24 June 2020, The Tablet

Londoners 'more religious and socially conservative'

Londoners 'more religious and socially conservative'

Rev Christopher Owens celebrates the eucharist live on Facebook from the back garden of St Michael and All Angels Anglican church in Walthamstow, north east London.
Isabel Infantes/EMPICS Entertainment

Londoners are more religious and more socially conservative than the rest of Britain, according to research released this week.

Polling for the faith think tank Theos by Savanta ComRes found that the majority of Londoners are religious – 62 per cent compared to 53 per cent of people across the rest of Britain – and are more likely to hold socially conservative views on issues like gay marriage and euthanasia.

Religious Londoners are more likely to come from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds (Bame) than white backgrounds, with 48 per cent of religious people Bame compared to just 27 per cent of non-religious Londoners.

The polling also revealed that Christians in London are more likely to attend religious services and to pray. London Christians, of whom 31 per cent are from Bame backgrounds, are twice as likely as religious people in other parts of the country to attend a service twice a month or more. One in four Londoners attend a religious service at least monthly, compared to one in 10 in the rest of Britain. The way Christians live out their faith also differs: more than half (56 per cent) of London Christians pray regularly, compared to 32 per cent of Christians in the rest of the country.

Christian Londoners are also more likely to say they would be prepared to help their neighbours with a small task than non-Christian Londoners, to donate to charity, and to volunteer regularly.

The survey, of 2,023 British adults, took place in January, and forms part of a new Theos report called Religious London, which is published today.

Elizabeth Oldfield, the director of Theos, said: “When we think about London, we might think about the global city with a reputation for progressive politics. But this is only half the story. London is also a city of surprises. This polling shows that London is in fact more socially conservative than the rest of the country.

“There is no doubt religion has an impact on this. Religious Londoners drive more conservative social views, even when those views are held by a minority of Londoners overall.

“The great success story of London has been its ability to welcome and accommodate opinions from across the political spectrum. The city still has the capacity to shock us – and this is one of the things which makes London one of the most dynamic, complex and interesting cities in the world.”



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