London Riots Evidence of Moral Decay?

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Authorities in Britain are restoring order after days of deadly riots and looting in several cities this week.

Police arrested 1,700 people and about 600 are charged with violent crimes.

Some media reports are putting the blame on social and economic inequality, while political and religious leaders say it reflects a moral crisis.

Rev. David Holloway is a vicar of Jesmond Parish Church in Newcastle Upon Tyne.  He's also a trustee of the Christian Institute, a group that promotes biblical values in the U.K.  Click play for his comments on the situation in London and how Christians can respond.

Thousands of extra police officers protect the streets of London.

The devastation seen in the boarded up shops and burnt out buildings.

British Prime Minister David Cameron cut his vacation in Italy short to deal with the unrest.

"If you are old enough to commit these crimes, you are old enough to face the punishment," Cameron said.

It's calmer now in London, but authorities are shocked by the ferocity of the rioters.

"This has been senseless violence on a scale that I have never witnessed before," said Garry Shewan of Greater Manchester Police Department.

Some rioters used social networking to coordinate their stealing sprees.

Meanwhile, many residents took to the streets to defend their homes and businesses.

"My girlfriend and my kids at home, I'm here to protect them!" one man said.

Media reports and politicians claim the riots are tied to unrest over welfare cuts. CBN News Senior Reporter Dale Hurd disagrees.

"This is a mass feral crime spree. This is a bunch of kids doing what they want," he said.

"When you live on the bottom strata in a moral vacuum, it's not a matter of right or wrong, it's a matter of have or have not," Hurd added. "I think if you could get one of the rioters, if you could stop them in the street and say, 'Why are you doing this? This is wrong,' you might actually get a puzzled look."

Hurd says this is a crisis facing the entire Western world -- the erosion of Christian values and the rise of secularism.

"It's a post-Christian phenomenon. It's a crisis of faith," he claimed. "What is the opposite of juedo-Christian civilization? It's essentially lawlessness."

"And what is the moral code of these children in a society that's bases on consumerism and hedonism?" Hurd continued. "They're not taught to honor each other's property, or law. They are in a sense raised as animals."

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John Waage

John Waage

CBN News Sr. Editor

John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.