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Do we live in a Christian country? Prime Minister's remarks spark debate

By The Citizen  |  Posted: April 21, 2014

Do we live in a Christian country? Prime Minister's remarks spark debate

David Cameron

Comments (16)

Prime Minister David Cameron, writing for Church Times

“Some people feel that in this ever more secular age we shouldn’t talk about these things (Christianity). I completely disagree.

“I believe we should be more confident about our status as a Christian country, more ambitious about expanding the role of faith-based organisations, and, frankly, more evangelical about a faith that compels us to get out there and make a difference to people’s lives.

“First, being more confident about our status as a Christian country does not somehow involve doing down other faiths or passing judgement on those with no faith at all.

“Many people tell me it is easier to be Jewish or Muslim in Britain than in a secular country precisely because the tolerance that Christianity demands of our society provides greater space for other religious faiths, too.

“Crucially, the Christian values of responsibility, hard work, charity, compassion, humility, and love are shared by people of every faith and none – and we should be confident in standing up to defend them.

“People who, instead, advocate some sort of secular neutrality fail to grasp the consequences of that neutrality, or the role that faith can play in helping people to have a moral code.

“Of course, faith is neither necessary nor sufficient for morality.

“Many atheists and agnostics live by a moral code – and there are Christians who don’t. But for people who do have a faith, that faith can be a guide or a helpful prod in the right direction – and, whether inspired by faith or not, that direction or moral code matters.”

Andrew Copson is chief executive of the British Humanist Association

“The vast majority of British people – who are not believing practising Christians – will deeply regret the comments of their Prime Minister.

He is wrong when he says that Britain is a Christian country: most of us aren’t Christian in our beliefs and our society has been shaped for the better by many pre-Christian, non-Christian, and post-Christian forces.

"He is equally misguided in wanting to increase the role of religious organisations in our society.

"This divisive activity is unpopular and undemocratic and has negative consequences for the rights and freedoms of many in Britain.

"More generally, people certainly don’t want religion to have more influence in government – in a 2006 Ipsos MORI poll, “religious groups and leaders” actually topped the list of domestic groups that people said had too much influence on government.”

In response to the Prime Minister’s comments on the persecution of Christians around the world, Mr Copson continued:

"There is a consensus in modern Britain that everyone should have freedom of thought and belief and that persecution of anyone for their beliefs is wrong and should be stopped.

"It’s right that our country should take a lead in speaking out for oppressed minorities wherever and whoever they are.

“What is regrettable is that our Prime Minister should try to exceptionalise Christians in this way – Jews, non-religious people, Muslims, Buddhists and others are equally at risk in a range of ways that deserve our urgent attention."

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16 comments

  • Glos_Lad34  |  April 29 2014, 8:07PM

    Britain is Multi-religious not just a Christian country Mr Cameron?

  • Lecorche  |  April 23 2014, 10:47AM

    @ honslknjklyt.Lol! The few Muslims that I know enjoy Christmas. It's the nutters in Islam that are the pains in the asre.

  • honslknjklyt  |  April 23 2014, 12:29AM

    It is strongly perceived that non Christians, especially Muslims hate Jesus and anything to do with him. It is not except in a few muslims and there is always an exeption, anything like that. Most Muslims love Jesus and indeed cannot be a Muslim unless they believe in Jesus. Muslim means to worship one God. When we hear people saying about the cross offending muslims, Christmas should be banned as it might upset muslims etc, it is very most often brought about through liberal left wingers taking up the cause of getting offended on other peoples behalf. It is these presumptious lefties who cause more friction between the faithful in this country than anyone else.

  • thestig2  |  April 22 2014, 6:16PM

    I think MPs need to make there minds up and stop playing us all just for votes, one minute we should be proud to be Christian as our country the next it against law/rules to show crosses and any other items or Christian holidays in case we upset non Christians who came to UK. we may be easy going but get feed up with p***takers making it almost a crime to have own beliefs.

  • GlosAnarchy  |  April 22 2014, 11:52AM

    Think this says it all - We respect the Prime Minister's right to his religious beliefs and the fact that they necessarily affect his own life as a politician. However, we object to his characterisation of Britain as a "Christian country" and the negative consequences for politics and society that this engenders. Apart from in the narrow constitutional sense that we continue to have an established Church, Britain is not a "Christian country". Repeated surveys, polls and studies show that most of us as individuals are not Christian in our beliefs or our religious identities. At a social level, Britain has been shaped for the better by many pre-Christian, non-Christian, and post-Christian forces. We are a plural society with citizens with a range of perspectives, and we are a largely non-religious society. Constantly to claim otherwise fosters alienation and division in our society. Although it is right to recognise the contribution made by many Christians to social action, it is wrong to try to exceptionalise their contribution when it is equalled by British people of different beliefs. This needlessly fuels enervating sectarian debates that are by and large absent from the lives of most British people, who do not want religions or religious identities to be actively prioritised by their elected government.

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  • Soft Data Internet Limited  |  April 22 2014, 9:34AM

    Why no fuss when Milliband said the same thing last week?

  • Bonkim2003  |  April 22 2014, 9:22AM

    Politics and religion do not mix. The Bible forbids Christians from engaging in politics and Christianity defined by Cameron and other politicians can hardly be called Christian.

  • GlosAnarchy  |  April 22 2014, 9:16AM

    The scary ones are the Americans that don't even believe in evolution and think the world is a few thousand years old. The fact is just about every religion has "borrowed" (stolen) from the old pagan religions. Evolution is fact and religious conflicts and persecution have killed millions and are still killing today!

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  • IsitJimKerr  |  April 22 2014, 8:51AM

    It's amazing that the secularists are so offended. The fact that they DON'T support any religion is surely their choice, as is that of DC or anyone else. In that we expect our religious leaders to express their views, in the hope that we come together, so we should expect the same of our political leaders. Our history is Christian, no matter how 'diluted' it becomes by others. However, I believe many have turned away from religion, because of the intolerance of other religions against their own. Or indeed they may 'hide' their religion for fear of persecution. The fact, for example, that a cartoon of Muhammad can instill such hatred, yet films like The life of Brian, can give such joy, shows the vast chasm between religions. Personally, I would say the more educated Westerners are prepared to be tolerant, whereas Easterners are so put upon by religious leaders, they are intolerant and stupid enough to blow themselves up, along with a crowd of disbelievers or infidels. Unfortunately, I see the intolerance getting worse, especially in say Britain, where a minority will try to impose their own religious laws and will. This will ultimately result in the minority religion and it's followers being driven from this country, by previously tolerant people, driven to the brink. For either secularism or faith following to succeed, there must be tolerance at all levels

  • tomvonforest  |  April 22 2014, 7:51AM

    My God can kick your God's ****!

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