The England riots are not just a breakdown of law and order, they are the consequences of a breakdown of morality in our society.
We have all been appalled to see the shocking absence of respect for human life, for lawful authority and for private property. Why are these values so absent?
In what social institution do people learn respect for their fellow human beings? Where do people learn to respect authority? Where do people learn respect for others’ possessions?
It is in the family that these values are passed down from one generation to another. It is in the family that these lessons are instilled in people from an early age.
To be more specific, it is in families headed by a father and a mother who have committed themselves to each other, and are committed to raising the children they themselves have procreated and are biologically attached to.
Fathers are especially responsible for their sons. Boys need solid and reliable male role models.
If a person’s formative years pass by without these values being instilled in them, then trouble lies ahead.
Of course there will always be families that – through no fault of their own – do not conform to the ideal model. And there can be delinquent parenting within intact families. But an anything-goes attitude to the family should not be celebrated as progress.
Yet this is what has happened. The institution of the family has been relentlessly undermined by successive Governments in recent decades. Politicians are nervous of supporting marriage too strongly.
Yes, we must improve education in our schools and, yes, we must ensure our laws are properly enforced. But the issue of the family remains at the heart of the matter.
We need strong families instilling children with values of personal responsibility. It is high time our political leaders stopped undermining marriage and the family.
In the meantime, we pray for the brave police officers who are on the streets. We pray they will come to no harm, and that they will restore law and order.
We pray that innocent members of the public will be protected from the violence, and that their property will be safe.
We pray that the criminals involved in the rioting and looting will be caught, and that justice will be done.
And we pray for our Prime Minister and the rest of the Government, that they will have the wisdom to do all that is necessary to deal with the immediate problem, and the wisdom to face the wider long-term moral problem.
People’s biggest problem is a spiritual one, and only the saving grace of Jesus Christ can answer that.
But God also cares for people through his common grace. He instituted the family and governing authorities for people’s common good.
It is our Christian duty to follow the character of our Heavenly Father and care about these matters too; and also pray for those in authority (Romans 13, 1 Peter 2, 1 Timothy 2).