Fuller information can be found in 2011 Census Tables DC2207EW (country of birth by religion by sex) and CT02652011 (country of birth by year of arrival by religion) which can be accessed via the links embedded in the report at:  

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171776_407038.pdf

% down

UK-born

Non-UK-born: total

Non-UK-born: 2007-11 arrivals

No religion

26.9

13.8

16.9

Christian

61.1

47.5

47.5

Buddhist

0.2

2.0

2.8

Hindu

0.6

7.3

7.2

Jewish

0.4

0.7

0.6

Muslim

2.6

19.0

16.3

Sikh

0.5

2.4

1.2

Other religion

0.4

0.6

0.4

Not stated

7.3

6.7

7.1

Predicting the demise of British Christianity

Writing in The Spectator on 13 June 2015, and projecting forward on the basis of evidence from the census of population and sample surveys, Damian Thompson suggested that 2067 will be the year in which the profession of Christianity will finally disappear from the British Isles, with Anglicanism set to vanish in 2033. See:  

http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/9555222/2067-the-end-of-british-christianity/

Ramadan (1): knowledge of

We are mid-way through the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which, in terms of fasting, began on 18 June 2015. To mark the event, and the launch of the broadcaster’s ‘My Ramadan’ mini-season, BBC Religion and Ethics commissioned an opinion poll from TNS among a sample of 2,036 Britons aged 16 and over. It revealed that, although the majority of the public agrees that cultural diversity is a positive thing, only 52% claim to have a clear understanding of what Ramadan is about, falling to 43% among over-65s. A plurality believes that it is just devout Muslims who do not eat or drink anything during the daylight hours of Ramadan. No data tables for the survey are in the public domain, but the BBC press release of 18 June can be read at:  

http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2015/my-ramadan

Ramadan (2): retail value of

‘Ramadan spurs increase in grocery sales’, Retail Week reported on 23 June 2015. UK’s largest supermarkets have seen a rise in sales because of the holy month of Ramadan, with the Islamic festival becoming the most important retail event after Christmas and Easter. The Big Four [supermarkets] are expecting sales to increase by about £100m over the next month as the UK’s three million Muslims embark on fasting.’ 

Combating Islamic State

Two-thirds of 999 Britons interviewed by telephone on behalf of the Pew Global Attitudes Project on 8-28 April 2015 approved of the US-led military action being taken against Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria, with one-fifth opposed and 15% undecided. The level of support was lower than in several other Western countries such as France (81%), US (80%), Australia (77%), Italy (70%), and Spain (67%) and in Middle Eastern nations such as Israel (84%), Lebanon (78%), and Jordan (77%). However, approval of US President Barack Obama’s handling of IS was higher in Britain (43%) than the US (40%), with disapproval at 37% and 54% respectively. For the Pew topline report, released on 23 June 2015, see: 

http://www.pewglobal.org/files/2015/06/Balance-of-Power-Report-FINAL-June-23-20151.pdf

Anti-Semitism

The UK’s Jewish population is far more fearful of Islamist extremists (61%) than it is of neo-Nazis (16%), according to a new Survation poll for the Jewish Chronicle, conducted predominantly by telephone among 1,023 members of a pre-recruited adult Jewish panel between 17 and 23 June 2015. The remainder fear neither or are undecided. A majority of Jews (72%) is opposed to anti-Semitic groups being allowed to stage peaceful demonstrations in Jewish areas, with only 22% in favour, while 62% support Jews holding counter-demonstrations to anti-Semitic rallies (with 29% against). Data tables, disaggregated by gender, age, and region, are available at: 

http://survation.com/?attachment_id=8032

The context of the survey is an imminent planned protest by far-right activists in Golders Green, London against the alleged ‘Jewification’ of the area. However, the Jewish Chronicle’s headline about the poll (‘Ban Golders Green Rally, Say 72 Per Cent’) is somewhat misleading since respondents were not specifically asked whether that particular event should be banned.   

History of Church of England finance

An important new book by Sarah Flew brings the tools of accountancy and financial management to bear on the history of the Established Church in England, not so much in the round as through a case study of the funding of home missionary organizations in the Diocese of London during the late Victorian and Edwardian eras. Philanthropy and the Funding of the Church of England, 1856-1914 (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2015, xv + 251p., ISBN 9781848935006, hardback, £60, with ebook editions for £24) is based on a wide range of hitherto little-used archival and other primary sources, and includes a good dose of tables. Flew charts the progressive decline in Christian philanthropy and its connection with secularization. More information is available at: 

https://www.pickeringchatto.com/titles/1783-9781848935006-philanthropy-and-the-funding-of-the-church-of-england-1856-1914

Britain’s Last Religious Revival?

Apologies for the plug, but prospective purchasers of my new book on the statistics of religious change in Britain between 1945 and 1963 (mentioned in my BRIN post of 8 March 2015) may like to know that, for a limited period (until 29 February 2016), copies can be bought by individuals direct from the publisher at a 30% discount.  

Just quote ‘PM15THIRTY’ when ordering the book from the Palgrave Macmillan website at http://www.palgrave.com/page/detail/britain-s-last-religious-revival–clive-d–field/?sf1=barcode&st1=9781137512529 or via email to orders@palgrave.com.

For full terms and conditions applicable to the discount, see:

http://www.palgrave.com/page/Palgrave-discount-codes-terms-and-conditions/

 


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