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Religion and Community Cohesion Unit 1 Religion and Life
How and why attitudes to the roles of men and women have changed? The traditional view is that men are the breadwinners, earning money, so their wife can look after the children at home. Over the 20 th century many people campaigned to give women equal rights. 1928 Electoral Reform Act gave women the right to vote and allowed women to stand as Members of Parliament. 1970 Equal Pay Act, requiring employers to give the same pay as men. 1975 Sex Discrimination Act made it illegal to discriminate in employment on gender or whether someone was married. Attitudes have changed because: • During WWI and WWII when women had to do jobs previously done by men. • The work of the suffragette movement to gain equal voting and political rights. • Post-war Britain when women workers were needed and married women needed to provide a second income. • The Labour governments of 1964 -70 and 1974 -79 committed to equal rights. Despite the equality women enjoy in law, attitudes have taken longer to change and many women still experience discrimination in the work place.
Christian Attitudes to equal rights for women in religion Fundamentalist Protestants say a woman’s role is to bring up children and run a Christian home. The man is the head of the household and should be obeyed. Only men can be church leaders. This is because: • Jesus chose only men as his twelve apostles to spread his teachings. • St Paul teaches the women should not teach or speak in church, making reference to Adam and Eve and how Adam was created first and Eve led him astray. Liberal Protestants accept that men and women should have equal rights and can be church leaders. • Jesus treated women as his equals, such as when he spoke to the Samaritan woman in John 4. • Galatians 3: 28 teaches that ‘there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus’. Roman Catholics women have the same rights as men, but cannot be ordained (deacons, priests or bishops). • Only men can be priests because the apostles were all men, and priests and bishops are successors of the apostles. • Only men can be priests because Jesus was a man and the priest represents Jesus in the Mass.
Muslim Attitudes to equal rights for women in religion The traditional attitude is that men and women have different roles in life and religion. Woman Man Create a halal home Provide for the family by working Have children and bring them up as good Muslims Make sure the children go to madrasah Perform religious duties in the home Worship God in the mosque with their sons. This is because the Qur’an states ‘Men are the ones who support women since God has given some persons advantages over others’ (Surah 4: 34). Moreover that women have been created to have children and men to provide for them. A more modern attitude is that men and women should have equal roles in life and religion. Women should have careers, although their role as a mother should take priority over their career. A few would accept women religious leaders. This is because: • The Qur’an teaches that men and women are equal in religion ‘ ‘Whoever works deeds of righteousness, man or woman – verily to him will We give a new life. (Surah 16: 97) • Muhammad treated men and women equally ‘ The search for knowledge is a duty for every Muslim, male or female’ (Hadith) • Muhammad encourages men and women to worship in the mosque. • There women religious leaders during the early stages of Islam.
The United Kingdom as a multi-ethnic society 1. Many people have come to Britain from Ireland due to its proximity. 3. Many of the British colonies joined the Commonwealth, maintaining the links to the UK. 2 Citizens from countries ruled by the British Empire were allowed people to settle here. 4. Post-war Britain needed workers and recruited from around the world, especially the Commonwealth. 5. The UK joined the European Union in 1973. All EU citizens have the right to live and work in the UK.
Discrimination and racism Problems for certain ethnic groups include: • Poor school results. • Lack of job opportunities. • No or poor housing. • Lack of trust between them and the Police. Effects of discrimination and racism: • Groups not feeling they belong. • Turn to crime. • Opportunity for radicalisation and extremism. • Rise of groups like the British National Party (BNP). Benefits of a multi-ethnic society • Brings in new ideas and new ways of doing things. Open societies tend to be more progressive. • Life is more interesting with a variety, food, music, fashion and entertainment. • More business opportunities, encouraging international trade and new businesses in the UK. • Greater understanding on international issues, such as war and conflict.
Government action to promote community cohesion • Passing laws to promote equality and fair treatment, including Race Relations Act 1976 and Race Relations Amendment Act 2001. • Established the Equality and Human Rights Commission to promote community cohesion and hold Government to account. • Including community cohesions part of the national education curriculum. • Encouraging greater representation of ethnic minorities in decision-making. Community cohesion is important because: • otherwise there can be violence and civil unrest. For example the Race Riots experienced in Northern Towns (Oldham, Burnley and Bradford) in 2001. • there can be terrorism. The 7/7 Bombing in London in 2007 and more recently young Britons travelling to join ISIS in Syria and Iraq. • communities can lead ‘parallel lives’ and misunderstand each other.
Why should religion promote racial harmony? For Christians: • Jesus treated everyone as his equal, including a Samaritan woman in John 4. • In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Christians are taught to help anyone in need regardless of who they are. • St Paul taught that ‘there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus’ (Galatians 3: 28). • The Christian Church is made up of members from every country around the world. For Muslims: • The Qur’an teaches that all races are equal and come from pair of humans, Adam and Eve. • Muhammad taught that ‘an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab has superiority over an Arab’ in his last sermon. • Muhammad’s first prayer caller was a black African Muslim. • Islam teaches that all Muslims form one brotherhood, called the Ummah. All Muslims should regard themselves as brothers and sisters.
The UK as a multi-faith society The benefits. These include 1. People can learn about different religions and what they have in common. 2. People can reflect on their religious practises in comparison to others. 3. Encourages greater religious tolerance and understanding. 4. Collectively faith has a greater influence in society. Bringing up children. A multi-faith society can cause children to question and even reject their family’s faith and make life choices that alienate them from their family. Children may feel pressure to remain in the faith and prevent their families from worrying about achieving a good life after death. Conversion. Many religions see it as their duty to convert others to their religion as it the only true religion and its believers will go to heaven. However, trying to convert others could be seen as wrongly assuming one religion is right and the others are false and a cause of conflict in society. Interfaith marriages. There are likely to be more inter-faith marriages as people meet, fall in love and want to marry. Often they cannot have a religious wedding and there is a question of how they will bring up the children. It may make it difficult for the two families to integrate.
Ways in which religions promote community cohesion Inter-faith dialogue. Different religions are meeting internationally and locally to enter into dialogue from the perspective of their religious traditions to find common ground and points of agreement. This helps form a ‘common vision’ or ‘common goal’. Inter-faith marriage. Different religions are making it easier for couples from different religious traditions to marry. They are more welcoming of couples and their families to create a greater sense of belonging in their local areas, attending local places of worship and making friends. Inter-faith services. Different religions participate together in acts of worship, showing solidarity with one another, especially when there are tensions locally or internationally. It is a way of showing the acceptance of all faiths in the community and that they have an important role in modern Britian. Inter-faith groups. Such groups meet more frequently and examine each other’s traditions in more detail through an on-going conversation and friendship that may involve more formal learning about different religions. It provides a place that people meet regularly and feel is ‘theirs’.
How does ‘East is East’ present religion and community cohesion? What issues does ‘East is East’ explore? 1. What opportunities or challenges do George and Ella Khan experience in their inter-faith marriage? 2. What are the different expectations of George and Ella and their children? 3. What challenges do the children face growing up in Salford in the 1970 s? Why do you think these issues are important? 1. Why is inter-faith marriage an important social issue today? 2. Why might faith still be important in a secular society? 3. How might a religious upbringing include many challenges common to any family? Whether the film was fair to religious beliefs and people 1. Did the film examine a range of perspectives on religious beliefs and people, including non-religious attitudes? 2. Did the film look at the benefits as well as the problems of religious beliefs and people?