Cranmer's Curate has suspected there might be and his suspicions have been further stoked by reading Peter Hitchens's tour de force, A Brief History of Crime (Atlantic Books, 2003, pp315). The extensive research that went into this book about 'the decline of order, justice and liberty in England', written shortly after New Labour's second election landslide, well supports its contention that
England is rapidly becoming a place where the good are afraid of the bad and the bad are not afraid of anything (p7).
In words that seem to have more force of truth 10 years on, Mr Hitchens describes the way in which moral relativism has undermined the inestimable privilege of living in a Protestant Christian country where freedom under the rule of law was allowed to flourish:
The paradox is this: the more harshly we treat wrongdoers and the greater the power of the state to punish and pursue them, the more we preserve liberty for the enormous majority who keep to the laws. A society that clearly and decisively punishes wicked actions will have no need to document, restrict or spy on the many millions who do not do such actions.
Conversely, the more generously and considerately we create safeguards for transgressors, the fewer freedoms will remain for those who behave themselves. The more we treat crime as the symptom of a social and economic disease, requiring treatment rather than penalties, the more the state will need to become an apparatus of repression (pp8&9).
He develops this theme in the chapter, The Causes of Crime, which begins with a quote from Psalm 72v4 as rendered by the Book of Common Prayer - 'He shall keep the simple folk by their right: defend the children of the poor and punish the wrong-doer':
Those who believe that crime is committed in response to social conditions must begin to believe a number of other risky things. First, they must think that the job of the law is to mediate between the 'offender' (that carefully neutral word) and the 'victim'. One astonishing example of this, taken to its outer limits, occurred in Somerset in February 1999 when a woman complained to the police that her car had been vandalised. The constabulary wrote her a letter saying that the culprits 'could be considered victims themselves' (p14).
Does not this analysis help to explain why Christian street preachers are being arrested whilst drug-dealers walk tall on streets abandoned to evil by the withdrawal of police foot patrols? But more profoundly does it not also shed some light on why a message offering salvation from the wrath of Almighty God on sin is not getting the reception it deserves from the English today?
Why David Cameron should regret gay marriage appeared on Christian Today.