Beliefnet News

British Prime Minister David Cameron says a national “moral collapse” led to the widespread looting and violence across English cities last week.

Meanwhile charity workers  blamed “fatherlessness” and the breakdown of the British family.

In a speech at Oxford Monday, Cameron pledged to “review every aspect of our work to mend our broken society, on schools, welfare, families, parenting, addiction, communities, on the cultural, legal, bureaucratic problems in our society; from the twisting and misrepresenting of human rights that has undermined personal responsibility, to the obsession with health and safety that has eroded people’s willingness to act according to common sense.”

More than 2,800 people have been arrested across Britain.

In Birmingham, around 2,000 took part in a memorial for three men killed as they defended their property.

On Sunday, churches across Britain joined in praying for the restoration of the nation. Individual Christians and organizations such as Youth for Christ have been part of the response in affected communities, helping to clear up the mess and providing practical assistance to victims.

In London, hundreds gathered at Methodist Central Hall in Westminster for a prayer vigil on Saturday organized by Premier Christian Radio.

Britain’s Christian community must provide a strong visible presence on the nation’s streets, said said Les Isaac, founder of Street Pastors, an organization that was launched in 2003 in response to London’s growing gang culture and hooligan behavior.

Isaac issued the call after watching the scenes of rioting and looting last week that has left the country in a state of shock, bewilderment and soul searching.

Christian charity worker Dan Boucher told the Telegraph newspaper Britain is a “broken society” and a “key element” in the mix was the place of the family and the role of fathers. He noted echoed the concerns of many at the sight of children participating among the rioters and looters, saying that it raised questions about the kind of family life children in Britain are experiencing today.

“The sad fact is that without a functional family, children and young people will be more vulnerable to the appeal of the surrogate family of the gang which is well able to provide an alternative, and deeply destructive sense of identity, belonging and purpose,” said Boucher.

Boucher’s co-worker Nola Leach called upon the Prime Minister to do more to recognize marriage in the tax system.

“A child born to cohabiting parents has a nearly one in two chance of living in a one parent home by the time they reach their fifth birthday,” she said, “whilst a child born to married parents has only a one in twelve chance of finding themselves in this situation.

“The Prime Minister must now take action and make recognizing marriage in the tax system and investing much more in the single biggest determinant of the quality of parenting, the relationship between the parents, via marriage support, his number one priority for the coming year.”

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