Of course Britain is a Christian country, says Charles Moore, in response to the 'angry atheists’ who claim otherwise. And we must defend that precious heritage
David Cameron said last week that Britain is a Christian country. In The Telegraph yesterday, 55 mainly atheist public figures said in a letter that it is not. The funny thing is, both sides are right. The Prime Minister is correct statistically, historically and culturally. Although the self-identification of Christians in Britain is declining, 59 per cent described themselves as such in the latest census. That is still a huge figure: allegiance to Christianity is roughly double that offered to any political party.
Besides, the country that we now (until September’s Scottish referendum?) call the United Kingdom has been explicitly Christian for more than a thousand years. Its monarchy, Parliament, morality, law and education; its flag, national anthem, key texts, much of its literature, art and architecture; its health care, many of its charities and endowments, public holidays and festivals, the structure of its week and its place-names – all these and many more are Christian in origin. Prof Jim Al-Khalili, who led the signatures, derives his first name from an apostle of Jesus, as do his co-signatories the novelist Philip Pullman and the anti-religious fanatic Peter Tatchell, who is named, ultimately, after the first Pope.
New laws were recently annoucend by the government of Saudi Arabia that strengthens the criminalization of atheists in the country, including any communication with other known atheists or using the Internet to post or read about atheism. The laws further allow the government to prosecute atheists under the state’s anti-terrorism statutes, including the death penalty – simply for being an atheist!
This is even more outragous coming from a country that was recently elected to the UN Human Rights Commission!
Please sign the petition demanding national and international leaders to pressure the Saudi government into honoring its human rights commitments and rescinding its recent “Atheists = Terrorists” laws.
John McTernan (Perspective, 18 April) is correct: David Cameron’s assertion that “we should be more confident about our status as a Christian country” is doubly ridiculous.
Firstly, as a believer in the core doctrines of the Christian faith as articulated by the mainstream denominations, the suggestion that in Britain I am surrounded by people who largely hold similar views is laughable.
Ignoring nominal cultural church going and “I’ve sung a few hymns in my time” census box-tickers, I estimate that under 15 per cent of the population are Christians in any meaningful sense.
Secondly, despite David Cameron’s attempts to win over Christian voters with his superficial sound bites, the fact is that UK legislation for decades has reflected a deliberate march away from Christian principle towards amoral liberalism.
Sarah Mbuyi, a Christian nursery worker, is to claim she was sacked from her job due to religious discimination, as a group backing her case says David Cameron's defence of faith is 'failing to play out'
A Christian nursery worker is taking her former employers to court claiming she was sacked for her beliefs after refusing to read stories about gay couples to children.
Sarah Mbuyi says she was dismissed due to religious discrimination, having also been accused of “harassing” a lesbian colleague to whom she gave a Bible when she was recovering from an accident.
The case, lodged at an employment tribunal, comes amid growing concerns among some Christians that religious beliefs are being “outlawed” in the workplace. A Christian group backing the case says it is an example of believers being “robbed” of the freedom to express views.
David Cameron says that in a secular age Christians should be even 'more evangelical' about their faith and says he has felt the 'healing power' of the Church.
Christians should be "more evangelical" about their faith and "get out there and make a difference to people's lives", David Cameron has said.
In his strongest intervention on religion to date, Mr Cameron said that in an increasingly "secular age" Christians need to be even "more confident" and "ambitious".
He said that he has personally felt the "healing power" of the Church of England's pastoral care and highlighted its role in "improving our society and the education of our children".
He said he wants to "infuse politics" with Christian "ideals and values" such as "responsibility, hard work, charity, compassion, humility and love".