Thursday, April 24, 2014

The power of Christian faith to unite across the political divide

Have we found something on which all the party leaders agree?

(update: Justin Welby has blogged on the topic too - ...the Prime Minister and other members of the Government have not said anything very controversial. It is a historical fact (perhaps unwelcome to some, but true) that our main systems of ethics, the way we do law and justice, the values of society, how we decide what is fair, the protection of the poor, and most of the way we look at society . . .  All have been shaped by and founded on Christianity. Add to that the foundation of many hospitals, the system of universal schooling, the presence of chaplains in prisons, and one could go on a long time. Then there is the literature, visual art, music and culture that have formed our understandings of beauty and worth since Anglo Saxon days.

It is clear that, in the general sense of being founded in Christian faith, this is a Christian country. It is certainly not in terms of regular churchgoing, although altogether, across different denominations, some millions attend church services each week. Others of different backgrounds have also positively shaped our common heritage. But the language of what we are, what we care for and how we act is earthed in Christianity, and would remain so for many years even if the number of believers dropped out of sight (which they won't, in my opinion)... Welby's answer seems to be yes and no - Christian roots, but not Christian practice)
Nick Clegg,
There’s been, I think, a really interesting debate actually, over the last few days in the context of this year’s Easter about whether we are, or are we not, a, a Christian country.  It seems to me that it is self‑evidently the case that our heritage, our traditions, our architecture, our history, is – is infused by, by, by Christianity.  Of course it is and there is nothing remotely controversial in saying so.
But of course what flows from, from those great Christian values is also a wonderful tradition of tolerance, of diversity, of recognition of other peoples, other faiths, other – other denominations, of our ability to live and work cheek by jowl.  Different faiths, different communities, people of all faiths and none, and that is something which seems to me is entirely consistent with our, with our Christian traditions and history and indeed, values that have infused our country for a very, very long period of time.

and "it's stating the flamingly obvious that we as a country are underpinned, informed, infused by Christian values. Christian heritage, Christian history, Christian culture, Christian values and I think that is something that is obvious about our identity as a nation."

David Cameron, "I believe we should be more confident about our status as a Christian country"

Ed Miliband Britain is a Christian nation and is lucky to have the CofE as an established church (effectively, I can't find the original interview - done in Israel a couple of weeks ago - but he's quoted as saying the same thing in several places).

Nigel Farage: "we have been saying for years that we should be more muscular in our defence of Judeo-Christian culture"

No comment from the Greens, otherwise we'd have a full house.

1 comment:

  1. From this non-believer's point of view the answer is obvious, Britain is an explicitly Christian country, our established church's leader is also head of state, bishops sit by right in our legislature for example. But it's not controversial to say we're a lot less Christian than in previous generations, there's no religious test to become an MP any more, no special blasphemy law, other faiths can have faith schools,

    Where I would differ is crediting Christianity for the decent values that our society has. If Christianity had never been founded or remained a small middle-eastern sect with a few thousand followers, would our world look very different? I would say to Archbishop Welby was there not art and culture in England before the Anglo-Saxons? The ancient Greeks managed to have a culture with Christianity, the Japanese had hospitals with barely any Christian influence?

    How much of the society we have is because of Christianity, and how much is because at our core humans are mostly decent people.