Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally

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As even Nick Clegg says, it is “flamingly obvious” Britain is a Christian country

David Cameron visits the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem in March this year

David Cameron visits the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem in March this year

The Prime Minister just before Easter dared to state the United Kingdom was a Christian country and the backlash from the atheists and secularists was immediate and lengthy, culminating in the arch-Atheist, Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Yellow Peril Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, calling for the disestablishment of the Church of England.

All very predictable. But the large numbers of people in the UK stating they consider themselves Christians (59% at the last UK Census in 2012) and even a momentary glance outside of our personal lives into the civic world of Great Britain suggests the atheists and secularists are wrong. Even Nick Clegg had to admit earlier in the week it was “flamingly obvious” the country is founded on Christian values.

Former Arch-Leftist Bishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams popped up today to announce Britain was “post-Christian”, which followed earlier in the week current Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby stating the country was not a Christian country – judging by the numbers in the pews. The Church of England really is a funny institution: they are either so divided to the extent they might as well consider tabling a motion in Synod stating believing in God is optional or their high command is going out of its way to describe its irrelevance entirely. Oh dear oh dear.

It is clear why we focus on the Church of England when it comes to judging the popularity of Christianity: it is the Established Church and our Head of State is the Defender of The Faith. But let’s not be blinkered. Pop down to a Roman Catholic Church on a Sunday in any reasonably populated area (any ordinary provincial town will do) and the pews are overflowing. Join the faithful on an Easter service (e.g. Good Friday) and it is literally standing room only.

David Cameron knew what he was doing by igniting this debate. I do not doubt his sincerity when he describes moments where the “healing power” of faith has affected his life. But he didn’t become Prime Minister by not understanding what to say and when to say it. He knows he needs to win back his base before the General Election and knows policies like gay marriage haven’t helped. So he has calculated it’s time to ramp up the Christian and religious rhetoric. This is good as it reminds us we are, despite the best efforts of the Anglican Church, still a Christian country with all the values and tolerance which comes with that. The atheists and secularists who wrote to the Daily Telegraph denouncing the PM’s article in Church Times accused Mr Cameron of “fostering division”. Really? We are a Christian country, which welcomes and tolerates all faiths and none. I’d say by emphasising that he was doing quite the opposite.


David Bowie wouldn’t dare depict the Prophet Mohammed

Respect for Islam but not Christianity?

Respect for Islam but not Christianity?

Yet again a puerile, infantile “artist” has decided to commit atrocious blasphemy by depicting himself as Jesus Christ in his new music video. David Bowie wears robes striking a Christ-like pose promoting his song The Next Day whilst his fellow performer, Gary Oldman, appears dressed as a priest dancing with a prostitute in a brothel.

One such prostitute in the music video is played by Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard who, dressed in underwear, is seen kneeling staring upwards as blood pours from the palm of her hands in a deliberate portrayal of stigmata – a term used by Christians when body marks appear on people corresponding to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ.

During the production of the video, did David Bowie contemplate using Islamic imagery instead perhaps?

The question is, of course, rhetorical. Christianity is seen as an easy touch for entertainers who wish to be “controversial” to sell records. Madonna (a cradle Catholic no less) has been overtly blasphemous for years in her performances as was Michael Jackson at times, despite being allegedly a Jehovah’s Witness.

Politicians on both sides of the Atlantic have tolerated this and even promoted it with their fear of offending Islam but quite happily attacking Christianity, as was seen by David Cameron deploying his Government lawyers to the European Court of Human Rights earlier this year to defend the UK Courts decision that British Airways had not acted discriminately against their employee when they banned her from wearing a cross at work. They, fortunately, lost and the ECHR ruled Nadia Eweida had suffered discrimination at work.

I can’t quite see British Government lawyers acting in the same way in a case of discrimination if a Sikh had been banned from wearing his turban or a Muslim lady had been banned from wearing the Hijab.

Government lawyers fighting Christians in the Courts and along with comments from Prime Minister David Cameron saying his Christian faith “is a bit like the reception for Magic FM in the Chilterns: it sort of comes and goes”, this all adds up to a culture of treating Christianity as a lesser religion than Islam or Judaism by the British political establishment. And the upshot is our cultural performers feel they can cause maximum offence against what is still the biggest religion in Britain.