Christianity 'Neglected' by Labour, Says CoE Report; POLITICS

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The Government favours Islam and other minority religions while paying only "lip service" to Christianity, according to a new Church of England report.

The highly critical study says Labour focuses "intently" on minority faiths while neglecting the Church of England, according to newspaper reports.

The study is said to accuse the Government of ignoring the breakdown in society and failing to recognise the Church's potential contribution to public affairs.

"We encountered on the part of the Government a significant lack of understanding, or interest in, the Church of England's current or potential contribution in the public sphere.

"Indeed we were told that Government had consciously decided to focus... almost exclusively on minority religions."

In contrast, the study, entitled Moral, But No Compass, praises the Conservatives for their "strident" plans to tackle poverty.

It calls for a minister for religion to be appointed, and accuses the Government of "religious illiteracy".

The report also says: "The Government has focused so intensely on minority faiths that it has failed to develop a coherent evidence base for the largest religious body in the UK, the Christian church."

A Church of England spokesman refused to comment on the report, but con;rmed that it will be published today.

Bishop Stephen Lowe, who deals with Urban Life and Faith, commissioned the The Von Hugel Institute at Cambridge to carry out the study.

The spokesman added: "The hardhitting report 'raises issues of considerable importance', the authors say, and makes recommendations that challenge the Government to recognise the Churches' involvement and potential in public service reform, and for the Churches to commit to mobilise even more resources. …