Scottish Religion and Other News

 

Scottish religion

The continuing decline of religion in Scotland is documented in two publications from the Scottish Government this month. The first, published on 26 August 2015, is Scotland’s People Annual Report: Results from the 2014 Scottish Household Survey, based on interviews with 9,800 adults in private households in Scotland. The question on religious affiliation revealed that 47% of Scots professed to have no religion in 2014, 7% more than in 2009. There has been a corresponding reduction in affiliation to the Church of Scotland over this five-year period, from 34% to 28%. Other categories in 2014 were: Roman Catholics 14%, other Christians 8%, and non-Christians 3%. The report is available at: 

http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2015/08/3720/downloads

The other publication, released on 20 August by the National Records of Scotland, was Vital Events Reference Tables, 2014, showing, inter alia, the mode of solemnization of marriage in Scotland. Results are tabulated below, with comparisons for 2004 (the year before ceremonies by humanist celebrants were permitted) and 2009. It will be seen that civil marriages now account for the majority, that the Church of Scotland has lost half its market share in the space of ten years, and that one-quarter of ‘religious’ ceremonies are now conducted by humanist celebrants. Full details are at: 

http://nationalrecordsofscotland.gov.uk/statistics-and-data/statistics/statistics-by-theme/vital-events/general-publications/vital-events-reference-tables/2014/section-7-marriages-and-civil-partnerships 

Form of marriage ceremony, % down

2004

2009

2014

Civil

49.5

51.7

51.6

Church of Scotland

29.6

22.3

15.5

Roman Catholic

6.1

6.5

5.3

Other religious (excluding humanist)

14.9

13.9

14.1

Humanist

0.0

5.6

13.5

Committed Christians and moral issues

Committed Christians remain more conservative on moral issues than the British public but less than might be expected, according to an analysis of YouGov Profiles data published on 27 August 2015. The sample of committed Christians (1,707 Protestants, apparently Anglicans, and 863 Catholics) comprised members of YouGov’s online panel who both identified as Protestant or Catholic and strongly agreed with the statement that ‘my faith is important to me’. As the table below indicates, so-called ‘religious Catholics’ are more likely to favour same-sex marriage than ‘religious Protestants’, whereas for the legalization of assisted dying the position is reversed, with majorities of both groups wanting to see restrictions on abortion tightened. YouGov’s blog is at: 

https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/08/27/profile-catholic-protestant-issue/ 

% down

Religious Catholics

Religious Protestants

British public

Same-sex marriage

 

 

 

Support

50

45

66

Oppose

40

47

22

Assisted dying

 

 

 

Support

42

59

79

Oppose

48

33

13

Abortion

 

 

 

More restrictions

69

56

29

No more restrictions

17

27

47

Evangelicals and British values

The September-October 2015 issue of Idea: The Magazine of the Evangelical Alliance exclusively reveals the results of the Alliance’s online polling earlier in 2015 of a self-selecting sample of 1,730 self-identifying UK evangelicals on the subject of ‘British values’, a subject of ongoing political debate. Respondents were asked about the attributes which they judged important for being truly British, with ‘to be a Christian’ ranked only seventh on 43%, albeit 19% more than for all Britons as recorded in the British Social Attitudes Survey. Top of the list for evangelicals were ‘to respect Britain’s political institutions and laws’ (96%) and ‘to be able to speak English’ (95%), much the same priorities as for the general public. Although 93% of evangelicals thought that, historically, British values have been strongly shaped by Christianity, only 31% considered they were today, with 79% agreeing that the state’s view of British values is based on secularism rather than Christianity. Notwithstanding, 71% believed the Government right in principle to try to define and promote British values. Just 18% of evangelicals regarded Britain as a Christian country. Seemingly by way of illustration, they identified many negative traits in the population at large, notably consumerism (65%), obsession with celebrity (58%), and sexual licence/promiscuity (51%). The article can be found at:  

http://www.eauk.org/idea/british-values.cfm 

Jews and Jeremy Corbyn

British Jews tend not to be natural Labour Party supporters (only 14% of them voted for it at this year’s general election), but two-thirds (including three-fifths of Jewish Labour voters) are apparently viewing with some apprehension the prospect that Jeremy Corbyn may be elected the next Labour leader. This is according to a telephone poll of 1,011 self-identifying Jews conducted by Survation on behalf of the Jewish Chronicle on 17-19 August 2015, the headline results of which were published in that newspaper on 21 August. More than four-fifths of Jews were concerned about reports that Corbyn had referred to Hezbollah and Hamas as his friends, and about allegations that he had donated money to an organization run by Holocaust denier Paul Eisen. Seven in ten thought that politicians such as Corbyn who described themselves as anti-Zionist were in reality often or always anti-Jewish. Full data tables, including breaks by gender, age, region, and voting, are at: 

http://survation.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Jewish-Chronicle-Poll-August-19th4.pdf

BBC Radio 4 programmes

Programmes on religion are the least listened to genre of programming on BBC Radio 4, according to a survey of 601 medium to heavy Radio 4 listeners in the UK interviewed online by ICM Unlimited on behalf of the BBC Trust between 23 February and 10 March 2015. Just 15% claimed to listen to religious programmes, the lowest proportion of the eight categories investigated, the list being headed by news programmes (88%) and current affairs programmes (87%). Moreover, programmes on religion received the lowest ratings of the same eight categories, only 63% of their listeners evaluating them as good against 90% for listeners of news programmes. Data are extracted from ICM’s report on the survey and available at: 

http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/assets/files/pdf/our_work/speech_radio/research_report.pdf

GCSE O Level results

Provisional results for the June 2015 GCSE O Level examinations in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland were published by the Joint Council for Qualifications on 20 August 2015. Those for Religious Studies (RS) are tabulated below, with comparisons for 2005. It will be seen that the number of students taking either the full or the short course in RS has fallen by 3% over the decade, a modest decrease when set against that of 13% for all subjects (or 8% for full courses alone). Moreover, this net figure disguises a doubling in entries for the full course in RS and a two-thirds reduction in candidates for the short course, which is equivalent to half a GCSE, in line with the progressive disappearance of short courses in general. For both short and full courses there has been a decennial increase of 3% in the proportion of male students taking RS, contrasting with the continuing preponderance of females at A Level RS. Full results can be found at: 

http://www.jcq.org.uk/examination-results/gcses 

GCSE RS O Level

2015

2005

% change

Full course

 

 

 

All entries

295,730

147,516

+100

% female candidates

54

57

-3

% with A*-C grades

72

69

+3

Short course

 

 

 

All entries

91,476

253,423

-64

% female candidates

48

51

-3

% with A*-C grades

58

54

+4

Full and short course

 

 

 

All entries

387,206

400,939

-3

Anglican clergy career patterns

The career paths of Anglican clergy are affected by their gender, age, and type of theological training. So concludes Kelvin Randall in his ‘Twenty Years On: The Continuing Careers of Anglican Clergy’, Theology, Vol. 118, No. 5, September-October 2015, pp. 347-53. He tracked, by means of Crockford’s Clerical Directory, the subsequent careers of those ordained to the stipendiary ministry of the Church of England or Church in Wales in 1994 (the year in which women were first ordained as priests in the Church of England). The three factors analysed especially affected the proportion still working as stipendiary clergy in 2014. The article appears in a subscription-based journal, and access options are outlined at: 

http://tjx.sagepub.com/content/118/5/347.abstract

Church of England cathedral statistics

Church of England cathedral statistics for 2014 were published on 19 August 2015. Including Westminster Abbey (a royal peculiar), the touristic appeal of English cathedrals remains impressive, visitor numbers exceeding 10 million. In terms of worship services, Christmastide continues to be the biggest draw, with 630,600 people attending during Advent and 124,800 on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, including 32,300 communicants. Easter attendees were 53,100, among them 27,100 communicants, with a further 89,300 attendees in Holy Week. Average weekly attendance was 36,600, 22% more than in 2004, the growth being in weekday rather than Sunday congregations (albeit they were down on 2013 levels). The full report is available at: 

https://www.churchofengland.org/media/2279215/2014cathedralstatistics.pdf

Living with cancer

Older people living with cancer do not receive much in the way of religious or faith-based support, nor would they find it particularly useful. This is according to a report from Ipsos MORI on 24 August 2015, for which 1,004 people aged 55 and over in Britain who had received a diagnosis of cancer at any stage in their lives were interviewed online on 6-13 May 2015 on behalf of Macmillan Cancer Support. Only 12% of this sample reported that they had received religious or faith-based support for their cancer, the eighth in a list of sources of support headed by information and advice (53%). Over-75s were twice as likely as those aged 55-64 to claim to have received religious or faith-based support, 19% against 10%. Asked which types of assistance they would find most useful, religious or faith-based support dropped even lower, to eleventh place for the 55-64s, being preferred by 9% of that cohort and 13% of over-75s. When the health chips are down, apparently, religion is a consolation for only a small minority. The report can be found at: 

https://www.ipsos-mori.com/Assets/Docs/Publications/SRI_Health_Macmillan_Older_People_August_2015.pdf

