Nothing personal about morality statistics

21st April 1995 at 01:00
In criticising the Archbishop of York's equation of low crime with high Protestant church attendance, Anna Freeman (TES, April 7) poses a question that the Archbishop was not answering.

The point, at least in an English context, is not that, person-to-person, non-religious people might behave worse than religious people. It is rather that secular alternatives to religion have been unable to endorse the shame that most people feel at the prospect of committing certain crimes. When large numbers of people are effectively taught that there is nothing to be ashamed of, more of them are likely to stop at nothing.

The study to which the Archbishop was referring suggests that over a large sample, there has been a statistical coincidence between lower levels of crime and Protestant church-going. Ms Freeman will not, apparently, accept even that, let alone a correlation. She evidently regards it as an attack on her virtue which is, I am sure, impregnable.

Her ribald diatribe against Christianity reads as if it has served some cathartic purpose. But Christianity is only one of six religions that appear in RE syllabuses, and which are represented in this country.

Perhaps those who think like her can throw off their politically correct, discriminatorily negative concentration on Christianity, and tell us what they think of the other five religions, and of parents who nurture children according to their tenets.

RICHARD WILKINS

General secretary

Association of Christian Teachers

94A London Road, St Albans

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