It is harder than ever to claim, as the Prime Minister does, that Britain is still a Christian country. It was at the time when Baroness Thatcher stood outside No 10 and recited the prayer of St Francis of Assisi, to offer reassurance about her intentions. Two thirds of Brits were Christian then, and phrases such as “where there is discord, may we bring harmony” had wide resonance. Those were the days where friends parted using phrases like “God bless” and hedged future plans with “God willing”. But over the past three decades Britain has been losing its religion at a precipitous rate – as Ed Miliband has worked out.
There was almost no comment, let alone fuss, about the section of the Labour leader’s speech where he proclaimed that he had no religion. This, in itself, is something of a milestone. When Neil Kinnock spoke about his atheism, he was monstered, as if this were evidence of his otherness. In fact, he was at the vanguard of a growing secularist trend. Today religion has become, if anything, a handicap to those governing modern Britain. Tony Blair judged it best to keep quiet about his faith. David Cameron has declared a Christianity-lite, one that comes and goes like “Magic FM in the Chilterns”.
But this week, Ed Miliband wanted to tell the world about his creed. He is not a man for synagogues or churches, he said, but is emphatically a man of faith. “Not a religious faith,” he said, “but a faith none the less. A faith, I believe, many religious people would recognise....”
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK Europe * Religion News & Commentary Inter-Faith Relations Other Faiths Secularism
Posted October 6, 2012 at 8:31 am
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