There was an interesting article by Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, published in the Daily Telegraph last week. In it, Pickles, a Christian who regularly attends a Pentecostal church in his home town, defends the place of the Christian in British public life. The article is well worth a read in full.
A few of interesting quotations for those pressed for time…
On Britain as a Christian nation and the consequences for immigration:
Christianity in all its forms has shaped the heritage, morality and public life of Britain; and Christian belief continues to influence our society for the better. The fact that Britain has welcomed people of many other faiths to live among us over the centuries in no way detracts from this. Indeed, it is the Christian ethos that has made Britain so welcoming. As the Prime Minister declared in December, we are a Christian nation – and should not be afraid to say so.
On the changing social and religious climate in the UK:
To suggest that Christians in our country are literally persecuted would be to demean the suffering of those around the world facing repression, imprisonment and death. We should, however, recognise that long-standing British liberties of freedom of religion have been undermined in recent years by aggressive secularism, especially in the more politically correct parts of the public sector.
On the pre-eminence of the Christian faith:
Nor should we allow equality laws to open the door to moral relativism and reduce established religion to the equivalent status of any other belief. We should not be bashful about asserting that the Church of England or the Roman Catholic Church have a greater role to play in the public life of our nation than the Church of Elvis or the Church of Scientology.