A few weeks ago, millions of people across Britain celebrated Easter. Just as I’ve done for the last five years, I made my belief in the importance of Christianity absolutely clear. As Prime Minister, I’m in no doubt about the matter: the values of the Christian faith are the values on which our nation was built.
Of course I know not everyone agrees. Many understandably feel that in this seemingly secular society, talking about faith isolates those who have no faith. Others argue that celebrating Easter somehow marginalises other religions. But I’m an unapologetic supporter of the role of faith in this country. And for me, the key point is this: the values of the Christian religion – compassion, forgiveness, kindness, hard work and responsibility – are values that we can all celebrate and share.
GUIDED BY CONSCIENCE
I know that some disagree with those policies – including a number within the Church. But I would urge those individuals not to dismiss the people who proposed those policies as devoid of morality – or assume those policies are somehow amoral themselves. As Winston Churchill said after the death of his opponent, Neville Chamberlain, in the end we are all guided by the lights of our own reason. ‘The only guide to a man is his own conscience; the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions.’
From standing up for faith schools to backing those who’ve fought foreign tyranny, helping parents and celebrating families, calling for more adoption of orphaned infants, bringing in a new bill to outlaw the appalling practice of modern slavery, and putting the protection of international development spending into law, this government has consistently taken decisions which are based on fundamental principles and beliefs.
IN THE TOUGHEST OF TIMES, MY FAITH HAS HELPED ME MOVE ON AND DRIVE FORWARD
I don’t just speak for myself, but for everyone who is part of my cabinet, when I say that the individuals I have worked with are driven not just by the daily demands of politics, but also by a commitment to making a positive difference. Just because some people have disagreed with our policies, does not mean those policies are lacking in moral content.
LIFT PEOPLE UP RATHER THAN COUNT PEOPLE OUT
So I end my argument with this: I hope everyone can share in the belief of trying to lift people up rather than count people out. Those values and principles are not the exclusive preserve of one faith or religion. They are something I hope everyone in our country believes. That, after all, is the heart of the Christian message. Easter is all about remembering the importance of change, responsibility, and doing the right thing for the good of our children. And today, that message matters more than ever.
David Cameron leads the Conservative party. To read interviews with Labour leader Ed Miliband, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and watch further election coverage, visit premier.org.uk/election
Church and Society
Having heard from the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative party in recent months, Premier Christianity sought statements from other parties on how they view the Church’s role in society.
The SNP recognises the substantial and enduring influence of the Christian faith in transforming and inspiring Scotland’s people and culture. Modern Scotland is a multifaith and multicultural society; we welcome and value the contribution made by all Scotland’s diverse faith and belief communities, to enrich us all. We have a shared commitment with Scotland’s churches to tackling inequality, in particular combating the impact of welfare changes and addressing the issue of poverty among those in work. We are eager to continue to work together towards our aim of creating a more fair and just society. SNP spokesperson
While acknowledging that a person’s faith in God is a private matter, my party supports any individual who wishes to express their faith in a free country. We wish to work with any religious community that upholds and promotes social cohesion, and engages in assisting those who are in great need. For example, UKIP acknowledges the practical assistance given by various churches via their contributions of food stock to the various UK food banks. In my home city, I often meet faith leaders from different denominations who are actively seeking to bring communities together to openly discuss practical and moral issues. We should value and support their effort. Mark Taylor, UKIP parliamentary candidate for Coventry South
The Green Party recognises the enormous amount of excellent work done by churches up and down the country. From pioneering Fairtrade, to organising with communities to push for Living Wage jobs, the Church has often been at the forefront of social change in Britain. We’re also very proud to have worked with churches on the excellent nationwide disvestment campaign. The Green Party believes in strong local communities and we will always defend the rights of people to practise their religion. Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party