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Churches and Social Issues in Twentieth-Century Britain$
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G. I. T. Machin

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198217800

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198217800.001.0001

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Churches and Moral and Social Change, 1960–1970

Churches and Moral and Social Change, 1960–1970

(p.175) 6 Churches and Moral and Social Change, 1960–1970
Churches and Social Issues in Twentieth-Century Britain

G.I.T. Machin

Oxford University Press

Within a century in which the Christian Churches had to face and adapt to an unprecedented amount of social change in Britain, the 1960s provided the most intense concentration of innovation and challenge. The new morality found supporters and opponents in the Churches, as well as some who were undecided. On the one hand, it found a champion in Bishop John Robinson. Widely differing approaches were seen in reaction to all the practical manifestations of the moral changes — the relaxation of censorship and the licence shown in publications, films, plays, and television broadcasts; the legalization of abortion and homosexual ads; a notable liberalization of the divorce law; and the growth of premarital and extramarital sexual activity through the adoption of the contraceptive pill, among other reasons. The controversy over the treatment of coloured immigrants had involved Church leaders as much as any other members of society. These developments all happened in the 1960s, but their effects remained to be worked out over many years.

Keywords:   Christian Churches, Britain, social change, John Robinson, moral changes, abortion, divorce, immigrants, contraceptive pill, new morality

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