 

Posted in church attendance, Ministry studies, News from religious organisations, Official data, Religion and Politics, Religion in public debate, Rites of Passage, Survey news | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trustworthiness of Clergy and Other News

 

Trustworthiness of clergy

Clergy occupy the middle ground of professionals in terms of their perceived trustworthiness, according to two Opinium Research surveys published on 12 August 2015, for which representative samples of adults were interviewed online in the UK as a whole (12-16 June 2015, n = 2,002) and London (12 June-3 August, n = 1,001). The aim of the investigations was to test the public standing of the police, but 11 other groups (including clergy) were used as comparators. Majorities in both the UK (59%) and London (53%) regarded the clergy as very or quite trustworthy, with 28% and 31% respectively deeming them not very or not at all trustworthy. Nationally, the most adverse views of clergy were held by the 18-24s (37%) and ethnic minorities (40%). Summary data are tabulated below, with full results available via the links at: 

http://ourinsight.opinium.co.uk/survey-results/brits-untrusting-police 

% very/quite trustworthy

UK

London

Nurses

86

83

Doctors

85

84

Teachers

80

79

Armed forces

75

70

Judges

68

65

Police

65

60

Clergy

59

53

Accountants

56

55

Lawyers

52

47

Broadsheet journalists

25

36

Politicians

16

20

Tabloid journalists

13

16

Predicting Anglican extinction

The Church of England’s statistical fortunes may be none too healthy, overall, but it is still likely to see out the present century, just about, according to John Hayward, writing on the blog of the Church Growth Modelling project on 8 July 2015. On present evidence, he predicts, by means of linear regression and extrapolation, that the extinction date for the Church of England will be 2100 in terms of its attendance or 2082 as regards its membership. By contrast, three of its sister Anglican Churches are projected to die out long before that on an index of membership, assuming constant death rates: 2043 in the case of the Church in Wales and Scottish Episcopal Church and 2055 for the Episcopal Church of the USA. Hayward’s data and interpretations are set out at:   

http://churchgrowthmodelling.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/anglican-church-decline-in-west-data.html

In a subsequent blog, dated 3 August 2015, Hayward suggests some potential ‘advantages’ of the Church of England which may explain why it faces a slower extinction than the other three Churches. See: 

http://churchgrowthmodelling.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/anglican-church-decline-in-west.html

National Survey for Wales

On 7 August 2015 the UK Data Service released as SN 7767 the dataset for National Survey for Wales, 2014-15, the third in the series. Commissioned by the Welsh Government, face-to-face and self-completion interviews were conducted by TNS-BMRB and Beaufort Research between April 2014 and March 2015 with 14,285 adults aged 16 and over resident in private households in Wales. Although the questionnaire contained no specific component on religion or morality, a background question on ‘what is your religion?’ was asked. This naturally enables breakdowns of replies by religion for all the topics which were explored in the survey, focusing especially upon wellbeing and attitudes to public services. The catalogue entry for the dataset, with links to technical and other documentation, is at: 

http://discover.ukdataservice.ac.uk/catalogue/?sn=7767&type=Data%20catalogue

A Level results

The June 2015 GCE A Level provisional results for England, Wales, and Northern Ireland were published by the Joint Council for Qualifications on 13 August 2015. In terms of Religious Studies (RS), there were 25,773 entries, 6% more than in 2014 and 53% more than in 2005. RS remains a relatively gendered examination choice, with 69% of candidates being female, compared with an average of 55% for all subjects. The overall pass rate for A Level RS in 2015 was 99%, one point more than for all subjects combined, 80% obtaining a grade of A*-C. There were also 40,067 entries for an AS Level in RS. Much more detail is available at:  

http://www.jcq.org.uk/examination-results/a-levels

Religion of FCO staff

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Diversity and Equality Report, 2014-15, published on 31 July 2015, included details of the religious profession of its UK-based staff. Of the 42% who were willing to make a declaration, 43% identified as Christians, 33% as agnostics or atheists, 7% as non-Christians, with 17% preferring not to say. The overall (relatively low) declaration rate fir religion was the same as for disability and sexual orientation. The report is at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/450587/FFFCO827_Equality_Report_2015_v5.pdf

London mayor

The London Mayoral election may not be until 5 May 2016, but the political parties are in the midst of selecting their preferred candidates to represent them. According to a YouGov poll for LBC Radio published on 13 August 2015, for which 1,153 Londoners were interviewed online on 10-12 August 2015, Muslim candidates could find themselves at a disadvantage (Syed Kamall still being in the chase for the Conservative nomination and Sadiq Khan for the Labour one). Asked whether they would be comfortable in a member of several groups becoming the next Mayor of London, only 55% of the public said they would be comfortable with a Muslim mayor, compared with 90% for a woman, 76% for an ethnic minority person, and 71% for a homosexual. Just under one-third (31%) replied they would be uncomfortable with a Muslim mayor, rising to 39% of Conservatives, 49% of over-60s, and 73% of UKIP voters. Data tables are at: 

https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/2vpf4yt9ve/LBCResults_London_trackers_Mayor_tubestrike_150812_W.pdf

Islamic State

More than two-thirds (68%) of adults in the UK think the European Union (EU) has responded badly to the success of Islamic State (IS), more than ten times the number (6%) who believe that it has handled the matter well. These are much the same results as the average for all seven Western European countries in the survey, 67% and 5% respectively, the other nations being France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain. Fieldwork was conducted by Opinium Research for Cambre Associates among an online sample of 7.017 adults, including 1,005 in the UK, between 29 June and 10 July 2015. Majorities in both the UK and all seven countries as a whole also judged the EU to have badly handled three other current international issues: refugees arriving from Syria, the Greek debt crisis, and the conflict in Ukraine. Data tables were published on 11 August at:  

http://ourinsight.opinium.co.uk/sites/ourinsight.opinium.co.uk/files/op5154_opinium_pr_european_union_-_tables.pdf

 

Posted in Ministry studies, News from religious organisations, Official data, Religion and Politics, Religious prejudice, Survey news | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Baker’s Dozen of Religious Statistics

  

Civil and religious marriages

A press release from the University of Oxford on 21 July 2015 highlighted the relentless decline in the number of marriages in England and Wales which are legally solemnized in religious ceremonies. They now account for just 30% of the total, although this figure excludes civil marriages which are followed by a service in a place of worship that carries no legal recognition; this is widely the case with marriages for Muslims and Sikhs. The fall in religious ceremonies, which can be traced back to the 1970s, has been especially pronounced since the passage of the Marriage Act 1994, which permitted marriages in ‘approved premises’ (such as hotels, castles, and stately homes). Until the Act came into effect, the majority of first marriages for both partners were still religious ceremonies. The new research is based on an analysis of official data on the solemnization of marriages, from the beginning of civil registration in the early Victorian era, undertaken by John Haskey, formerly of the Office for National Statistics. It will be published in full next month in Haskey’s chapter entitled ‘Marriage Rites: Trends in Marriages by Manner of Solemnisation and Denomination in England and Wales, 1841-2012’ in Marriage Rites and Rights, edited by Joanna Miles, Perveez Mody, and Rebecca Probert (Hart Publishing, ISBN 9781849469135, paperback, £35). The volume will also contain three other chapters on the religious aspects of marriage. In the meantime, the University of Oxford’s press release can be read at: 

http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2015-07-21-just-one-three-weddings-england-and-wales-has-religious-ceremony

Babies in the 2011 census

In the latest post on the Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network blog, dated 25 July 2015, Katherine Sissons examines the religion assigned to babies and young children (aged 0-4) in England and Wales in the 2011 census. She notes that males in this age group were 1% less likely than females to be returned as Christian and 1% more likely to be described as having no religion. She speculates about the possible reasons for this and about the potential impact on the balance between religiosity and non-religiosity in the next generation. However, she rather assumes that the assignment of religion to children is some kind of joint decision of parents completing the census schedule. In fact, many if not most questions on the form will have been answered by a single individual on behalf of the whole household, whose members – whether adults or children – may or may not have been consulted in detail about the proposed replies. Other generic issues, not mentioned by the author, are that religion was not stated for 1% more children (under 16 years) than adults (8% against 7%) and that 6% more children (30% versus 24% for adults) were declared as having no religion. It is possible that, in the case of children, some informants may have been using the latter category, not according to its literal meaning, but to denote that their offspring were too young to be religiously classified and that this was a matter about which their children had to make up their minds when they were older. After all, two-thirds of babies are no longer baptised in the UK, so, at least so far as Christianity is concerned, formal links with faith do not commence early in life. The post is at:

http://blog.nsrn.net/2015/07/25/what-religion-is-your-baby-2/

Importance of religion

The latest Eurobarometer (wave 83.3), conducted by TNS for the European Commission in the 28 member states of the European Union (EU) in May 2015, has confirmed that, relatively speaking, religion remains an insignificant personal value. Asked to choose, from a list of 12 values, the three which were most important to them as individuals, only 5% in the UK selected religion, which was also the EU average (with just six countries recording a double-digit figure). Respect for human life was the top personal value in the UK (41%), closely followed by human rights and peace (each on 38%). Religion also scored poorly as a force for creating a feeling of community among EU citizens (7% in the UK, 8% in the EU) and as a value best representing the EU itself (3% in both the UK and EU). Topline results can be found in T123-T128 at:     

http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/eb/eb83/eb83_anx_en.pdf

