Christian Action, Research and Education (CARE)

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Christian Action, Research and Education (CARE) have a history of campaigning against equal rights for homosexual people and are firmly against abortion. The ambitions of Britain's hard-line Christians go far beyond the borders of their local communities. Like most fundamentalist movements, the ultimate aim is a society built on their rigid belief system.

It is a member of Centre for Bioethics and Public Policy and sends out joint press releases with the Evangelical Alliance.

Christian Action Research and Education (Care) has borrowed the tactics of America's religious Right in its attempts to affect policy. Care describes itself as a "mainstream Christian charity bringing Christian insight and experience to matters of public policy". A closer look at its website[1] appears to contradict the claim to be "mainstream". The organisation's published doctrinal basis is distinctly fundamentalist and among other things talks of "the divine inspiration of Holy Scripture and its consequent entire trustworthiness and supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct". In other words, the Bible is the literal truth.[2]

The Christian charity has an annual income of £2.4m and has for a number of years CARE has been looking to influence UK policy by sponsoring MPs and providing them with funding and interns. CARE was described by the Independent as a 'right wing Christian group', CARE were investigated by the Charity Commission and the House of Commons standards watchdog for lobbying activities, specifically related to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.

Contents

The Charity

"CARE is a well-established mainstream Christian charity providing resources and helping to bring Christian insight and experience to matters of public policy and practical caring initiatives. CARE is represented in the UK Parliaments and Assemblies, at the EU in Brussels and the UN in Geneva and New York." CARE Website[3]

Lyndon Bowring, the charity's executive chairman, is on the board of Kensington Temple, one of London's largest Pentecostal organisations. He is also on the board of Care for the Family, the European arm of Focus on the Family. Focus on the Family is one of the largest and best-resourced pressure groups of America's religious Right, and it is not coy about its fundamentalist agenda. Its mission statement talks of "defending the God-ordained institution of the family and promoting biblical truths worldwide".

Like similar groups in the US, Care runs a parliamentary "intern programme". Interns are provided free to sympathetic MPs. They will work closely with the MP, doing research and helping to run the office. This additional staff member is worth thousands of pounds. There are currently 12 MPs, mostly Tories, who employ Care interns. The most powerful is Caroline Spelman, vice-chairman of the Conservative Party.

The intern programme isn't only about rewarding friendly Christian parliamentarians, it's part of a plan to build a new generation of committed Christian politicians. The idea is that the interns will go on to become MPs furthering the Christian agenda. They have already had a degree of success. Stephen Crabb is the Conservative MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire. He started his career as a Care intern, but you won't find mention of it on his website biography. Mr Crabb now enjoys the assistance of his own Care intern.

Against Abortion

From CARE's website it is clear that it runs "Pregnancy & Post-Abortion Advice, Counselling and Support", and these are mostly anti-abortion centers[4]. It runs "family planning clinics" and the have this website: www.pregnancy.org.uk. However, there is no reference to the relationship with the religious charity in the latter's website.

Against Homosexuality

CARE campaigned against the repeal of Section 28, which banned the "promotion" of homosexuality in schools, and helped defeat laws on assisted dying in the House of Lords. Its work has been condemned in the Lords as "propaganda". [5]

Against Art

Gordon MacDonald from militant group Christian Action Research & Education (CARE) was on BBC Scotland’s main news expressing - through gritted teeth - his fears of how Christian artist, Jane Clarke's art installation might be used by “aggressive secularists” to express their opinions! MacDonald’s ‘outrage’ had already been constructed over a period of some weeks by religious militants. Graham Grant, who regularly contributes homophobic and religious rants in the guise of ‘reports’ in The Scottish Daily Mail, was so desperate to justify his claims of a “UK-wide backlash” that he poked the wasp nests of the Christian Institute; CARE, the Christian Legal Centre and the Catholic Church to register their customary disgust. Reading further down his ‘report’, this ‘nationwide backlash’ amounted to little more than 10 to 20 complaints![6]

CARE Parliamentary intern programme

"Today, the Programme has expanded beyond the political sphere into the areas of media and reconciliation. Interns are now working in London (in the Westminster Parliament and at the BBC), Edinburgh (the Scottish Parliament), Brussels (the European Parliament) and at Coventry Cathedral International Centre for Reconciliation. In 2004, Internships will also be available in the area of Relief & Development."

Interns undertake a combination of hands-on work in their chosen area (Monday to Thursday) and, at the same time, benefit from a stimulating educational course (every Friday). 100 Interns have now graduated through this Programme.

Our desire is to see Christians grow in their understanding of our complex and rapidly changing culture and, at the same time, learn how to engage biblically and relevantly with it."

CARE requires applicants to read our Mission Statement and basis of faith, as it is important that they agree with them.

Source:http://www.care.org.uk/interns/

MPs sponsored by CARE

According to the MPs' register of interests (2008), at least eight Care interns have been employed in the Commons since September, including in the offices of senior party managers whose roles will be influential at voting time. Care's annual report claims there are up to 12 interns at Westminster – potentially meaning another four MPs have not declared their staff.[7] Care interns have worked for;

Total 7 Conservative, 3 Labour, 3 Liberal Democrat

Protest Groups/Campaigns

"While it has charitable status, CARE has a history of campaigning against equal rights for homosexual people and is firmly against abortion. For a number of years CARE has been looking to influence UK policy by sponsoring MPs and providing them with funding and interns. The above MPs each benefit from CARE's generosity - something a report in The Independent considered dangerously similar to the tactics of infiltration.

Why any MPs would support the aims of such an organisation is anyone's guess. Our concern is that if such right-wing groups continue to sponsor MPs to vote in their interests, the whole basis of electoral democracy is compromised.

We are concerned that CARE not only holds illiberal and socially regressive views, but that this organisation represents a very real threat to secular democracy." TheTruthAboutCARE[10]

Affiliations

  • Centre for Bioethics and Public Policy
  • Evangelical Alliance
  • Pregancy/anti-abortion clinics: www.pregnancy.org.uk

Contact

   Head Office:
   53 Romney Street
   London
   SW1P 3RF
   Website: www.care.org.uk 

References

  1. http://www.care.org.uk/Groups/10604/CARE/About_Us/About_Us.aspx
  2. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1975933/Christian-fundamentalists-fighting-spiritual-battle-in-Parliament.html
  3. http://www.care.org.uk/Groups/10604/CARE/About_Us/About_Us.aspx
  4. http://www.care.org.uk/Publisher/Article.aspx?ID=109699
  5. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/exclusive-rightwing-christian-group-pays-for-commons-researchers-802607.html
  6. http://www.scottishmediamonitor.com/features2.cfm?ID=38
  7. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/exclusive-rightwing-christian-group-pays-for-commons-researchers-802607.html
  8. http://timfarron.com/
  9. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/tim_farron/westmorland_and_lonsdale#register
  10. http://www.thetruthaboutcare.moonfruit.com
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