Tag Archives: David Cameron

Easter – Comment is free – The Guardian view on Easter: David Cameron’s wonky cross Editorial

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David Cameron, fishing for votes, has told an evangelical radio audience that he believes that the message of Easter involves “hard work and responsibility”. So what does he think really happened at the crucifixion? Who were the criminals nailed up on each side of Jesus? Skivers being sanctioned because they had missed their appointments at the job centre? Mr Cameron’s Christianity, as it is displayed in this interview, attempts to offend no one, and the result is an insult to Christianity and to all non-Christians as well.

It’s an insult to non-believers because the vague and fluffy list of virtues – kindness, compassion, and forgiveness as well as hard work and responsibility – have nothing distinctively Christian about them. He might as well have said that he gets his two legs from God. But it is insulting to Christians for exactly the same reason. The point of the Easter story, and especially of the crucifixion, is that none of these virtues is enough to save us. It is absolutely not a story of virtue rewarded and vice punished, but one of virtue scourged and jeered through the streets, abandoned by its friends and tortured in public to death.

Jesus did not really preach hard work, responsibility, or family values. He told his followers to consider the lilies of the field, to have no thought for the morrow, and to leave their father and mother to follow him. He came not to bring peace, but revolt. The Easter story makes even democracy look like an instrument of evil. It is the crowd who demand that Jesus be crucified and Pilate who goes along with them.

What Christianity brought into the world wasn’t compassion, kindness, decency, hard work, or any of the other respectable virtues, real and necessary though they are. It was the extraordinary idea that people have worth in themselves, regardless of their usefulness to others, regardless even of their moral qualities. That is what is meant by the Christian talk of being saved by grace rather than works, and by the Christian assertion that God loves everyone, the malformed, the poor, the disabled and even the foreigner.

The idea that humans are valuable just for being human is, many would say, absurd. We assert it in the face of all the facts of history, and arguably even of biology. This idea entered the world with Christianity, and scandalised both Romans and Greeks, but it is now the common currency of western humanism, and of human rights. It underpinned the building of the welfare state, and its maintenance over the years by millions of people of all faiths and none.

It is also an idea that Mr Cameron’s government has defined itself against. The assaults on social security, on migrants, and even on the teaching of the humanities, are all underpinned by a belief that the essential metric of human worth is their utility, and in practice their usefulness to the rich in particular, because it is the marketplace that provides the only final judgment. There are many Christians in this country who are quite content with that. Surveys show that ordinary Christians are consistently to the right of their clergy on many questions: the clergy runs food banks while the pews are full of people muttering against scroungers who believe that poverty is the fault of the poor.

But the activists have for the most part a much more critical attitude, and it is their activism which has led party leaders to be interviewed by Premier magazine. Even the smallest of the mainline churches have memberships larger than that of the political parties. The Church of England alone has twice as many people in church every Sunday as pay their subscriptions to all the political parties put together. There are at least five million active Christians in England today, and they represent a pool of committed and energetic voters that no party can ignore. They won’t all vote as a bloc, but within the existing blocs they will put in more effort, and perhaps more money, than any other group.

Hence David Cameron’s discovery of his own spiritual side. This newspaper can’t condemn him for that. We can only wish he did it more thoroughly and more often. If he were a better Christian, he might believe in, and he should fear, a judge beyond the market. For the rest of us, this election offers an opportunity to judge both him and his party.

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Con-Dem’d

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Charlie Chaplain’s Tales

 

Yes, Father?” said the nurse.
“I would really like to see Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg before I die,” whispered the priest.
“I’ll see what I can do, Father”, replied the nurse.
The nurse sent the request to 10 Downing Street, and waited for a response.
Soon the word arrived; David Cameron and Nick Clegg would be delighted to visit the priest.


As they went to the hospital, Clegg commented to Cameron, “I don’t know why the old priest wants to see us, but it will certainly help our images.” Cameron agreed that it was a good thing.


When they arrived at the priest’s room, the priest took Cameron hand in his right hand and Cleggs hand in his left hand. There was silence and a look of serenity on the old priest’s face..


Finally David Cameron spoke. “Father, of all the people you could have chosen, why did you choose us to be with you as you near the end?”


The old priest slowly replied, “I have always tried to pattern my life after our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”


“Amen”, said Cameron. “Amen”, said Clegg.


The old priest continued, “Jesus died between two lying thieves; I would like to do the same

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A Christian Country?

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CAHAL MILMO Monday 21 April 2014 – the Independent

For 50 years a council-run crematorium in Bath displayed a 4ft cross etched into one of its panoramic windows. Recently it was replaced with a “removable cross” to be displayed or concealed according to the departed’s wishes.

 

The new cross, printed on an acrylic sheet, was not part of the original plans for the £140,000 refurbishment of Haycombe Chapel (which despite its name is not a consecrated space). Instead it was a compromise after a petition objecting to the removal of the cross gathered 4,000 signatures.

The battle of Haycombe Chapel’s cross encapsulates Britain’s increasingly fractious relationship with its Christian heritage and the tension between those who seek a proudly areligious society and those, including the Prime Minister, who believe we should be more outspoken about our foundation faith.

On Monday, David Cameron found himself under attack from a coalition of 55 leading liberal voices, including author Philip Pullman and philosopher AC Grayling, for fostering “alienation” across the UK by insisting that Britons should be “more confident about our status as a Christian country”.

Behind the row lie wider questions about just how Christian Britain is in 2014.

The statistics are both for and against Mr Cameron and his detractors. When the 2011 census was taken, 59 per cent of those in England and Wales described themselves as Christian. But the 2001 census found 72 per cent were nominally Christian.