Religious affiliation

Three recent published surveys by ORB International, conducted among a merged sample of 6,107 adults interviewed online on 19-21 June, 10-12 July, and 24-26 July 2015, reveal the current level of religious affiliation in Britain. The question asked was: ‘Which of the following religious groups do you consider yourself to be a member of?’ This is a form of questioning which, through its reference to ‘membership’, is felt likely to discourage some of the most nominal identification with religion. In reply, 52% of Britons professed themselves Christian, 7% non-Christian, and 38% as of no religion, with 2% preferring not to say.   

Religious broadcasting

Figures published on 16 July 2015 in the Government’s Green Paper on the renewal of the BBC Charter superficially reveal a reduction in the amount of the Corporation’s religious programming during recent years, from 181 hours on network television in 2006 to 157 in 2014, and from 1,084 hours on radio in 2006 to 592 in 2014. However, some of the difference may be attributable to a change in the BBC’s classification scheme over this period. The Green Paper is at: 

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/bbc-charter-review-public-consultation

Ministerial stress

Stress in the Christian ministry has been in the news recently following the suspected stress-related suicide of Revd Christopher Loveless, an Anglican vicar. His plight is by no means atypical, if the findings of a survey conducted by Oasis UK among a self-selecting sample of 200 ministers and church leaders are anything like representative. Although 86% of respondents described their ministry as very or quite rewarding, 71% found their role very or quite stressful, 65% reported that it had put strain on their marrage or equivalent relationship, while 64% felt incredibly pushed for time and struggled to get everything done. Over two-fifths sensed that their church members had little or no understanding of the pressures they were under. Indeed, they could make the situation worse, 76% of ministers acknowledging that church members regularly behaved rudely or aggressively toward them. A news release about the survey is at:     

http://www.oasisuk.org/news/church-leadership-stress-places-%E2%80%98significant-strain%E2%80%99-marriages

Church of England (1): diversity

Further to our reference on 19 July 2015 to the preliminary results of the Church of England’s ‘Everyone Counts’ diversity audit in 2014, the Church has now felt it necessary to issue a public apology for failing to include any question about the sexual orientation of its congregations in the audit. The statement, released on 24 July, is at: 

https://www.churchofengland.org/media-centre/news/2015/07/statement-on-’everyone-counts’-survey.aspx

Church of England (2): finance

Finance Statistics, 2013 for the Church of England (excluding the Diocese of Europe) were published on 30 July 2015. Following three years of parish deficits in 2007-10, mirroring the national economic recession, the financial situation is now improving in absolute terms. A surplus of £33 million was reported in 2013, with income of £953 million (the highest total ever recorded) surpassing expenditure of £920 million. The latter figure was 1.0% down on 2012, reflecting cost reductions, while income rose by 2.6% overall and by 4.5% from the average individual tax-efficient planned giver. However, income is continuing to fall in real terms, and there was a decrease of 2.8% in the number of regular donors. The report is at: 

https://www.churchofengland.org/media/2265027/2013financestatistics.pdf

British Humanist Association membership

Organized irreligion may be suffering from the same ageing membership as is to be found in many traditional Churches, if new research from Gareth Longden is anything to go by: ‘A Profile of the Members of the British Humanist Association’ [BHA], Science, Religion & Culture, Vol. 2, No. 3, June 2015, pp. 86-95. The article derives from a questionnaire completed by 1,097 members of the BHA in March-May 2014, just under one-tenth of the organization’s total membership and slightly more than half those invited to participate. Comparisons are made with an earlier membership survey carried out by Colin Campbell in 1964, shortly after the BHA was formed. In 2014 65% of BHA members were aged 50 and over, against 38% fifty years before. In consequence 37% were already retired in 2014, compared with only 14% in 1964. The BHA remained disproportionately male, albeit less so than in 1964 (65% versus 73%). The BHA also lived up to its reputation for being a ‘middle class intelligentsia’, with 82% of members in 2014 in possession of an undergraduate or postgraduate degree and the overwhelming majority in professional or managerial occupations, especially in education and information technology. Spatially, humanists were concentrated in the South of England, notably in London and the South-East. The article is available on an open access basis at: 

http://smithandfranklin.com/journal-details/Science-Religion-and-Culture/9/archive/2015/June

Jewish social care

The Jewish population of the UK may only have numbered 270,000 in 2011, but there are no fewer than 549 social care organizations and 702 social care facilities and services to meet their needs. Even after stripping out small operations to support the economically deprived in the haredi community, there still remain 70 organizations and 205 facilities or services. This is according to preliminary findings from an audit of Jewish social care undertaken by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) on behalf of the Jewish Leadership Council, and released on 23 July 2015. Indeed, in Jewish communities experiencing population decline there was evidence of a possible over-supply of social care provision. On the other hand, in JPR’s estimation, insufficient effort is being devoted to poverty prevention among UK Jews. For more information, see the blog by Jonathan Boyd at: 

http://www.thejlc.org/2015/07/mapping-social-care-organisations-and-facilities-in-the-uk-jewish-community/

Anti-Semitic incidents

On 30 July 2015 the Community Security Trust (CST) published a report on Antisemitic Incidents, January-June 2015 in the UK, noting that the number during this period was, at 473, 53% more than during the first six months of 2014. The increase was most pronounced during the first quarter of 2015 and is mainly attributed by the CST to improved notification of incidents, due to raised concerns about anti-Semitism in the Jewish community following the terrorist attacks in Paris and Copenhagen. The report is at: 

https://cst.org.uk/public/data/file/0/e/Incidents_Report_-_Jan-June_2015.pdf

Islamic State (1): flag

Just over three-quarters (77%) of the public want to see the display of the Islamic State (IS) flag banned in Britain, according to a YouGov poll conducted online among 1,669 adults on 9-10 July 2015 and published on 19 July. The proportion rises to 84% among residents of Northern England, 87% of Conservatives, and 88% of UKIP voters and over-60s. Just 15% think the IS flag should not be banned, peaking at 25% of 18-24s. Similar results were obtained for a question on the prohibition of the display of the Nazi swastika in Britain, 75% being in favour and 17% against. In the United States, where the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, there is lower but still majority backing for banning the display of the IS flag (63%) and swastika (57%). More details, including links to data tables, can be found in the blog at: 

https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/07/19/ban-isis-flag-american-and-british-public/

Islamic State (2): escalating UK military actions

Two recent polls have probed public opinion on the possible escalation of UK military action against IS in the light of an anticipated House of Commons debate on the subject next month. The first, by ORB International and conducted online among a sample of 2,049 Britons on 24-26 July 2015, revealed 67% support for an extension of UK air strikes against IS in Iraq and Syria, including 76% of over-65s. Fewer (41%) endorsed the commitment of UK ground troops and tanks, with 59% opposed, reaching two-thirds among women and the over-55s. Data tables are at:  

http://www.opinion.co.uk/perch/resources/julypoll.pdf

The second survey, by ComRes for the Daily Mail, was conducted by telephone interview with 1,001 Britons, also on 24-26 July 2015. Its focus was specifically on possible British military intervention against IS in Syria. There was majority support (56%, with 33% opposed) for air strikes against IS in Syria but reluctance (41% in favour, 49% against) to engage British troops in Syria. Almost two-fifths (38%) agreed, while 49% disagreed, that Britain should not become militarily involved in Syria but should stand back and let the situation there run its course. However, few considered that British military action against IS in Syria would materially improve prospects. Asked whether it would make places safer or more dangerous, just 16% felt the streets of Britain would be safer, 19% tourist beaches in North Africa, 21% the Middle East generally, and 27% the situation on the ground in Syria itself. Two-fifths (39%) thought the streets of Britain would become more dangerous as a result of British military action against IS in Syria. Data tables are at:  

http://comres.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Daily-Mail_Political-Poll_July-2015.pdf

 

Posted in Ministry studies, News from religious organisations, Official data, Religion and Politics, Religion and Social Capital, Religious Census, Religious prejudice, Survey news | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Religion and party choice at the 2015 general election

The British Election Study 2015 recently released the dataset for wave 6 of their panel study, the fieldwork for which was undertaken immediately after the general election on 7 May (and conducted between 8-26 May). The dataset and accompanying questionnaire can be obtained  here. This post looks at voting behaviour at the general election based on religious belonging, looking at the picture for Britain overall and then separately for Scotland and Wales. It is based on the full sample of wave 6 of the panel study, analysed here as a cross-section.

