By Mark Ellis
British Prime Minister David Cameron encouraged Christians in the UK to reflect on the part that Christianity plays in their national lives – especially at Easter.
“The church is not a collection of beautiful, old buildings. It’s a living, active force, doing great works,” he said, adding that he’s an unapologetic supporter of the role of faith in this country, according to a story in the Gospel Herald.
He acknowledged the UK is very diverse, however. “Many understandably feel that in this seemingly secular society, talking about faith isolates those who have no faith,” he told Premier Christianity.
“Others argue that celebrating Easter somehow marginalizes other religions. For me, the key point is this: the values of Easter and the Christian religion — compassion, forgiveness, kindness, hard work and responsibility — are values that we can all celebrate and share.”
In 2014, Cameron said his Christian faith “sort of comes and goes.” Yet in recent years, some have detected a growing openness to talk about his faith.
He has encouraged Christians to live out their beliefs and “get out there and make a difference to people’s lives.”
“When people are homeless, the church is there, providing hot meals and shelter,” he said. “When people are addicted or in debt, when people are suffering, or grieving, the church is there.”
Cameron said the church has been a huge comfort during difficult periods of his own life. He expressed gratitude that Britains live out their faith. “That’s why we should be proud to say we are a Christian country. Yes, we’re a nation that accepts all faiths, but we’re still a Christian country.”
In 2013, Cameron stated he is a practicing Christian and an active member of the Church of England and that the church plays “a very important role in society.” He considers the Bible a “handy guide” on morality and its moral influence should be felt in politics.
His public statements about his faith generated criticism from ardent secularists in British society, claiming Cameron was playing a dangerous game by injecting faith into the national dialogue.
Cameron was also outspoken about the rise of persecution worldwide. “We have a duty to speak out about the persecution of Christians around the world,” Cameron noted. To all brave Christians who aren’t renouncing their faith or sheltering other Christians, we must say we stand with you, and must put those words into action, by providing humanitarian aid or funding grassroots reconciliation.”
“We must continue to speak as one voice for continued freedom of belief,” he added. “And keep in our thoughts all those Christians facing persecution.”