The net loss of 4.1 million Christians would have been significantly worse had it not been for an influx of 1.2 million foreign-born believers – many from more strongly religious countries such as Poland and Nigeria – coming to Britain.

Research by the House of Commons Library in 2012 found that the number of non-believers – the nation’s atheists and agnostics are growing by nearly 750,000 a year – will overtake Christians by 2030.

The result, according to those who believe religion should be expunged from politics, is a disproportionate influence for the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church, which critics say are out of step with those to whom they preach.

Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, said: “If you put forward the idea that this is a Christian country with the implicit idea that Christians are somehow superior to other citizens then its leads down a dangerous path of prioritising one group’s belief ahead of others.

“Church of England attendance now stands at around 800,000 on a typical Sunday. It becomes increasingly difficult, therefore, to justify its privileged position, particularly when it espouses views on subjects such as gay marriage, which the rest of society has long since left behind.”

One senior cleric rejected the criticism, accusing Mr Cameron’s critics of propagating an “intolerant secularism” that ignores a country imbued with Christian culture, history and values.

The Right Reverend Mark Davies, the Catholic Bishop of Shrewsbury, who has said that Christians might soon become “strangers in our own land”, told The Independent: “Christianity is the single most important element in England’s history. From our legal system to our constitution, it is at the very foundations of national identity.

“There is a danger of airbrushing this from our memory and the intolerant secularism that we are seeing expressed does not allow for acknowledgement of that contribution and its importance to our present life.”

Perhaps optimistically, some church leaders have insisted that while the “soft faith” of values and upbringing that once meant many Britons would declare themselves “Christian” without ever crossing the threshold of a church has fallen away, those who now volunteer their faith represent a core of wholehearted belief.

As the Roman Catholic Bishop’ Conference of England and Wales put it: “Christianity is no longer a religion of culture but a religion of decision and commitment.”

Rather like Haycombe Chapel and its movable cross, the reality of Christian Britain is probably more complex, with Britons increasingly adopting a “pick and mix” approach to faith.

Meanwhile, both the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope have recently made conciliatory statements on homosexuality.

Nevertheless, the ability of religion to enflame debate is undimmed. As Billy Connolly once put it: “It seems to me that Islam and Christianity and Judaism all have the same God, and he’s telling them all different things.”

 

COMMENT:

The UK Census results are somewhat misleading as the census form ask what religion do you belong to.
Many who put down “Christian” do so to distinguish between Muslim or Buddhism etc.
If a qualifying question asked…….”Are you a religious person (I.e you pray and you go church/mosques/temples on a regular basis) then many would say “No”……..and this would skip the question regarding which religion they belong to.
So 59% who put down Christian is a gross over estimation of those who truly were religious let alone “Christian”.
If the 59% were truly accurate then that would mean that every other person you meet should be a Bible reading, church going worshiper….. but that clearly is not the case, in truth “Christians” probably struggle to reach 1/6 of the populace…….So no Mr.Cameron……we are NOT a Christian nation……and that is no bad thing…..religion has for too long had a hold on not just this country but all counties in the world.

 

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April 23, 2014 · 11:51

He’s not the Messiah – he’s just a rich old Etonian Tory P.M.

imageimageCall me Dave: 2 - the Christ Years

The PM once likened his Christian faith to the patchy reception of Magic FM in the Chilterns meaning “it comes and goes”.

David Cameron has claimed in an interview that “Jesus invented the Big Society 2,000 years ago”. The Conservative leader added: “I just want to see more of it.”

Cameron isn’t the first political leader to claim divine inspiration. But aspects of Conservative ideology would seem to clash with some of Jesus’s pronouncements in the New Testament. Can you serve God and money? Is it easy for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven? Jesus was reasonably clear on these points.

As for the big society, he may be recalling the famous quote from his political inspiration, Margaret Thatcher, who once said: “Nobody would remember the Good Samaritan if he had only good intentions. He had money as well.”

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April 11, 2014 · 14:44

“Call me Dave” on Religion

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April 11, 2014 · 08:41

David Cameron claims ‘Jesus invented the Big Society’ – he is just continuing God’s work (from “The Independent”)

 
 Prime Minister spoke to Christian leaders assembled in Downing Street – after listening to an unfortunately-timed rendition of ‘Ave Maria’
 

 Thursday 10 April 2014

Speaking last night at his Easter reception in Downing Street, the Prime Minister reportedly said he was simply doing God’s work when he launched the “Big Society” initiative of volunteering and civic responsibility.

“Jesus invented the Big Society 2,000 years ago,” Mr Cameron said. “I just want to see more of it.”

On the day that saw Culture Secretary Maria Miller resign over a furore about her expenses – despite repeatedly being back by the Prime Minister – Mr Cameron was said to have no comment on a singer’s choice of hymn: “Ave Maria”.

He went further than any recent prime minister in speaking publicly about his faith, according to Bloomberg News, and took the opportunity to offer his support to Britain’s Christian community.

“It is the case that Christians are now the most persecuted religion around the world,” Mr Cameron said. “We should stand up against persecution of Christians and other faith groups wherever and whenever we can.”

And offering his services to help the Church keep up its commitments to Jesus’s Big Society concept, he a little bizarrely compared himself to a company that unblocks drains.

“If there are things that are stopping you from doing more, think of me as a giant Dyno-Rod,” he said.

Mr Cameron faced a backlash from his own Conservative Party MPs yesterday over the way he handled Ms Miller’s resignation.

Speaking after the soprano at the reception had finished her rather apt choice of hymn last night, the Prime Minister said: “The Bible tells us to bear one another’s burdens. After the day I’ve had, I’m definitely looking for volunteers.”

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