First, Table 1 looks at the voting behaviour of religious groups at the 2015 general election, for Britain as a whole. It reports the share of the vote of the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems, UKIP and other parties, amongst both Christian and non-Christian traditions, as well amongst the ‘religious nones’. Several aspects of the data are worthy of note. The stronger support shown for the Conservative Party amongst Anglicans at post-war general elections continues. A plurality of Methodists supported the Conservatives, with pluralities supporting Labour amongst Baptists and other Christians. There is also evidence of Catholics’ historical tendency to align with the Labour Party. Labour’s traditionally strong support amongst non-Christian faiths is again evident here, particularly so amongst Muslims. Amongst followers of Judaism, there is considerable support for the Conservative Party, with half of them having voted for the Tories at the general election. Amongst the ‘religious nones’, a plurality voted for Labour. UKIP votes were more prevalent amongst Anglicans, Catholics and those in the unspecified other religion category. Voting for the Lib Dems was most likely amongst Methodists and Baptists.

 

Table 1: Voting behaviour at the 2015 general election by religious affiliation, Britain

 

Con

Lab

Lib Dem

UKIP

Other

party

Anglican (%)

46

30

8

13

3

Roman Catholic (%)

30

41

8

11

10

Presbyterian/Church of Scotland (%)

24

27

9

4

37

Methodist (%)

39

33

13

8

7

Baptist (%)

32

36

14

7

12

Other: Christian

34

41

8

7

9

Judaism (%)

50

29

8

5

8

Islam (%)

15

72

5

3

6

Other: Non-Christian

36

47

6

6

5

Other: Unspecified (%)

27

33

11

13

16

None (%)

30

35

12

10

14

Source: BES 2015 Panel Study, wave 6.

Note: Percentages sum across the rows. Percentages may not sum to 100 because of rounding.

 

Table 2 shows the association between voting and religious belonging at the 2015 general election in Scotland. Reflecting the national context, it uses amended sets of categories for party support and religious affiliation. Note that the ‘Other party’ category includes the UKIP vote share. Amongst Anglicans, there was a slightly greater tendency to vote Conservative rather than Labour. Amongst all other groups a plurality or majority supported the SNP, highest amongst Catholics – traditionally a bastion of electoral support for Labour in Scotland – and those with no affiliation.  Support for the SNP was markedly lower amongst Anglicans, while this group showed the highest level of support for the Lib Dems in Scotland.

 

Table 2: Voting behaviour at the 2015 general election by religious affiliation, Scotland

Con

Lab

Lib Dem

SNP

Other party

Anglican (%)

33

29

13

19

6

Catholic (%)

5

36

3

55

2

Presbyterian/Church of Scotland (%)

19

24

9

45

3

Other religiona (%)

13

28

7

45

7

None (%)

10

23

7

54

6

Source: BES 2015 Panel Study, wave 6. Scottish subsample.

aIncluding other Christian, non-Christian and unspecified other.

Note: Percentages sum across the rows. Percentages may not sum to 100 because of rounding.

 

Next, Table 3 provides a comparison of how these groups in Scotland voted at the 2010 and 2015 elections (using equivalent data from the BES’s 2010 internet panel study – which is available here).  Noteworthy patterns in the data include the marked decline in support for Labour across nearly all groups (except Anglicans), including Catholics. The SNP, in contrast, saw considerable increases in its level of support in 2015: amongst Catholics, it increased from just under a fifth in 2010 to over half in May’s general election. SNP support, albeit low compared to other groups, almost doubled amongst Anglicans. It also more than doubled amongst those who identity as Presbyterian or Church of Scotland. Those belonging to some other religious tradition showed a trebling in support for the SNP. Those with no religious affiliation show a rise in support for the SNP from about a fifth in 2010 to over half in 2015. The decline in the Lib Dems’ electoral fortunes is evident across all groups.

 

Table 3: Voting behaviour at the 2010 and 2015 general elections, Scotland

Con

Lab

Lib Dem

SNP

Other party

Anglicans
  2010 (%)

29

20

35

10

6

  2015 (%)

33

29

13

19

6

Catholics
  2010 (%)

8

63

10

18

2

  2015 (%)

5

36

3

55

2

Presbyterian/Church of Scotland (%)
  2010 (%)

17

41

20

21

1

  2015 (%)

19

24

9

45

3

Other religion
  2010 (%)

21

36

21

13

9

  2015 (%)

13

28

7

45

7

None
  2010 (%)

13

39

26

19

3

  2015 (%)

10

23

7

54

6

Source: BES 2010 Campaign Internet Panel Study, post-election wave and BES 2015 Panel Study, wave 6.

Note: Percentages sum across the rows. Percentages may not sum to 100 because of rounding.

Perhaps the most notable finding from Table 3 is that, in 2010, getting on for two-thirds of Catholics said they had voted for Labour; in 2015 , that proportion had fallen to  a third. That ranks below the proportion of Catholics in England who said in 2015 that they voted Labour (just over two-fifths). Traditionally, Labour’s vote share at general elections has been noticeably higher amongst Catholics in Scotland than those in England. Figure 1 shows this, based on data taken from BES surveys and – where available – counterpart Scottish Election Studies conducted at general elections. It charts Labour’s vote share amongst Catholics in England and Scotland for the period 1970-2015. There is a clear difference at every election between Labour’s vote share received from Catholics in England and Scotland. It is consistently higher in Scotland, with the exception of the 2015 election (analysis of historical trends in party identification amongst religious groups in Scotland and England can be found here).

 

IMAGE 1

Source: BES and Scottish Election Studies.

Finally, Table 4 shows voting behaviour data for Wales, again using amended sets of categories. Amongst Anglicans, voting was a close run thing between Labour and the Conservatives, with support for the former just eclipsing the latter. Amongst those with some other religious affiliation and those with no affiliation, pluralities voted for Labour. Support for Plaid Cymru was lowest amongst Anglicans. As can be seen, UKIP’s vote share varied little across the three groups.

 

Table 4: Voting behaviour at the 2015 general election by religious affiliation, Wales

Con

Lab

Lib Dem

Plaid Cymru

UKIP

Other party

Anglican (%)

36

38

7

5

12

2

Other religiona (%)

25

36

7

15

12

5

None (%)

21

40

9

12

11

7

Source: BES 2015 Panel Study, wave 6. Welsh subsample.

aIncluding other Christian, non-Christian and unspecified other.

Note: Percentages sum across the rows. Percentages may not sum to 100 because of rounding.

 

The obvious caveat here is that, whilst the BES studies provide a valuable resource for looking at the historical and contemporary associations between religious belonging and political attitudes, a wide array of social and attitudinal factors can influence how individuals’ vote at general elections – and this needs to be borne in mind when only looking at the association between religion and party choice.

 

Previous BRIN posts have reported separate analyses of data from wave 1 and wave 4 of the BES 2015 panel study:

http://www.brin.ac.uk/news/2014/the-british-election-study-2015-religious-affiliation/

http://www.brin.ac.uk/news/2014/the-british-election-study-2015-religious-affiliation-and-attitudes/

http://www.brin.ac.uk/news/2015/religion-and-political-attitudes-the-british-election-study-2015-wave-4/

 

For analysis of religion and voting at the 2010 general election, see:

http://www.brin.ac.uk/news/2010/religious-affiliation-and-political-attitudes-findings-from-the-british-election-study-200910/

 

Reference

Fieldhouse, E., J. Green., G. Evans., H. Schmitt, and C. van der Eijk (2015) British Election Study Internet Panel Wave 6.

