Herewith the headlines from five new sources of British religious statistics, arranged in order of their date of release:
Creationism versus Evolution
Whereas 51% of Americans still believe that God created human beings in their present form within the last 10,000 years, this view is shared by only 17% of Britons and 22% of Canadians. Some 69% of adults in Britain take the contrary line, that human beings evolved from less advanced life forms over millions of years, with the figure rising to 74% among men and residents of the South of England outside London (in London itself it fell to 60%, reflecting the capital’s ethnic and religious pluralism). 14% of Britons were unsure what to think.
Source: Survey by Angus Reid Public Opinion released on 5 September 2012. Online interviews were conducted with 2,010 Britons aged 18 and over on 30 and 31 August 2012, and also with representative samples of Americans and Canadians around the same time. Report available at:
Religion Hate Crimes in England and Wales, 2011/12
There were 1,621 religion-related hate crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales in 2011/12, representing 4% of all hate crimes. This was a similar number to disability hate crimes but was overshadowed by the 35,816 race hate crimes. Religion hate crimes occurred in each police force area, albeit they only reached three figures in the Metropolitan Police Area and Greater Manchester, where they accounted respectively for 8% and 6% of all hate crimes. Three-quarters of religion hate crimes involved violence against the person, 19% criminal damage, and 6% other notifiable offences. Data for previous years have been published by the Association of Chief Police Officers but they are not strictly comparable with those now collated (for the first time) by the Home Office.
Source: Home Office statistical news release and tables of 13 September 2012, available at:
79% of English adults agree that the Church of England should allow women to become bishops. This compares with 74% of Britons in another poll (ComRes in July) and 85% of regular Anglican churchgoers (Christian Research in March-May). Proponents were most numerous among the under-35s and female respondents. Opposition, 11% overall, ran highest with the over-65s (20%). In the event of the Church not allowing women to become bishops (the matter is still being debated by the hierarchy and General Synod), 20% said that they would take a less favourable view of the Church, rising to 31% among the 18-24s. 67% claimed that it would make no difference to what they thought about the Church, the majority (38%) of whom already regarded the Church negatively (the 25-34s, skilled manual workers, and residents of North-East England being especially critical, all on 45%).
Source: ComRes survey for BBC Local Radio released on 13 September 2012. Telephone interviews were conducted with 2,594 English adults between 24 August and 9 September 2012. Data tables available at:
Cameron versus Miliband
Asked to rate Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband on a variety of attributes, 34% of electors considered Cameron to be the stronger ‘man of faith’, with only 16% saying the same of Miliband. The remaining 50% thought that neither deserved the designation or did not know. Cameron was most likely to be regarded as the stronger man of faith by Conservative voters, those satisfied with the Coalition Government, and the over-65s, while Labour supporters, the 18-24s, Northerners and manual workers disproportionately identified Miliband as the stronger man of faith. The reality, to judge by what they have said in interviews, is that Cameron has ‘a sort of fairly classic Church of England faith, a faith that grows hotter and colder by moments’, and that Miliband professes atheism although sometimes plays up his family’s Jewish roots.
Source: Ipsos MORI poll for the Evening Standard, released on 19 September 2012. Telephone interviews were conducted with 1,006 adult Britons aged 18 and over between 15 and 17 September 2012. Full results contained in Tables 45 and 46 at:
Interest in Church Weddings
Unique visits to www.yourchurchwedding.org, the Church of England’s one-stop weddings website, increased by 50% between 2010 and 2011. The Church credits the growing interest in church weddings to the change in the law in 2008, which made it easier to marry in church, and to the Church’s greater visibility at wedding shows. The Daily Telegraph for 21 September 2012 also highlighted the positive effect of the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Westminster Abbey in 2011. The actual number of marriages solemnized in the Church of England in 2011 is not yet known, but it was 54,710 in 2010, 4% more than in 2009.
Source: Church of England press release of 20 September 2012, available at:
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