This isn’t the first time that David Cameron has spoken about religion. Although cynics say he was just appealing to Conservative voters who may dabble with UKIP in next month’s elections, he certainly would have known that nothing stirs the sinews like faith.
As the week went on, senior conservative politicians came out to denounce the atheists, humanists, scientific community and their celebrity cheerleaders who had announced that in fact Christian Britain is dead.
Archbishop Welby bemoaned from the touch-line that numbers were down in Church congregations but we were still a Christian country. And I have to agree with him. For although Britain has fundamentally changed in the last forty years we have seen progressive, socially liberal policies accepted by the British people that leave the Church looking dated and irrelevant. Plus the rise of a diverse Britain has brought an exciting and enriching injection of new religions, values and cultural experiences; but we are still fundamentally a Christian nation.
Why? Well first because the statistics tell us so. 33.2 million of us (59.3%) opted to put Christianity in the last census but it’s also because we don’t measure Christianity by the numbers of Church-goers – we measure it by our values and actions built through successive generations for centuries. These define the British society that we wish everyone to live in.
We’re a nation that gives in its millions, even during tough times, to those who are suffering, we’re neighbours who look out for each other, in times of crisis we often look to religion and come together as families at Christmas. Our state occasions including those that honour the sacrifices made by our armed forces, our institutions, democracy, rule of law and sense of fair play are immersed in our Christian faith and values.
So the Church in an everyday sense maybe irrelevant and outdated with its rituals and views of the modern world, but the teachings and example of Jesus Christ remain timeless. This means Britain is still a Christian country, a great country, and long may it continue.