 

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Anglican and Other Issues

 

Anglican diversity

At its afternoon session on 12 July 2015, the Church of England General Synod received a presentation by the Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns, supported by a paper (GS Misc 1108) entitled ‘I Too Am CofE’. This highlighted the continuing under-representation of BMEs in the Church of England relative to their 14% presence in the wider population. According to the Everyone Counts 2014 survey (completed by 36,000 Anglican churchgoers in a sample of 600 parishes through a combination of mobile app, website, and postal questionnaires), 6% identified as BME (up by just one point since 2007), with the same proportion among churchwardens and deanery synod members and 4% of church council members. In 2012 only 3% of Anglican clergy were BME albeit the number of BMEs recommended for the ordained ministry in recent years is somewhat higher. GS Misc 1108 is available at: 

https://www.churchofengland.org/media/2256537/gs%20misc%201108%20-%20cmeac%20presentation.pdf

The full report on Everyone Counts will not be published until later in 2015 but several key findings (covering other attributes of diversity, as well as ethnicity) are at:  

https://www.churchofengland.org/media/2261061/everyonecounts_keyfindings.pdf

Anglican confidence in faith

An article exploring the level and sources of Anglican confidence in faith has recently been published by Andrew Village: ‘Nature or Nurture? What Makes People Feel Confident in Faith?’, Rural Theology, Vol. 13, No. 1, May 2015, pp. 82-93. It is based on a self-selecting sample of 2,272 lay Anglicans resident in England (disproportionately from Anglo-Catholic or Broad Church backgrounds) who completed a questionnaire in the Church Times in 2013, which included a five-item confidence in faith scale (CIFS). Psychological type preferences were found to predict confidence in faith, with CIFS scores positively correlated with extraversion, intuition, feeling, and judging scores. In terms of church tradition and theological stance, charismatics and especially the minority (in this sample) of conservative evangelical charismatics exhibited the highest confidence. However, it was also discovered that confidence in faith can be somewhat enhanced through learning, which was measured by having taken a course in religion during the previous five years. Personal and contextual factors were relatively unimportant as predictors of confidence in faith. Access options to the article are outlined at: 

http://www.maneyonline.com/doi/abs/10.1179/1470499415Z.00000000043

Anglican parish magazines

Anglican parish magazines and their inserts were a significant phenomenon during the second half of the nineteenth century but have hitherto escaped detailed scholarly investigation. As Jane Platt observes in her new book, they ‘are the Cinderellas of the study of both religion and mass-market publishing’. She attempts to fill the vacuum with her Subscribing to Faith? The Anglican Parish Magazine, 1859-1929 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015, xii + 278pp., ISBN 978-1-137-36243-8, £60.00, hardback, with e-editions also available). This draws particularly upon evidence from the Diocese of Carlisle, the Diocese of Oxford, and London to illuminate the role played by parish magazines in the Church of England and in the publishing industry. The work makes only limited use of quantitative tools, despite their potential for statistical content analysis, which is often applied to the study of mass media. However, there is some discussion of circulation data in chapters 3 and 10. The book’s webpage is at: 

http://www.palgrave.com/page/detail/suscribing-to-faith–the-anglican-parish-magazine-1859-1929-jane-platt/?sf1=barcode&st1=9781137362438

Muslims and gender roles

According to a report in The Guardian on 13 July 2015, based on analysis by think-tank Demos of a survey of 39,000 Britons, a majority of British Muslims aged 16-24 disagree with the statement that ‘a husband’s job is to earn money, a wife’s job is to look after the home and family’, with 24% agreeing. Among Muslims aged 55 and over, by contrast, just 17% disagree with the statement while 50% agree. Male Muslims are more likely than female ones to agree with the statement (42% versus 35%) with disagreement at, respectively, 26% and 38%. Agreement is much lower among British-born Muslim women (24%) than those born abroad (45%). Overall, the highest level of disagreement is found among people of no religion (63%). The newspaper’s report is at: 

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/13/british-muslims-gender-roles-attitude-shift

More generally, Demos has been building an Ethnic Integration Hub, based on secondary analysis of existing datasets. Its chapter on attitudes and identity, including religion, was launched on 14 July 2015 and can be viewed at: 

http://www.integrationhub.net/module/attitudes-and-identity/

Islamic State threat (1)

The threat posed by Islamic State (IS) is by far the greatest international concern for Britons, according to the latest release (on 14 July 2015) of data from the Spring 2015 wave of the Pew Global Attitudes Project. British fieldwork was conducted by telephone between 8 and 28 April among 999 adults aged 18 and over. Presented with a list of seven current international issues, 66% of Britons said they were very concerned about IS, with an additional 21% somewhat concerned and 9% unconcerned. The figure for very concerned was 25 points ahead of the second and third threats (41% saying they were very concerned about Iran’s nuclear programme and tensions between Russia and her neighbours). Climate change ranked fourth (38%), although in 19 of the other 39 nations investigated it was the top concern. Nevertheless in nine countries preoccupation with IS was even greater than in Britain, the proportions of very concerned being: 84% in Lebanon, 77% in Spain, 75% in South Korea, 72% in Japan, 71% in France, 70% in Germany, 69% in Italy and Australia, and 68% in the United States. Topline data are at: 

http://www.pewglobal.org/files/2015/07/Pew-Research-Center-Global-Threats-Report-FINAL-July-14-2015.pdf

Islamic State threat (2)

IS also headed a different list of threats to Britain’s future which was put, by YouGov on behalf of Prospect magazine, to an online sample of 1,595 Britons on 24-25 June 2015. IS was perceived as a big or some threat by 79% of respondents, followed by al-Qa’eda (another Islamist group, 72%), Russia (62%), climate change (55%), Iran (47%), North Korea (46%), poverty/instability in Africa (44%), China (33%), Israel (26%), and United States (13%). IS was the only one of these 10 risks to be identified as a big threat by the majority of adults (54%), rising to two-thirds of over-60s and UKIP voters.  

Peter Kellner has an article about the survey in Prospect, No. 233, August 2015, pp. 14-15. Data tables are at: 

https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/r0ak5pnace/Prospect_150625_nuclear_weapons_Website.pdf

Freedom of religion

Less than half (44%) of the British public is aware that freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Human Rights Act 1998 (Section 13), according to a YouGov poll released on 14 July 2015 but undertaken online on 26-27 May among an online sample of 1,691 adults. Londoners (52%) were found to be most knowledgeable and manual workers (37%) the least. Even fewer (23% overall, falling to 13% of 18-24s) believed that freedom of religion is guaranteed under Magna Carta 1215, technically through Section 1 relating to the freedom of the English Church. Awareness that freedom of religion is guaranteed under the Human Rights Act was far greater (65%) in a separate sample of 730 UK opinion formers interviewed between 20 May and 1 June, albeit only 20% knew that the same is true of Magna Carta. Data tables for the poll of the general public are at:  

https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/dswetokz17/Results-Magna-Carta-Freedom-of-Press-GB-Adults.pdf

Fox hunting

The proposed parliamentary debate about amending the law on fox hunting in England and Wales has been postponed, for political reasons. However, an online survey by ORB International on 10-12 July 2015 among 2,058 adults revealed that two-thirds of Britons care about the issue, either passionately or a little. As the table below indicates, differences between religious groups are generally small, with the exception that non-Christians are somewhat more likely than average to say that they do not care about fox hunting. Data tables are at:  

http://www.opinion.co.uk/perch/resources/datatablesjuly2015.pdf 

% across

Care

Don’t care

All Britons

65

35

Christians

65

35

Non-Christians

54

46

No religion

67

33

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Secularizing Selfhood and Other News

 

Secularizing selfhood

I recently gave a presentation at the Rethinking Modern British Studies conference at the University of Birmingham, which was loosely devoted to an exploration of themes contained in a previous working paper from the Modern British Studies initiative. One of these themes is the transformation of selfhood in modern British society, which I illustrated in my presentation by a study of six different self-rating measures of religiosity derived from recurrent and non-recurrent sample surveys undertaken in Britain since the 1960s. These data on the personal saliency of religion were found to be broadly consistent with other quantitative performance indicators which suggest that Britain is in the midst of progressive (and ongoing) secularization. In this particular instance, the 1990s were revealed as a major tipping-point and the personal saliency of religion was shown to be much lower than in most other Western nations. An article based on the presentation will hopefully appear in an academic journal in due course, but meanwhile some BRIN readers may be interested to see the PowerPoint slides from the conference. They can be viewed by clicking on the following link:

Saliency – conference presentation

Religion and ethnic minorities

The Conservative peer Baroness Berridge initiated a short debate in the House of Lords on 6 July 2015 by asking the Government ‘what assessment they have made of the contribution of Britain’s ethnic minorities to faith communities and public institutions in the United Kingdom’. In her opening speech, she illustrated, through census and other statistics, the disproportionate influence of BMEs on the religious landscape: ‘If you are from the black and minority ethnic community, you are more likely to identify with a religion than the white population, to be religiously observant, and to see religion as an important part of your life.’ For a transcript of the debate, see: 

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201516/ldhansrd/text/150706-0002.htm#15070627000071

Church-based parent and toddler groups

The Impact of Church-Based Parent and Toddler Groups is assessed in a new report from Jubilee+, written by Andy Biggs, Miles Jarvis, Andrew McWilliam, and Rachel Green. These groups are the second commonest form of church-based social action, after food-distribution schemes (such as foodbanks). The report derives from an online survey of parent and toddler groups undertaken between July and September 2014, which attracted 470 responses, 440 of them from group leaders, from a wide range of UK locations and denominations. Unsurprisingly, the self-assessed impact of the groups was found to be positive for individuals, families, and communities alike, including a modest contribution to church growth. The authors’ overall estimate, from other studies, is that up to 27,000 UK churches run projects for the early years (ages 0-5) and that 52% of children in England access some form of parent and toddler group via churches. The report can be found at: 

http://www.jubilee-plus.org/Articles/440843/Jubilee_Plus/Research/THE_IMPACT_OF.aspx

Anglican church growth

Church growth appears to have become a bit of a growth industry recently, in the Church of England at least. The latest output, published on 30 June 2015, is by Bob Jackson, What Makes Churches Grow? Vision and Practice in Effective Mission (London: Church House Publishing, 2015, xvi + 299pp., ISBN 9780715144749, £19.99, paperback). Jackson has a long track-record in church growth initiatives, with several books and courses to his credit, and he is currently Director of the Centre for Church Growth at St John’s College, Nottingham, as well as being a consultant and speaker in the field. As might be inferred from the title, this is not an academic treatise but a good practice guide written from empirical and theological standpoints, addressing both numerical and spiritual growth, and seemingly mainly intended for an Anglican audience. There are plenty of tables (33) and figures (31), although most of the raw data can be more comprehensively obtained from the Church’s Research and Statistics website.  

