David Cameron says Christians should be ‘more evangelical’

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David Cameron says that in a secular age Christians should be even 'more evangelical' about their faith and says he has felt the 'healing power' of the Church.

Christians should be "more evangelical" about their faith and "get out there and make a difference to people's lives", David Cameron has said.

In his strongest intervention on religion to date, Mr Cameron said that in an increasingly "secular age" Christians need to be even "more confident" and "ambitious".

He said that he has personally felt the "healing power" of the Church of England's pastoral care and highlighted its role in "improving our society and the education of our children".

He said he wants to "infuse politics" with Christian "ideals and values" such as "responsibility, hard work, charity, compassion, humility and love".

Mr Cameron's comments go significantly further than his previous comments on his faith, when he said that his belief in God is a "bit like the reception for Magic FM in the Chilterns: it sort of comes and goes".

In an article in the Church Times ahead of Easter Sunday, Mr Cameron acknowledged that he is a "bit vague" on the "more difficult parts of faith" but said he has "deep respect" for the national role of the Church.

He said: "I am a member of the Church of England, and, I suspect, a rather classic one: not that regular in attendance, and a bit vague on some of the more difficult parts of the faith.

"But that doesn't mean the Church of England doesn't matter to me or people like me: it really does. I like its openness, I deeply respect its national role, and I appreciate its liturgy, and the architecture and cultural heritage of its churches.

"My parents spent countless hours helping to support and maintain the village church that I grew up next to, and my Oxfordshire constituency has churches – including some medieval masterpieces – that take your breath away with their beauty, simplicity, and serenity. They are a vital part of Britain's living history.

"I have felt at first hand the healing power of the Church's pastoral care, and my children benefit from the work of a superb team in an excellent Church of England school."

The Prime Minister insisted that being a Christian country did not mean "doing down" other religions or "passing judgment" on those with no faith at all.

The Government has come under attack from senior clergy over its welfare reforms, but Mr Cameron said "we all believe in many of the same principles" and churches were "vital partners".

He said: "I believe we should be more confident about our status as a Christian country, more ambitious about expanding the role of faith-based organisations, and, frankly, more evangelical about a faith that compels us to get out there and make a difference to people's lives.

"First, being more confident about our status as a Christian country does not somehow involve doing down other faiths or passing judgment on those with no faith at all.

"Many people tell me it is easier to be Jewish or Muslim in Britain than in a secular country precisely because the tolerance that Christianity demands of our society provides greater space for other religious faiths, too.

"Crucially, the Christian values of responsibility, hard work, charity, compassion, humility, and love are shared by people of every faith and none – and we should be confident in standing up to defend them.

"People who, instead, advocate some sort of secular neutrality fail to grasp the consequences of that neutrality, or the role that faith can play in helping people to have a moral code. Of course, faith is neither necessary nor sufficient for morality.

"Many atheists and agnostics live by a moral code – and there are Christians who don't. But for people who do have a faith, that faith can be a guide or a helpful prod in the right direction – and, whether inspired by faith or not, that direction or moral code matters."

continue to source article at telegraph.co.uk

55 COMMENTS

  1. Ah yes the so called Holy Week. Now our prime minister decides he is religious after all, you never know when those traditional Tory god bothering votes might come in handy. Is there an election due next year? As for his assertion that Christians should be more evangelical, for his information time has long since passed when Christians could shout their beliefs in non believers faces and expect them to convert. Christians holier than thou that seems to be this deluded message.

  2. Yes indeed a clever politician at work !

    Not one mention of God !!

    All about “pastoral care” and other such woolly expressions.

    If I were to summarize this article in one sentence, it would be : ” The Church of England is a benign influence in our society.” No great theological battles about first causes, the problem of evil, or the significance of the resurrection and the like. Nope, just the organisation, the CoE does good !

    Like Marks and Spencer take away meals, almost guaranteed to offend no-one ! Blandness personified !

  3. “”People who, instead, advocate some sort of secular neutrality fail to grasp the consequences of that neutrality, or the role that faith can play in helping people to have a moral code. Of course, faith is neither necessary nor sufficient for morality.”

    Hmm.. Let me see if I understand this correctly.

    “Faith has a role in helping people to have a moral code – which is – to be neither necessary nor sufficient.”

    Thanks for that Dave! What’s your job again?

  4. Yes Christians, get out there and run more soup kitchens. We need them after my government cut benefits. I’m sure the scroungers will appreciate being fed under a magnificent Medieval façade.

    And, buy the way, vote for me next year. Like you, I really like god, even if I’m not really sure who he is.

  5. He said he wants to “infuse politics” with Christian “ideals and values” such as “responsibility, hard work, charity, compassion, humility and love”.

    He forgot to add murdering children, rape, genocide and slavery, all approved by Dog in the Old Testicle.

