CAMERON, CHRISTIANITY AND FOSTERING DIVISION

All this hoo-hah about whether this country is ‘Christian’ or not is plain tedious.  I thought I couldn’t be bothered to comment – it is self-evidently idiotic, made worse by the media which as usual polarises and over-simplifies the different viewpoints.

Then I came across Bishop Nick Baines’ blog and I thought ‘I can’t say it better than this.’  So here it is:  and I would be interested to know what you think, especially if you don’t subscribe to the ‘Christian’ label:  found here http://nickbaines.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/fostering-division/


(PS … Bishop Nick is the one on the right 😉  )

‘A letter was published in the Daily Telegraph this morning, signed by fifty eminent people, in which they criticise the Prime Minister’s article of faith published in the Church Times last week.

The letter itself is fairly unremarkable – and certainly not a surprise – although why such people think it is worth all the energy, time and activity involved in getting such a number of signatures, still beats me.

The statistics cited are, of course, at variance to other published statistics (e.g. the 2011 Census), but that is in the nature of statistics and we draw to our defence those that suit our argument the best. So, I won’t waste time arguing with the numbers.

What is bizarre is the charge that the Prime Minister, by saying what he said, “fosters alienation and division in our society.” That ” this needlessly fuels enervating sectarian debates that are by and large absent from the lives of most British people, who do not want religions or religious identities to be actively prioritised by their elected government.” Good grief!

First, if politicians were to refrain from saying anything ‘divisive’, they would be silent. Any stated viewpoint or priority is by definition ‘divisive’ as there will always be people who strongly disagree. The use of potential ‘divisiveness’ as a charge against anything inconvenient is ridiculous. Presumably, the divisiveness caused by publishing this letter is to be excused?

Secondly, why should ‘secular humanism’ be prioritised above other world views or identities? There is no neutral territory – something is always being prioritised over other preferences. That is a fact of life. And if you want a purely relativistic world view to dominate (which is a perfectly legitimate thing to want), you can’t then decide to absolutise certain priorities or assumptions.

‘Fostering division’ is a phrase that should be dropped as a threat. Anyone can use it and, being a threat, of course, there is no evidence that it has or does.’

(image from http://www.asianexpress.co.uk/2014/02/bradford-bishop-handed-super-diocese-role/ )

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35 thoughts on “CAMERON, CHRISTIANITY AND FOSTERING DIVISION

  1. I’ll wager this is the last we hear from Cameron on the subject of Christianity for a very long time to come. This whole situation is what it appears to be — a bunch of opportunistic aggressive secularist slashed humanists capitalising on camera and dropping a brick! Naturally, this sort of thing is meat and drink to the press! There are two certain ways to start a fight — one that is religion and the other is politics… mix the two together and you have something that is positively incendiary in its public possibilities.

    I am old enough to remember Margaret Thatcher’s rather short lived attempt to associate Christianity with the policies of the British Conservative Party. I believe this came to a grinding halt when she was asked, quite publicly, which parts of the Bible she drew her inspiration from!

    Even the Anglican church’s answer to Boris Johnson (George Carey) has grudgingly admitted that we are now living in a post-Christian society. Mr Cameron would be best advised to do his rendering unto God was a little more circumspection!

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  2. With my health horrors I’ve not paid much attention but now I feel he is trying to appeal to UKIP supporters by stressing St George and the flag
    I feel he is one of those who begin attending church wh’ten their children need a good school.. we have two church schools by our road and it’s clear many people come here for that reason.One family were Catholic but preferred the Anglican school,so they began no attending the Parish Church “religiously.”
    A person said when I was seriously ill,I can’t see you as I am going to church [not the usual time she went]
    I thought visiting the sick was more important but no doubt she didn’t feel like seeng me
    in that state.

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    1. Yes, clergy are very well-aware that people start attending church because they want their children to attend that school. I’m not sure how people live with their consciences, but ‘conscience’ seems to be a dirty word these days. I’m sorry that your friend didn’t help when you needed her.

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      1. Well,churchgoers are liable to sin as much as anyone or maybe more in some ways.. it used to puzzle me as a child hearing what women said about others right after coming out of church..maybe I am too idealistic…

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      2. At the foot of the cross we are all only forgiven sinners. But Christ does call us to a life of truth and love, and that means our everyday behaviour should be an outworking of our faith. It doesn’t mean we’re perfect, but it should mean that we’re trying …

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  3. It seems obvious to me that Mr Cameron’s speech was directed at the people to whom it was given – Christians! So had he been addressing atheists or Muslims or Buddhists or Jews, his speech would have been different and pertinent to them etc.

    The complaining letter and signatories is therefore curious – it is like they are butting into something that need not concern them. It would be different if the speech was addressed to the country as a whole……

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  4. It is interesting that the Politician/s (if plural?) are wearing their Christianity on their sleeves just at the time there are strong religiously led cries about poverty, the demand for food banks and all when there is an election looming.

    There is a large marginalised social grouping in our society to politically cover with a spurious benign veil. How do you square the position of a follower of Christ, Christ who himself was a politician, written up as a carer and supporter of the poor and the marginalised in society, with what we see happening today?

    It is not the Christianity, or not, of the UK [big society] that concerns me, it is its propaganised use as subterfuge for dubious social actions that does. It is more than potentially divisive in very many ways.

    I am glad that the Good Samaritan has not yet been misused. It could come.

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      1. Had the back and neck massage yesterday, much more serious than the Indian head … lots of working away at the knots and tightness. I intend going back from time to time until my neck stops aching at the effort of holding my head up! I’m now convinced that unpleasant sensation is as much to do with muscle tightness as with fibromyalgia.

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  5. I’m always amazed by people who get all worked up over things like this, the simple truth is that the UK is predominately Christian….
    I think the media love to fan the flames….or in this case the tiny spark….xxx

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    1. Yes they do :yes: – and although I don’t think we are ‘Christian’ any more as a society in any real sense of the word, there’s no doubt that our culture and background is Christian – in the same way as it is Muslim in a Muslim country, even though not all the people in that country would be practising Muslims.

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  6. Too much written about the subject which is only opinion anyway. NZ is a secular society, where religion and politics are separated, though you get the odd oddball minor party trying to assume more than it should. I think most people consider their religion as being private, and don’t wish to discuss it publicly. A minority are churchgoers, but because a majority don’t attend church they must somehow be non-religious.

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  7. I haven’t read the letter replying to the PM ‘s view that this is a Christian country but it is not a controversial claim.

    The Universities arose from church and monasteries and the monks taught Latin, Greek and English and from Christianity and the ten commandments our laws stem. So if education and law are based on Christian principles then it follows that we live in a Christian country.

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      1. I know that’s what it means for us if we are believers. But for a lot of people it’s a label which describes our cultural history. There’s a huge gap between that, and genuine belief.

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  8. Thanks for sharing Nick’s blog link! Excellently ‘put’…..
    Of course, The Press needs to sell papers etc etc….and Polticians need to ‘score points’.
    Religion is a favorite…as we all know.
    I often wonder ‘Why?’
    Something lurking deep down? 🙄 xx

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  9. I’m sorry but I am rather irked over people getting annoyed about Cameron’s religion its a fact the vast majority are Christian in the UK people are so terrified about “offending” other religions its getting silly even Muslim people are not bothered and say everyone is entitled to their beliefs as is their right….

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