Unsurprisingly, Jackson is fairly upbeat about the prospects for growth: ‘the balance of the evidence suggests that the Church of England has probably stopped shrinking numerically and, on some measures, may even be growing overall’ (p. xiv). He gets especially excited about Messy Church (‘the biggest single churchgoing growth phenomenon in this country since the rise of Sunday schools and Methodism at the end of the eighteenth century’, p. 175) and at the apparent excess of joiners over leavers in the worshipping community (an experimental measure raising sundry methodological caveats). Like much writing about church growth, progress tends to be measured in absolute terms not against an increasing and more diverse population, so that much which passes as church growth is, in reality, still relative decline. The publisher’s webpage for the book is at: 

http://www.chpublishing.co.uk/books/9780715144749/what-makes-churches-grow

Christenings

The number of infant baptisms performed by the various Churches in the UK has now fallen to around one-third of births, according to the latest estimates by Peter Brierley in UK Church Statistics, 2005-2015 (table 13.8.3), compared with over half in the late 1990s. Nowhere has the decrease been greater than in the Church of England, where there were only 79,400 infant and 42,600 child baptisms in 2013. Nevertheless, research released in the barest headline by the Church on 3 July 2015 revealed that Anglican christenings are still not without appeal to the Church’s outer fringes. Interviews with 1,000 individuals who were not regular churchgoers and who had a child aged two or younger baptised in the Church of England found that for 89% christening was deemed an essential foundation for life and that 91% had been influenced by godparents to have their child baptised. The press release is at:  

https://www.churchofengland.org/media-centre/news/2015/07/christenings-a-positive-choice.aspx

Catholics and the family

Further evidence that grass-roots Catholics are disenchanted with the Church’s teaching on marital, family, and sexual matters is provided by the results of two surveys released by the pressure group A Call to Action (ACTA) on 1 July 2015. One study attracted responses from Catholics across England and Wales (n = 342) while the other was organized by a parish group in Wolverhampton (n = 376). The samples were neither random nor quota, but the findings were compatible with those obtained from earlier and more representative national samples of Catholics, such as the YouGov poll for Westminster Faith Debates in 2013. They exemplified the demand among Catholics for ‘a kinder, more open Church and an end to rule-book driven policies on the family and sex’. In particular, there was overwhelming support for lifting the bans on the use of artificial methods of contraception and on divorced and remarried persons receiving Communion, as well as very strong empathy for people in same-sex relationships. The report on the national survey (written by Andrew Hornsby-Smith) and appendices of raw data on both the national and Wolverhampton surveys can be accessed via the links in ACTA’s press release at:

http://www.acalltoaction.org.uk/11-news/277-the-smell-of-the-sheep-synod-2015

Religious education teachers

The majority (54%) of the 15,300 state-funded secondary school teachers of religious education in England have no relevant post-A Level qualification in the subject, according to the results of the School Workforce Census for November 2014 which were published by the Department for Education on 2 July 2015. Only teachers of citizenship (93%), engineering (82%), media studies (78%), foreign languages other than French, German, or Spanish (62%), and information and communications technology (58%) are less qualified to teach their subjects. See Table 12 in the main tables of the census at: 

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/school-workforce-in-england-november-2014

Hospital chaplaincy

NHS trusts across the UK spent £23.5 million on chaplaincy services in the last financial year, £1.5 million more than in 2012/13, according to data obtained from Freedom of Information requests submitted by The Independent to 230 trusts. For the newspaper’s coverage, see: 

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/nhs-patients-religious-services-should-not-be-paid-for-by-taxpayer-say-critics-10366214.html

Sunday trading

Sunday trading is back on the political agenda with the recent announcement by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne that the Government is proposing to introduce a form of local option for Sunday trading hours in England and Wales, which are currently capped at six for large shops. Under the proposal, responsibility for determining the extent of trading hours in particular areas would be devolved to the relevant local council. The announcement has prompted YouGov to take the pulse of public opinion on the matter, through an online survey of 1,669 Britons on 9-10 July 2015. Data tables are at:

https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/fotdolr0wu/InternalResults_150710_budget_living_wage_benefits_Sunday_opening_W.pdf

A majority of the population (53% in Britain and 52% in England and Wales) favours liberalization of the laws on Sunday trading, with 33% backing total deregulation (leaving shops to decide when they open) and an additional 20% wishing to see the current rules relaxed so that shops can open for longer hours. This majority is disproportionately to be found among the under-25s (67%), Liberal Democrat voters (62%), and in Scotland (where the existing legislation does not apply, 71%). About one-quarter (24%) are happy with the status quo of six hours for large shops, while 6% want to see more restricted Sunday trading and 9% none at all. The aggregate of the last two categories (15%) rose to 22% of UKIP supporters and 20% of over-60s. 

Asked whether, in practice, they ever go shopping on a Sunday, 51% say that they do once a month or more, including 61% of under-25s and 64% of Scots. The proportion never or hardly ever shopping on Sunday (28%) peaks among over-60s (42%). Respondents were also questioned about how often they worked on Sunday, 16% (roughly one in four of those currently in employment) doing so at least once a month, with the under-40s (23%) and Scots (26%) being most likely to work on Sundays.

Star signs

The overwhelming majority (96%) of the British population is aware of their star sign, the most ignorant (12%) being the under-25s. But only 20% believe that such signs can tell you something about yourself or another person, women being most convinced (27%), while 69% deny the possibility. This is according to a YouGov poll conducted among an online sample of 1,601 adult Britons on 1-2 July 2015.  

Disbelief is higher in the ability of horoscopes to foretell what will happen in the future, 82% saying that they cannot do so and just 8% (peaking at 11% in Scotland) that they can (less than in the United States, where the figure is 14%). Even fewer Britons (4%), and no more than 7% in any demographic sub-group, claim to have changed their behaviour based on something read in a horoscope, 93% definite that they have not.

At the same time, as many as 55% of the population believe in fate, disproportionately concentrated among women (65%) and manual workers (61%), with 32% disbelieving and 12% uncertain. Slightly more Britons than Americans (52%) believe in fate. For more information, including links to both British and American data tables, see the YouGov blog of 3 July 2015 at:  

https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/07/03/8-of-Britons-believe-horoscopes-predict-the-future/

 

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Ten Years On

 

In this post we summarize seven new pieces of research touching on inter-religious relations in Britain ten years on from the London bombings on 7 July 2005 and in the aftermath of the recent Islamist massacre of British tourists in Tunisia.

Tenth anniversary of 7/7 (1)

To mark the tenth anniversary of the 7/7 terrorist attacks in London, the UK edition of the Huffington Post is running a mini-series on ‘Beyond the Bombings’. This was launched on 3 July 2015 with a feature about a poll commissioned from YouGov, for which 1,578 adult Britons were interviewed online on 23-24 June 2015. 

Perhaps the most striking finding of the survey was that a majority (56%) now considers that Islam, as distinct from Islamic fundamentalist groups, poses a threat (27% major, 29% some) to Western liberal democracy. This represents an increase on the levels immediately after 9/11 in 2001 (32%) and immediately after 7/7 in 2005 (46%). The groups most antipathetic to Islam in 2015 are UKIP supporters (83%), over-60s (71%), and Conservatives (63%). Just 15% assess that Islam presents no threat at all, the under-25s being most optimistic (33%). 

Moreover, as many as 15% (five points more than in 2005) agree that a large proportion of British Muslims feel no sense of loyalty to the country and are prepared to condone or even carry out acts of terrorism, rising to 45% of UKIP voters and 23% of over-60s. An additional 60% think there is a dangerous minority of disaffected Muslims, even if the great majority is peaceful and law-abiding, while merely 20% overall (but 36% of under-25s) accept that practically all British Muslims are peaceful and law-abiding and deplore terror attacks carried out in the name of Islam.    

