PM: ‘feel proud’ of Christian roots

Published: Sunday 5th April 2015 by The News Editor

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David Cameron has hailed the Church as a “living active force doing great works” for the poor and homeless in an Easter message which urged Britain to “feel proud to say this is a Christian country”.

As the pace of campaigning slowed to mark the occasion, the Prime Minister also joined condemnation of the persecution of Christians across the globe as three days of official mourning began in Kenya for 148 victims of an Islamic extremist attack on a university.

Church of England bishops were criticised by a number of Conservatives for a pre-election letter calling for a “fresh moral vision of the kind of country we want to be” – seen by some as a thinly-veiled attack on welfare cuts.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, has previously condemned certain welfare reforms as part of a series of interventions by church leaders raising concerns about the shape of the economy.

In his video message the Prime Minister, who has defended the right of the Church to intervene in political debate, said Easter was ” time to reflect on the part that Christianity plays in our national life.

“The Church is not just a collection of beautiful old buildings; it is a living, active force doing great works across our country,” he said.

“When people are homeless, the Church is there with hot meals and shelter. When people are addicted or in debt; when people are suffering, or grieving – the Church is there.”

“Across Britain, Christians don’t just talk about ‘loving thy neighbour’, they live it out … in faith schools, in prisons, in community groups.

“And it’s for all these reasons that we should feel proud to say: this is a Christian country.

“Yes, we are a nation that embraces, welcomes and accepts all faiths and none but we are still a Christian country.”

The PM, whose severely disabled son Ivan died in 2009, said that he knew ” from the most difficult times in my own life, that the kindness of the church can be a huge comfort”.

The slaughter at Garissa University College in Kenya, where al Qaida-affiliated al-Shabab gunmen specifically sought out and killed Christian students, has been condemned by the Pope and other leaders as they mark Easter.

“We have a duty to speak out about the persecution of Christians around the world too,” Mr Cameron said.

“It is truly shocking to know that in 2015, there are still Christians being threatened, tortured – even killed – because of their faith…

“I n the coming months, we must continue to speak as one voice for freedom of belief.

“So this Easter, we should keep in our thoughts all those Christians facing persecution abroad and give thanks for all those Christians who are making a real difference here at home.”

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said: ” While politicians in the UK are busy on the campaign trail, we must not forget the cruel and barbaric killings that took place in Kenya.

“The thoughts of people here are very much with the families and friends of the murdered students in Garissa University.”

Published: Sunday 5th April 2015 by The News Editor

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