Essential Reading for Christians Across the Political Spectrum
This was an unexpected jewel, and a timely book considering all the press and TV programs that vilify the poor as benefit-scrounging scum. The book is short, and presents intelligent, statistical analysis of poverty and faith in the UK and a reasoned biblical and theological response to poverty without being emotive. This makes it essential reading for Christians of all political persuasions, to challenge their assumptions and check they are basing their opinions on fact rather than myth. I found it inspiring – in a world that is so often dark and depressing, it makes me glad that there are people like Natalie Wiliams and Martyn Charlesworth. They give me hope.
Through the authors’ research (which was of a high standard and moderated by an independent researcher) I was shocked to discover these facts:
- “Children living in poverty were twice as likely to come from a working household than one in which no adult works”
- Academic analysis of media coverage of the poor shows “a thinly veiled attitude…that poverty is a character defect.”
- Under Thatcher’s government, welfare spending (as a percentage of GDP) was higher than Blair’s, which was lowest since 1950s. Now lower still.
- “Inequality between richest and poorest has risen faster in Britain that in any other developed country since 1975.”
- When Christians were asked about the morality of economic inequality the answers split according to which political party they supported.
- Conservative-voting Christians were significantly less sympathetic to poor than Green or Labour-voting Christians.
There were so many other brilliant facts and observations that my book is worn out from all the underlining. Highly Recommended.