This is no longer true. Both Sentamu and Welby are evangelicals, and Sentamu is energetically hostile to gay clergy. Their conservatism on sexual morality is intimately connected to their distrust of an unfettered market economy. Also, since the 80s, and especially in the past five years, the state has retreated a once unimaginable distance from the ideas of the welfare state.
Food banks, a largely Christian movement, have become commonplace.
The Church of England has attempted, without much success, to supply alternatives to payday loans. Faith groups have campaigned for the living wage. In some sense they are already practising what they preach. Whether the people in the pews are onside with their clergy is quite a different question. Reply on Twitter. Join in on Facebook.
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How to Write the Pepperdine University Essays 12222-2020
Give Today. Tara Isabella Burton. She is a Clarendon Scholar at Trinity College, Oxford, working on a doctorate in theology, and recently completed her first novel. Brought to you by Curio , an Aeon partner.
Edited by Marina Benjamin. Cults, generally speaking, are a lot like pornography: you know them when you see them. Of course, they argued vehemently that they were not a cult.
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Less easy, though, is identifying why. Plenty of these movements were associated with young people — especially young counter-cultural people with suspicious politics — adding a particular political tenor to the discourse surrounding them. The anti-cult networks believed that cults brainwashed their members the idea of mind control, as scholars such as Margaret Singer point out, originated in media coverage of torture techniques supposedly used by North Korea during the Korean War.
The Baptist pastor Walter Ralston Martin was sufficiently disturbed by the proliferation of religious pluralism in the US to write The Kingdom of the Cults , which delineated in detail the theologies of those religious movements Martin identified as toxic, and provided Biblical avenues for the enterprising mainstream Christian minister to oppose them. With more than half a million copies sold, it was one of the top-selling spiritual books of the era.
Writing the history of cults in the US, therefore, is also writing the history of a discourse of fear: of the unknown, of the decline in mainstream institutions, of change. Particularly gruesome anecdotes often told by emotionally compromised former members worked to place the entire religious movement beyond the bounds of cultural legitimacy and to justify extreme measures — from deprogramming to robust conservatorship laws — to prevent vulnerable people falling victim to the cultic peril.
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This terror peaked when atrocity tales began outnumbering genuine horrors. This influential atrocity tale influenced the three-year case in the s against an administrator of the McMartin Preschool in Los Angeles and her son, a teacher, that racked up 65 crimes. The prosecution spun a fear-stoking narrative around outlandish claims, including bloody animal mutilations.
The number of convictions? But mass-media hysteria made Satanic panic a national crisis, and a pastime.
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And yet it is impossible to dismiss anti-cult work as pure hysteria. There might not be Satanists lurking round every corner, lying in wait to kidnap children or sacrifice bunny rabbits to Satan, but the dangers of spiritual, emotional and sexual abuse in small-scale, unsupervised religious communities, particularly those isolated from the mainstream or dominant culture, is real enough. It is also keenly contemporary. And some groups are, without a doubt, toxic. Does such extreme disciplinarianism make the Remnant Fellowship a cult?
Or does the question of labelling distract us from wider issues at hand? Such definitions also depend on who is doing the defining.
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