Sentamu: help youth by backing marriage

Recent tragedies involving young children should encourage the state to support marriage, the Archbishop of York says.

In an article for the Mail on Sunday, Dr John Sentamu referred to the recent attack in Doncaster involving two young boys and the shooting of Rhys Jones by a teenager in Liverpool in 2007.

Instead of demonising youngsters in response to such cases, he said we should focus on strengthening the family and community networks around them.

Dr Sentamu said families are the “building block of any community” and instead of losing faith with young people, marriage should be supported.

He said: “There is little to be gained from looking at which council or social service is to blame when a young person is abused or abuses another.

“What of the parents or the relatives? What of the responsibility of the local community who have looked the other way?”

He pointed to marriage being “devalued”, and said “the impact upon young people is incalculable”.

“Marriage has suffered in terms of central and local government funding, fiscal opportunities, welfare benefits and legal reforms,” he added.

The Archbishop’s article came as he launched a trust to recognise the achievement of young people within communities.

In the article he also said there was a lack of support for Christians involved in helping their communities, and said more should be done to encourage them.

The Archbishop pointed out that churchgoers contributed over 20 million hours a month to voluntary community work.

He also highlighted the fact that earlier this year the Department for Local Government and Communities had given £25,000 to the British Humanist Association to run local campaigns promoting atheism.

He added: “Meanwhile, the Equality and Human Rights Commission has given them £35,000 of taxpayers’ money to promote secularism in the public services under equality and human rights laws.”

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