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Less sex please, we’re British


Jackie Gregory
WVoN co-editor

Sex and whether we are having too much of it, is what the Bishop of London wants us to ponder as we wave our union jacks and dance to the tune of royalty.

The Right Reverend Richard Chartres claims promiscuity and divorce has reached epidemic proportions and we should use the Diamond Jubilee as a time to mend our wicked ways.

He says Britain has changed enormously throughout the Queen’s reign, much of it for the better, but that an obsession with SEX – the Church of England always seems to spit that word out – has left us with a broken society, reports the Press Association.

“Literally millions of children grow up without knowing a stable, loving, secure family life – and that is not to count the hundreds of thousands more who don’t even make it out of the womb each year,” he says.

“Promiscuity, separation and divorce have reached epidemic proportions in our society. Perhaps, then, we shouldn’t be surprised that depression and the prescription of anti-depressants has reached a similarly epidemic level.”

Reflecting on the word ‘jubilee’, the Bishop says it means the ‘long view’ and that we should take a long view of our society and consider what we shall bequeath to future generations. His discourse does focus greatly on dealing with debt, but it is his remarks about sex that have hit the headlines.

The implication of his argument is that we should all go back to playing happy families again – perhaps  just like that happiest of families – the royal household.

While the Bishop may be unhappy about the 21st society, he should take off any rose-tinted glasses about how life was for women 60 years ago.

These were the days when pregnant women were marched down the aisle to respectability – and more often to years of unhappy marriage. No depression here then? Just thousands of females feeling compelled to lie back and think of England, while the church suppressed their screams of despair under the bondage of duty and servitude.

The days when women did not have so much control over their own contraception needs, and had to put their lives in the hands of backstreet abortionists to avoid the ‘shame’ of unmarried motherhood. A time when society snatched children from their unmarried mothers and put them out for adoption. A time when women had to give up their jobs and their identity once they married and became known as Mrs John Smith.

He praises the Queen for her “quiet dignity” but fails to point the finger at the Royal family, which has led the way in promiscuity, divorce, depression, extravagance and materialism in the past six decades. But then again he is a long time friend of the right royal adulterer and profligate Prince Charles.

Chartres, who is in the running to be the next Archbishop of Canterbury, is considered to be in the anglo-catholic conservative wing of the Church of England, and The Bible Society is issuing his Jubilee pamphlet to every MP.

Some will rejoice that he quotes Margaret Thatcher in it. “No generation has a freehold on this earth. All we have is a life tenancy — with a full repairing lease… we are its guardians and trustees for generations to come,” says the woman who smashed the mining unions and whole communities with it.

As The Independent points out: “The bishop’s remarks will chime with the conservative element of the church at a time of evangelical protests against abortion clinics.”

The paper also notes divorce and abortion rates in Britain have been declining in recent years.  The number of married couples separating has been in decline for the past seven years, with the exception of last year which saw a 4.9% rise in divorce.

The Bishop’s pamphlet can be read in full here. In it he concludes: “There is no return to Churchill’s Britain or to the seemingly attractive but ultimately oppressive social experiments of the 1960s. We need a fresh narrative that appreciates the real virtues communicated by our history but which transcends our recent past.”

Legs crossed this fresh narrative doesn’t wipe out the hard fought gains for women’s rights since the Queen took to the throne.

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