The Huffington Post feature can be found at: 

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/07/03/77-bombings-muslims-islam-britain-poll_n_7694452.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular 

and the full data tables, which also cover attitudes to multiculturalism and the perceived likelihood of further terror attacks on the scale of 7/7, are at: 

https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/7kjmsq2f6j/HuffingtonPostResults_150624_British_Muslims_W.pdf

Tenth anniversary of 7/7 (2)

Another organization commemorating 7/7 by a new survey was British Future which released the results of its Survation poll on 2 July 2015, for which 3,977 Britons aged 18 and over had been interviewed online between 8 and 15 May 2015, including booster samples of Scottish and BME (black minority ethnic) respondents, which, inter alia, yielded a respectable unweighted number of 457 Muslims. Data tables are at: 

http://survation.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/British-Future-7-7-Poll-GB-Tables.pdf

The majority (54%) considered that community relations across ethnic and faith groups had deteriorated in the decade since 7/7, 19% saying they had got much worse and 35% slightly worse, with 37% perceiving no change and 9% some improvement. There was much less variation by demographic sub-groups than one might have imagined, albeit as many as 68% of UKIP voters discerned that relations had got worse. 

Asked whether they thought the British public did not hold ordinary British Muslims responsible for the Islamist terrorists behind 7/7, 51% agreed, 22% disagreed, and 27% were neutral. The dissentients, i.e. those who implicitly said that the public did hold British Muslims responsible, included 36% of Muslims, just three points less than the 39% who said the public did not see them as responsible. 

When the question was put in more personal terms, the majority (56%) accepted that Britain’s Muslims were opposed to the terrorist ideology behind 7/7, but 14% disagreed, with as many as 30% undecided. Those doubting Muslim opposition to terrorism included 28% of UKIP voters, 29% of those with the least positive attitude to immigration, and 27% with the least positive attitude to the European Union. Unsurprisingly, 72% of Muslims contended that their co-religionists were opposed to the ideology behind 7/7, yet even 12% of them claimed otherwise.  

Tunisian massacre

The murder of 38 tourists (including 30 Britons) by an Islamist gunman in a beach resort just north of Sousse, Tunisia was the most noticed news story of last week, according to an online poll by Populus of 2,052 adult Britons on 1-2 July 2015. It was mentioned by 66% of respondents. Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attack. 

Combating Islamic State (1)

Three-quarters of Britons are very or fairly worried that IS may attempt a terrorist attack in Britain, and only 19% are not, according to a YouGov poll for the Sunday Times conducted online among 1,531 adults on 2-3 July 2015. Over-60s (88%) are almost twice as anxious as the under-25s (47%), while UKIP and Conservative voters are also particularly concerned (87% and 84%, respectively). A plurality (45%) does not believe the police and security services have sufficient powers to combat IS in Britain, and a majority supports giving them wider powers, for example to monitor personal communications, to extend the period of detention without charge in the case of terrorist suspects, and to reintroduce control orders. 

Three-fifths agree that Britain and other Western countries should be doing more to counter IS in Iraq and Syria, including two-thirds of men, over-60s, Conservative and UKIP voters. Most Britons (57%, peaking at 71% among Conservatives) now favour extending RAF air strikes against IS to Syria, as well as Iraq, with just 21% disapproving. However, opinion is more divided about committing British and American ground troops to combat IS in either Iraq or Syria, with approximately two-fifths for and against in each case. A blog on the survey, with a link to the full data tables, can be found at: 

https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/07/05/most-would-approve-raf-air-strikes-syria/

There is a tracker of all YouGov polling on IS at:

https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/dl5mxnrekm/YG-Archives-Pol-Trackers-Iraq-Syria-and-ISIS-030715.pdf

Combating Islamic State (2)

Fewer than half (47%) of Britons feel that it will be possible to beat the threat posed by IS at the present time, with women (39%) being far less confident than men (56%). This is according to a poll by ICM Unlimited conducted for the Daily Mirror among an online sample of 2,001 adults on 1-3 July 2015. Although pluralities backed airstrikes against IS (48%), building up local armies to fight IS (46%), and the assassination of IS leaders (41%), there was more reluctance to commit British or other ground troops (30%). And just 32% had confidence that military action would make the region safer, 29% convinced that it would make it still more dangerous. In a follow-up survey of 2,016 adults on 3-5 July, there was also a minority holding positive views of IS, 3% being very favourable and 6% somewhat favourable toward them (against 80% being very unfavourable). In the absence of data tables in the public domain, the fullest accounts of the survey are currently to be found in two articles on the Mirror’s website at:   

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/isis-cannot-beaten-fear-more-6009156

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/uk-terror-attacks-inevitable-theres-6016015

Postscript: Data tables for both surveys have now been posted at:

http://www.icmunlimited.com/data/media/pdf/2015_mirror_isis_poll-2.pdf

Anti-Semitism

The Anti-Defamation League has recently (30 June 2015) updated The ADL Global 100: An Index of Anti-Semitism, the first (2014) edition of which was covered by BRIN on 22 May 2014 at: 

http://www.brin.ac.uk/news/2014/adl-index-of-anti-semitism/

For the update, between 10 March and 3 April 2015, Anzalone Liszt Grove Research conducted interviews, mostly by telephone, with 10,000 adults aged 18 and over in 19 countries, including Great Britain, 500 interviews in each apart from 1,000 in the United States. As in 2014, ADL created index scores by asking whether 11 negative statements about Jews were true or false, assent to at least six of them being taken as evidence of anti-Semitic sentiments. Britain, with 12%, registered the fourth lowest score of all 19 nations, after Denmark, the United States, and The Netherlands, with Turkey, Greece, and Iran being most anti-Semitic (with scores of 71%, 67%, and 60%, respectively). 

Responses to the 11 statements in Britain in 2015 were as follows: 

% across

True

False

Don’t know

Jews are more loyal to Israel than Britain

41

45

15

Jews still talk too much about what happened in Holocaust

26

65

9

Jews have too much power in international financial markets

22

64

14

Jews have too much power in business world

21

68

11

People hate Jews because of way Jews behave

19

72

9

Jews have too much control over US government

18

64

18

Jews don’t care what happens to anybody but their own

16

77

7

Jews have too much control over global affairs

15

76

8

Jews think they are better than other people

15

77

7

Jews have too much control over global media

12

76

12

Jews are responsible for most of world’s wars

6

88

6

As the following table of attitudes to five religious groups in Britain in 2015 reveals, Muslims are regarded in the most unfavourable light, with Jews viewed almost as positively as Christians, notwithstanding that only 27% interact with Jews very or somewhat often and 15% not at all. 

Attitudes to (% across)

Favourable

Unfavourable

Unrated

Christians

87

7

6

Jews

83

7

10

Buddhists

80

5

15

Hindus

79

7

13

Muslims

62

25

13

Besides the national cross-sections, an additional 100 interviews with Muslims were carried out by telephone in areas of high Muslim concentration in each of six Western European countries, including Britain, between 23 March and 8 April 2015. The smallness of the samples should encourage caution in interpreting the results, but it can be noted that Muslims in each country were found to have a very high anti-Semitic index score relative to the national average (54% versus 12% in the case of British Muslims).    

To access the press release, executive summary, and (interactively) country-by-country results for the 2015 update, follow the links at the foot of the home page of The ADL Global 100 website at: 

http://global100.adl.org/

Holocaust denial

According to the ADL poll, above, Holocaust denial, in the sense of the Holocaust being regarded as a myth which did not happen, is a negligible problem: 0% took this position in Britain, while 90% asserted that, not only did the Holocaust happen, but that the number of Jews who perished as a result has been fairly described by history.  

Nevertheless, Holocaust denial, which is not illegal in Britain, remains a sensitive matter for British Jews, 64% of whom believe that it should become a criminal offence, with a majority among all age cohorts, including 56% of under-35s. This is according to a Survation telephone poll for the Jewish Chronicle on 17-23 June 2015, for which 1,023 Jewish adults were interviewed. The result was briefly reported by the newspaper in the edition for 3 July 2015 at: 

http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/138711/two-thirds-say-they-want-denial-banned

 

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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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A Fortnight in Religious Statistics

Here are ten religious statistical news stories which have come to BRIN’s attention during the past fortnight.

