Christianity is more than moralism. However, Christians should pray when we see vulnerable people in our society spiritually enslaved for the financial gain of others.

700 Betting Shops to Close: Having many times encouraged the church to pray over the subject of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, it was good to hear that 700 William Hill betting shops are closing. Earlier this year the maximum stake was reduced from £100 to £2. As a result, William Hill posted a loss of £722 million this year. That tells us everything! The law does not permit more than four FOBT machines in any shop. Gambling companies responded by building hundreds more shops just to house these machines – mainly in poor areas. We regret that many betting shop workers will now be facing unemployment. But, the decision to allow £100 stakes was nothing short of a catastrophe for many families.

Alcohol Alcohol-related conditions are estimated to cost the NHS around £3.5bn per year. One in five people currently admitted to hospital has a harmful drinking habit, and one in 10 is dependent on alcohol. King’s College London claims the issue is worse than first thought. Alcohol abuse is 10 times higher in hospital in-patients compared with the general UK population.

Drugs: “Children and young people are being targeted for grooming, violence and exploitation by drug-gangs intent on enslaving them into criminality”, says the Children’s Society. The charity says the main age bracket for criminal exploitation of children is 14 to 17, but warns that the age groups are getting younger. “Primary school age children -some as young as seven years old are targeted, suffering violence and threats of violence to themselves and to loved ones.”

Pornography The UK’s age verification system for online pornography due to come into effect on 15 July has been pushed back for a second time. Commercial providers of online pornography will ultimately be required to carry out “robust” age verification checks on users, in order to keep children from accessing adult content. The digital minister, Margot James, welcomed the introduction of the rules, saying: “Adult content is currently far too easy for children to access online. We want the UK to be the safest place in the world to be online, and these new laws will help us achieve this.”

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