Jonathan Sacks on the London Riots–We've been here before and there is a way back

Too much of contemporary society has been a vacation from responsibility. Children have been the victims of our self-serving beliefs that you can have partnerships without the responsibility of marriage, children without the responsibility of parenthood, social order without the responsibility of citizenship, liberty without the responsibility of morality, and self-esteem without the responsibility of hard work and achievement.

I have seen, in our schools and youth groups, what happens to children when you challenge them to greatness by service to others. They exceed all our expectations. Children grow to fit the space we create for them. If it is big they grow tall. If it is small, they rebel.

We need a new culture of responsibility. Societies can be re-moralised. The 1820s showed us how. This week’s riots showed us why. We need to challenge young people to exercise moral leadership, and the only way of doing so is by starting with ourselves.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Judaism, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence, Young Adults

4 comments on “Jonathan Sacks on the London Riots–We've been here before and there is a way back

  1. Jill Woodliff says:

    The work of the Clapham group came in the wake of the Wesleyan revival. Not all of the members of the group were evangelical, but that was the dominant influence. Interesting that the rabbi should use their accomplishments as a model.

  2. sophy0075 says:

    I agree, Jill, but I think the reason why is that he, like the Clapham group, is a man of God. He understands that a society that has rejected the concept that there are eternal concepts of what is right and what is wrong, in favor of a relativistic, “if it feels good, do it” philosophy, is a society where thugs need feel no guilt when they do what to them is, by their own, sole definition, “right.”

  3. billqs says:

    What an excellent essay… I really hope it might be heeded.

  4. Cennydd13 says:

    Rabbi Sacks is right, and the results of the Watts riots in Los Angeles have at least partially confirmed that when you take positive steps to improve things, some good does indeed result from situations like this.