Religious affiliation: population census (1)

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has just launched a public consultation around its initial view of the content of the 2021 population census for England and Wales. Responses, which can be either from organizations or individuals, need to be submitted by 27 August 2015. They may cover the full range of consultation topics or just the one(s) of particular concern. With regard to religious affiliation, the intention of ONS is to include a question on a voluntary basis, as in 2001 and 2011. In the interests of comparability, it is reluctant to change the actual wording. The consultation document asks respondents how they currently use the census religion data and what the impact on their work would be if such data were no longer collected. It is hoped that BRIN users would wish to support, by responding to ONS, the continued inclusion of a religion question in the census. More details are available by clicking the ‘complete the survey’ link on the consultation website at: 

https://consultations.ons.gov.uk/census/2021-census-topics-consultation

Religious affiliation: population census (2)

Higher education has often been assumed to have a secularizing effect, and the hypothesis is reasserted by James Lewis, ‘Education, Irreligion, and Non-Religion: Evidence from Select Anglophone Census Data’, Journal of Contemporary Religion, Vol. 30, No. 2, 2015, pp. 265-72. Utilizing religious affiliation data from the censuses of Australia in 2006, Canada in 2011, and England and Wales in 2011, he shows that college graduates have an above-average representation among people professing no religion and particularly among atheists, humanists, or agnostics. In England and Wales, for example, 18% of all adults were found to have a bachelor’s or higher degree, but the proportion was 24% for religious ‘nones’, rising to 40% for agnostics, 43% for humanists, and 44% for atheists (the last three categories being write-in replies). For Christians the figure was only 15%. Access options to the article are outlined at:  

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13537903.2015.1025556#.VXnlYOlRHX4

Religious affiliation: British Social Attitudes

As reported by Dr Ben Clements in his BRIN research note of 3 June 2015, NatCen Social Research has recently updated its religious affiliation trend data from the British Social Attitudes (BSA) Surveys. Statistics are now available for every year between 1983, when BSA commenced, and 2014, except for 1988 and 1992. NatCen concludes that the Church of England’s market share has declined throughout this period and appears to have accelerated during the past decade, both relatively and absolutely. It now claims the allegiance of only 17% of British adults compared with 40% in 1983. Whereas there were 16.5 million adult Anglicans in 1983, there were just 8.6 million in 2014. Roman Catholic allegiance has been much steadier, at around one in ten of the population (or 4 million adults), while the number of non-Christians has quintupled. Those professing no religion have risen from one-third to one-half as a proportion, and, in figures, from 12.8 million in 1983 to 24.7 million in 2014. NatCen’s press release is at: 

http://www.natcen.ac.uk/news-media/press-releases/2015/may/british-social-attitudes-church-of-england-decline-has-accelerated-in-past-decade/

Church growth

Towards a Theology of Church Growth, edited by David Goodhew (Farnham: Ashgate, 2015, ISBN 9781472414007, £19.99, paperback) comprises 12 chapters together with a foreword (by the Archbishop of Canterbury) and a conclusion (by the editor). Although numerical growth of the Church (especially of local congregations) is a constant presence in the book, and continues to be regarded as important, the volume is less concerned with statistics (which are remarkably thin on the ground) than with exploring a theology of church growth from the perspectives of the Bible, Christian doctrine, and church history. The historical section contains five essays, ranging from the early Church to Britain from 1750 to 1970, the author of the last (Dominic Erdozain) conceding the reality of church decline while simultaneously proposing ‘a more optimistic account of the Christian ecology of modern Britain’.  Further information can be found at: 

https://www.ashgate.com/default.aspx?page=637&title_id=19791&edition_id=1209349895&calcTitle=1

Religion and physician-assisted suicide

Thanks are due to Dr Ben Clements for drawing BRIN’s attention to some new research into religion and physician-assisted suicide: Andriy Danyliv and Ciaran O’Neill, ‘Attitudes towards Legalising Physician Provided Euthanasia in Britain: The Role of Religion over Time’, Social Science & Medicine, Vol. 128, March 2015, pp. 52-6. Utilizing evidence from the British Social Attitudes (BSA) Surveys for six data-points between 1983 and 2012, the authors demonstrate statistically significant increased support for the legalization of physician-assisted suicide (for patients suffering a painful and incurable disease) running parallel with growth in indicators of secularization. Multivariate analysis showed that religious affiliation and, more especially, frequency of attendance at religious services were the principal predictors of attitudes to physician-assisted suicide, with support for legalization being greatest among those with least religious commitment. Access options to the article are outlined at:  

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953614008387

Attitudes to religious groups

A plurality of Britons (40%) has a negative impression of Muslims, almost double the number regarding them positively (22%), with 37% neutral. This is according to a YouGov/Eurotrack seven-nation survey conducted between 20 and 27 May 2015, for which 1,667 Britons were interviewed online. The number viewing Muslims negatively was higher in Britain than in Germany, Norway, and Sweden, the same as in France, but lower than in Denmark and Finland (45%). 

Jews, by contrast, were regarded much more favourably, with 41% in Britain having a positive impression (a figure bettered only in Sweden), 50% being neutral and just 7% negative (the smallest number of any of the nations, Sweden excepted). In fact, Christians in Britain had a greater negative rating (11%) than Jews, albeit their positive score was also higher (45%), with 42% neutral to Christians. Danes (47%) held the most positive attitudes to Christians and Norwegians (38%) the least. 

A summary of the British data is tabulated below. Results for all seven nations, also covering opinions of five other groups (gypsies, gay people, black people, young people, and the elderly) can be found at: 

https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/g96awulgzv/Eurotrack_Minorities_W.pdf

Attitudes to … (% down)

Muslims

Jews

Christians

Very positive

6

15

17

Fairly positive

16

26

28

Positive

22

41

45

Neither positive nor negative

37

50

42

Fairly negative

24

6

9

Very negative

16

1

2

Negative

40

7

11

Don’t know

2

2

2

Religious diversity

Somewhat contrary to authorial expectations, practising (churchgoing) Christians are more interested in and more tolerant of other religious groups than nominal Christians or the religiously unaffiliated, according to new analysis of data from the ‘Young People’s Attitudes to Religious Diversity’ project at Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit: Leslie Francis, Alice Pyke, and Gemma Penny, ‘Christian Affiliation, Christian Practice, and Attitudes to Religious Diversity: A Quantitative Analysis among 13- to 15-Year-Old Female Students in the UK’, Journal of Contemporary Religion, Vol. 30, No. 2, 2015, pp. 249-63. The authors interpret their findings to mean that Church teaching and Christian practice are nurturing the development of the UK as a multi-cultural and multi-faith society. Access options to the article are outlined at: 

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13537903.2015.1026116#.VXntlulRHX4

Evangelicals and poverty

Good News for the Poor? is the latest report from the Evangelical Alliance’s 21st Century Evangelicals series, which commenced in 2011. It is based upon replies by 1,607 self-identifying evangelical Christians to an online survey in November 2014. They were either members of the Alliance’s self-selecting research panel or recruited via open invitation on the Alliance’s website or social media networks; thus, they may not be representative of all evangelicals in the UK. The overwhelming majority of respondents (93%) was found to be in a financially comfortable position themselves (being either wealthy, having no financial worries, or getting by) and, relative to the general public, they tended to have higher than average expectations about ownership of material possessions (except when it came to television). Through their attitudes and actions (charitable giving and volunteering) they mostly recognized the importance of tackling poverty issues and expressed concern about the fall-out from Government welfare reforms. Nevertheless, 71% agreed that spiritual poverty is a bigger problem than material poverty, with 77% saying that, compared with some overseas countries, the UK is spiritually destitute and 66% that Churches in the UK are not very good at evangelizing and discipling the poorest sections of society. The report can be downloaded from: 

http://www.eauk.org/church/resources/snapshot/upload/Good-news-for-the-poor-report-pdf.pdf

Sikhs and the general election

In our post of 25 May 2015, we reported on the results of the Survation/British Future poll of the voting of ethnic minorities at the 2015 general election, including breaks by religious groups. The reliability of this survey has subsequently been questioned in various quarters, not least by the Sikh Federation (UK) which has argued that Sikhs were seriously underrepresented in the sample and that the figures given by Survation for Sikh voting (49% Conservative, 41% Labour) were misleading. In an attempt to convey the ‘correct’ picture, the Federation has published the findings of its own post-election survey of the voting of 1,000 Sikh electors in 190 constituencies. This revealed that 50% voted Labour, 36% Conservative (up from 15% in 2010), and 15% for other parties. The Federation’s two press releases on the subject can be found at: 

http://dailysikhupdates.com/british-future-survey-challenged-on-how-sikhs-voted-in-uk-elections/

British National Bibliography religion and theology data

Thanks are due to Dr Peter Webster for alerting BRIN to the recent release, by The British Library, of a subset of metadata from the British National Bibliography (BNB) for religion and theology (Dewey Decimal Classification 200-299). The dataset, covering 119,000 monographs and 4,200 serials published in Britain from 1950 to the present, is available for download and reuse on a Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication basis. It will permit analysis of trends in religious publishing since the Second World War and can be downloaded from: 

http://www.bl.uk/bibliographic/download.html

 

Posted in Historical studies, Official data, Religion and Politics, Religion and Social Capital, Religious Census, Survey news | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment