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Use Power of Gospel to Stop Gangs

Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu.

Friday 26th October 2007

Jonathan Petre writes in the Daily Telegraph

Government efforts to tackle gang violence have been sharply criticised by the Archbishop of York for failing to exploit effective Christian initiatives. 

Dr John Sentamu said that the recent spate of murders linked to gun and knife crime had resulted in all sorts of actions plans.

But established and successful Christian organisations were being sidelined by the Government because of its woolly multi-faith policies.

"The approach that it has too often favoured has been a well intentioned but muddled syncretism that treats all faiths equally," he said. "This has blinded the Government to the real worth that is actually being carried out by those groups whose values are rooted in the soil of faith.

"But if we are to be serious in tackling the challenges presented by these gangs, guns and knives we need to examine and support those initiatives that have succeeded and where faith has played a major role, rather than minimising the role of faith in transforming lives and communities."

Dr Sentamu, who was speaking at the opening of new Christian youth centre in Birmingham, said that the Government needed to recognise the "power of the Gospel" in transforming former gang members into model citizens.

His comments follow criticisms by other Church leaders that the Government is hampering Christian initiatives with red tape and penalising organisations that do not conform to its equality agenda on issues such as homosexuality.

The Archbishop, who was Bishop of Birmingham before he moved to York, appealed to young people to turn away from the influences of celebrity culture.

"Recognise that there is more to life than being famous," he said. "There is more to life than being on TV, to winning a talent show or being in the papers.

"God created you to do much more than that. And lest anyone is confused, when I talk about God I don't mean Simon Cowell....

"The world we live in is your inheritance, so value it."

The article is available from the Telegraph website.

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