    How apologists love to dance around the nasty bits of their “good book”.

    Listen carefully Ca-moron, religion and politics do not mix.

  6. I suspect his new found faith is a desperate attempt to stop his far right support base gravitating towards UKIP. Whatever the reason, I find it extremely distasteful and a new low in British politics that a politician should play the religion card in this way. This is not the USA and politics and religion should be completely separate from each other. It’s too bad secularism isn’t placed into law so religion can’t leech into political discourse or policy in the way it has of late.

  7. Indeed, he is after votes – after all, the Church of England is the Tory party at prayer… well, it still is among the over 50s anyway…

    I doubt he actually knows what ‘evangelical’ means, bless him…

    He certainly doesn’t understand ‘Christian Values’… the values of power, hate, discrimination, superiority, money, ignorance, arrogance, misogyny, corruption, perversion, exclusion, control, abuse, fear and death…

    Unless he does mean those values, of course…

  8. You’ve got to love the idea of humility as being an exclusively christian value.
    I’ll never forget Bill O’reilly claiming christians invented humility, with no sense of irony whatsoever.
    They be claiming they invented marriage next.

    • In reply to #11 by jjbircham:

      You’ve got to love the idea of humility as being an exclusively christian value.
      I’ll never forget Bill O’reilly claiming christians invented humility, with no sense of irony whatsoever.
      They be claiming they invented marriage next.

      Well actually… Ken Ham said so in the Creationism debate with Bill Nye. He said that God invented marriage.

  9. Is Cameron planning to use the churches to deliver cut price welfare services so he can reduce taxes for the wealthy? Since he is praising religious organizations for doing good works, shouldn’t he be urging them to get rid of the theology and operate purely as philanthropic institutions?

  10. Firstly it doesn’t surprise me that a conservative politician has been raised with the church and had such an early experience of the guilt trip of always mending his village church – (funny how they all endlessly bleed funds for the never ending mending) and maybe how he could become a hero if he ever could become the PM…..and how the secret handshakes go on among the churchy people who run the best schools for the kids of the highest and wealthy churchy people – who somehow get the secret handshake from the vicar for the highest office in the Gov…..

    and Secondly it doesn’t surprise me that this sudden declaration of faith comes at lightening speed after more reports that the church in UK have been condemning the Government for not doing something more about the vast amount of people using food banks every week in the UK….many of which are run by charities some of them are religious….
    Which I think is a hypocrisy in itself, that the church is pretending to scold the Gov for something that the church once partook in themselves keeping people poor while it took all the wealth for its own elite funds.

  11. He said he wants to “infuse politics” with Christian “ideals and values” such as “responsibility, hard work, charity, compassion, humility and love”.

    IME there are few people less humble than fundamentalist nutbags claiming their little book of bullshit has all the answers, is infallible and that it trumps actual science and real evidence all of which prove it to be untrue. In fact the outstanding characteristic of the church for centuries has been mind boggling arrogance – in deciding with zero supporting evidence such things as the earth is the centre of the universe, everything revolves around it and burning anyone who disagrees at the stake. I’m not sure it’s possible to be less humble than saying it’s our way or we kill you and no debate. As I understand it that’s still the case in seven countries on this planet although happily the UK isn’t one of them.

    • In reply to #15 by Arkrid Sandwich:

      I’m not sure it’s possible to be less humble than saying it’s our way or we kill you and no debate. As I understand it that’s still the case in seven countries on this planet although happily the UK isn’t one of them.

      Which seven countries are you referring to?

      • In reply to #17 by Lonevoice:

        In reply to #15 by Arkrid Sandwich:

        I’m not sure it’s possible to be less humble than saying it’s our way or we kill you and no debate. As I understand it that’s still the case in seven countries on this planet although happily the UK isn’t one of them.

        Which seven countries are you referring to?

        All Islamic ones so not an indictment of Christianity per se. I think the list of countries that still have the death penalty for apostasy includes Iran, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan and a few others. More than seven in fact.

        • In reply to #21 by Arkrid Sandwich:

          In reply to #17 by Lonevoice:

          Which seven countries are you referring to?

          All Islamic ones so not an indictment of Christianity per se

          Thank you for clarifying. Your comment at #15 moved seamlessly from churches past to Islam present, so I hope you didn’t mind me asking.

        • In reply to #21 by Arkrid Sandwich:
          >
          All Islamic ones so not an indictment of Christianity per se. I think the list of countries that still have the death penalty for apostasy includes Iran, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan and a few others. More than seven in fact.

          North Korea is not Islamic. Admittedly they don’t call it apostacy, but there is little if any difference between criticising Mahommed and criticising Kim.

  12. I don’t think David Cameron has said anything that should unduly alarm those who would prefer to work towards a more secular society. As many of the commentators above have already noted, he said nothing radical, nothing that could really offend anyone and, as his article was in The Church Times, he knows what he should say to that particular audience: it doesn’t mean he will actually DO anything about it.

