Christianity, Politics, the Poor and the Planet – October, 2015

On Wednesday the 21st of October, CEME Chairman Lord Brian Griffiths and Dr. Richard Turnbull (Director), took part in a conference held at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in London. The focus of the event was to challenge and debate concepts within “Christianity, politics, the poor and the planet“.

The event was formed of two panels, one on poverty and inequality, and one on the environment.

Poverty and Inequality panel speakers:

  • – Steve Baker MP, MP for Wycombe; Founder of The Cobden Centre
  • – Rev. Professor Philip Davis, Principal Research Fellow, NIESR; Pastor, Penge Baptist Church.
  • – Dr Eliza Filby, Author of “God and Mrs Thatcher”
  • – Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach, Vice-Chairman, Goldman Sachs International; Chairman of Trustees, Christian Responsibility in Public Affairs
  • – Rev. Dan Stork Banks MBA, Social commentator and pastoral presence on the free market right (Chair)

Environment panel speakers:

  • – Paul Cook, Advocacy Director, Tearfund
  • – Dr Stephen F. Copp, Associate Professor, Department of Law, Bournemouth University (Chair)
  • – Lord Donoughue, Trustee, Global Warming Policy Foundation; Co-Author of “The Papal Encyclical: A critical Christian response”
  • – Revd Dr Richard Turnbull, Director, Centre for Enterprise, Markets and Ethics

About the panels:

Christianity and inequality

Churches have always been concerned about the problem of poverty even if there are differences in views about how it should be tackled. However, in recent years, despite inequality in the world falling, there have been an increasing number of critics of the “rich” and of the level of inequality.

This panel discussed the approaches Christians should take to reducing poverty and whether we should be concerned about inequality as such or simply the position of the poor. The focus was on the poor in richer countries.

Christianity and the environment

The pope recently published an encyclical letter on the environment whilst most Christians would agree that we should “care for the common home” there was little acknowledgement in the encyclical of trade-offs, the way in which globalisation and free trade has lifted many out of poverty, or  the possibility that adaptation might be better than trying to stop global warming.

This panel discussed the appropriate Christian attitude towards the environment and the policies that should be adopted to continue the exceptional recent history of poverty reduction.

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