Sir Fred Catherwood is older than I am, which makes him fairly elderly, but he is still hard at work. Knighted for public service years ago, he recently ended a spell as a vice president of the European Parliament in order to lead Britain's Evangelical Alliance in a new urban initiative. In September's "Evangelicals Now," he writes about his venture under the jolting title "Before It's Too Late."
"British society has gone badly wrong," he begins. "You don't just have to look at the terrible statistics. People have started to look back to the good old days - not so long ago - when the streets were safe, everyone had a job, most people had a home, children stayed at school, the family stayed together and we all looked forward to better times." I can testify that there were indeed such days: the years of stubborn national endeavor that followed the Second World War.
"We look back today," he continues, "because we dare not look forward. We live in a violent, greedy, rootless, cynical and hopeless society and we don't know what's to become of it all." When I revisit Britain as a Brit on family and other business, I meet apprehensive apathy everywhere. I wish Sir Fred was wrong, but I know he's right.
The decline, he tells us, has two causes, both of them signs of how Britain has slipped its historic Christian moorings. The first is greed - "the logical result of the belief that there is no life after death. We grab what we can while we can however we can and then hold on to it hard."
The second cause is moral confusion, the pragmatic amorality of a society in which it is "politically correct" to deny that there are universal ...1