Anglican and Other Issues

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:

The full report on Everyone Counts will not be published until later in 2015 but several key findings (covering other attributes of diversity, as well as ethnicity) are at:

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:

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:–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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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: 

% across


Don’t care

All Britons









No religion



British Religion in Numbers: All the material published on this website is subject to copyright. We explain further here.

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