John McTernan (Perspective, 18 April) is correct: David Cameron’s assertion that “we should be more confident about our status as a Christian country” is doubly ridiculous.
Firstly, as a believer in the core doctrines of the Christian faith as articulated by the mainstream denominations, the suggestion that in Britain I am surrounded by people who largely hold similar views is laughable.
Ignoring nominal cultural church going and “I’ve sung a few hymns in my time” census box-tickers, I estimate that under 15 per cent of the population are Christians in any meaningful sense.
Secondly, despite David Cameron’s attempts to win over Christian voters with his superficial sound bites, the fact is that UK legislation for decades has reflected a deliberate march away from Christian principle towards amoral liberalism.
David Cameron is a key figure in this trend, as he has eliminated effective political opposition to it by aligning his misnamed party fully with the media/liberal consensus. While socially conservative voters are moving towards Ukip, this is a shaky alliance.
While its leader Nigel Farage tries to say the right things to get Christians on board, Ukip’s core philosophy does not include core Christian values such as respect for human life and marriage.
Ukip is anti-EU and broadly libertarian instead. Christians and others who wish to see socially conservative values articulated in political debate are left with no viable voting option. This vacuum is waiting to be filled.
Mr McTernan’s suggestion that attracting Christian voters will be at the expense of immigrant communities overlooks two important facts. A huge number of immigrants into the UK are Christians.
They may not build exotic buildings that announce their presence, but they are here in force. More than half of church goers in London are black – and the church in London is growing.
Also, most immigrant communities enshrine more socially conservative values than the media/political elite.
Now, if Messrs Cameron or Farage were to express their faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God incarnate, as the centre of the divine plan for human redemption, and spoke of their resulting renewed relationship with the Creator of the Universe, I really would sit up and take notice.
John McTernan rejects the Prime Minister’s claim that Britain is a Christian country, telling us that “it will not attract … Hindus and Muslims … and will alienate black and minority ethnic voters”. How does he know? Many of the latter group are in fact Christians.
Furthermore, I have found that some Hindus, Muslims – and indeed Sikhs – prefer a society based on Christian values to one adrift in “‘secularism” (whatever that means).
But in any case they should be allowed to speak for themselves.
Successive studies show that the proportion of Britons who struggle to afford food is falling and the real scandal is that there were not more food banks in the New Labour era.
Yet the 45 Anglican bishops and other leftist clergy waited for a Tory-led coalition to write their letter claiming a “national crisis” existed and that millions were starving.
To his credit, the Archbishop of Canterbury refused to sign this letter, recognising, as one of the few elevated clerics to have held a job in the real world, that it was political spin.
As an unelevated parish minister I would have preferred warnings about welfarism during Brown’s boom and more anxiety about heterosexual divorce than gay marriage.
It is concern for the poorest that has driven welfare reform and Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith is in fact a better representative of practical Christianity than the men in the silk frocks.
(Rev Dr) John Cameron