'Action needed over broken Britain'

The Church of England intends to take a far more high profile stand on moral issues than it has done in recent years, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

'Action needed over broken Britain'
Britain is a "broken society" and urgent action is needed, by the Government as well as the Church, to restore a sense of moral integrity to the nation, Dr Rowan Williams told The Daily Telegraph.

He called for the abortion law to be tightened, saying: "People are not happy about abortion as a back stop to contraception." And he added: "It's not like having a tooth out."

He praised Prime Minister Gordon Brown for changing tack on Tony Blair's plan for supercasinos and for plans to review the 24 hour drinking laws. "I'm pleased that one of the first things he did was to reverse the legislation about gambling, and the hint that they might be looking again at 24-hour drinking," he said.

In a wide-ranging interview he also argued that the war in Iraq had made it easier for extremists to rally support. "It has shored up this huge victim identity among Muslims, the sense that all over the world there are places that we are being attacked. An unscrupulous or fanatical preacher can very easily present this as a single picture."

But he disagreed with Justice Secretary Jack Straw that Muslim women should remove their veils. "If the question is can you choose to be British and wear the veil, of course you can."

But he also feels strongly about the wearing of crosses: "Maybe a school has a jewellery policy but a cross isn't jewellery."

The Archbishop also said middle class parents were damaging their children by pressurising them to achieve and forcing them to take up extra-curricular activities.

"Children live crowded lives, we're not making their lives easy by pressurising them, whether it's the claustrophobia of gang culture or the claustrophobia of intense achievement in middle class areas," he said.

Press Association
Last Mod: 16 Eylül 2007, 12:20
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