It has been over a week now, and still the furore continues over David Cameron’s comments about his Christian faith and the role that religion has to play in Britain. 55 leading secularists wrote a strongly-worded letter claiming that the Prime Minister encourages ‘alienation’ by stating that Britain is a Christian nation, whilst the news media has been dominated by debate over this issue, with figures including the head of the British Humanist Association Andrew Copson and former Labour spin-doctor Alastair Campbell rushing to condemn Cameron’s remarks. Indeed, Campbell questioned the sincerity behind the Prime Minister’s admissions of faith and claimed that he is simply seeking to move on from the Maria Miller scandal. But the question that should be on everyone’s lips is this: why is it so outrageous for a Prime Minister to talk about religion?
It would be hard to imagine a Muslim politician being shouted down for expressing their beliefs, and both Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg have spoken openly about their atheism, so why is Christianity such a taboo subject in British politics? No matter how much the likes of Alastair Campbell and Philip Pullman may complain and protest, the facts are that Britain is still a Christian nation. That doesn’t mean that we have an overwhelming number of churchgoers; indeed recent census data and a visit to almost any parish church on a Sunday morning will prove that this is far from being the case. However, empty pews do not diminish the Christian heritage that this country was built upon and continues to be governed by, from our legal system to the structure of Parliament. In fact, Britain is the only nation in the world which allocates a certain number of seats in its Parliament to Christian clergy. We have an established Church nominally led by the monarch, and so any claims that Britain is a secular country are quite frankly delusional.
The outrage that greeted David Cameron’s comments about his own personal faith are further proof of the struggle British Christians face in expressing their religious views in public. A hostile form of secular atheism has been allowed to gain significant influence in British culture, with the intent of removing every last element of Christianity from contemporary society. From people being told they can’t wear a cross to work to nurses facing the sack for offering to pray with a dying patient, British Christians are being made to feel like unwanted strangers, extremists and weirdos.
The hostility towards Christianity in politics hasn’t always existed; Margaret Thatcher spoke often of her Methodist upbringing and the values that instilled in her, whilst Gordon Brown took pride in being the son of a Presbyterian minister. However, Cameron is now experiencing the same reaction that Tony Blair previously faced when he was blocked by advisers from finishing a speech with the words ‘God bless Britain.’ Britain is a Christian nation with a proud heritage, and if the Prime Minister or anyone else wants to ‘do God,’ they should be able to.
Also published on http://georgereeves1994.blogspot.co.uk/