    Christians don’t need a Prime Minister to tell them to be more evangelical (actually, I think he means evangelistic). It was Jesus who first said his followers should go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel message. That should be enough, shouldn’t it?

  13. The International Humanist and Ethical Union published a report recently on religious freedom (mostly lack of it). You can download the full report but the headline findings are enough reason for concern.

    You can be put to death for expressing atheism in 13 countries.

    In 39 countries the law mandates a prison sentence for blasphemy, including six western countries.

    The non-religious are discriminated against, or outright persecuted, in most countries of the world

  14. You get the feeling Cameron either doesn’t understand or cynically ignores the meaning of “evangelism”. It doesn’t mean expending energy to help your fellow man it means wasting energy trying to impose your own view of the world on your fellow man.

    He could do with reflecting on the fact the recent opposition to his same sex marriage legislation came from people who though they were being guided by their faith not to mention the Islamists in Birmingham who want segregated classes for boys and girls as well as mandatory veil wearing etc.
    Add honour killings, exorcism for the mentally ill, child sacrifice – all of which has happened in London over the past few years and you begin to wonder why he doesn’t seem to realise why secularist government is not only necessary but essential for a modern democracy.

    Oh I know – he’s thinking of all those fluffy middle class parents (the target demographic )who will be packing the churches this Easter only to leave them empty till Christmas. News flash – most of those aren’t believers either. They do it because they think of it as a quaint enjoyable tradition which makes their kids happy.

    • In reply to #24 by mr_DNA:

      You get the feeling Cameron either doesn’t understand or cynically ignores the meaning of “evangelism”. It doesn’t mean expending energy to help your fellow man it means wasting energy trying to impose your own view of the world on your fellow man.

      Couldn’t have put it better. I’d have far less of a problem with the churches (CoE, Roman Catholics, LDS, or dozens of others) if they were handing out food rather than propaganda.

  15. @OP – In his strongest intervention on religion to date, Mr Cameron said that in an increasingly “secular age” Christians need to be even “more confident” and “ambitious”.

    A bit like the hypocritical confidently presented Tory stories about “improving services”, by cutting budgets and employing cheap unqualified teachers in place of university trained professionals.

    He said that he has personally felt the “healing power” of the Church of England’s pastoral care and highlighted its role in “improving our society and the education of our children”.

    This sounds a bit like his quackologist ministers “healing power” of introducing homoeopathy into the NHS, and climate-change-deniers leading debates on energy and environmental policy!

    He said he wants to “infuse politics” with Christian “ideals and values” such as “responsibility, hard work, charity, compassion, humility and love”.

    He already has the cognitive dissonance and “belief” that applied stupidity, back-seat driving by amateurs, and know-it-all meddling by his clueless politicians, will create improvements!

    Since telling the public to “vote blue, go green” in 2006 and pledging in opposition to lead “the greenest government ever”, David Cameron has had little to say on climate change. In the three and a half years since he entered No. 10, the PM hasn’t made a single speech on the subject, nor attended a UN environmental summit. Emboldened by his silence, Tory climate change deniers have rushed to fill the void. Energy minister Michael Fallon has described climate change as “theology” and Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has declared: “People get very emotional about this subject and I think we should just accept that the climate has been changing for centuries.” [The 12 warmest years have all come in the last 15.] Tory MPs have put forward a bill to abolish the Department for Energy and Climate Change, and George Osborne has repeatedly posited a false choice between growth and green energy investment.
    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/11/cameron-finally-challenges-tory-climate-change-deniers

    “So I’ll leave the scientists to speak for themselves about the link between severe weather events and climate change. The evidence seems to me to be growing. As a practical politician I think the sensible thing is to say let’s take preventative and mitigating steps given the chances this might be the case.”

    Admirable words, but will they be supported by policy? At present, the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions are rising, not falling, with investment in clean energy at a seven-year low and Britain forecast to miss its carbon reduction targets. Against the advice of the climate change select commitee, Cameron refused to include a 2030 decarbonisation target in the energy bill, despite an estimated saving of £958 to £1,724 for each household and the potential creation of up to 48,000 new jobs.

    More recently, in an attempt to counter Labour’s proposed energy price freeze, he has pledge to “roll back” green taxes, with no apparent consideration given to the environmental consequences. The energy and climate change commitee warned in response: “Backtracking on these legally binding contracts will damage policy credibility, seriously undermine investor confidence and could increase the cost of capital for new energy investments – thus pushing up energy bills”.

    But with the PM’s green conscience stirring again, is he about to perform another volte-face? As ever with Cameron, one can never be sure what he really believes.

    Rhetoric should not be confused with constructive action or effective policy.

    Still:- There’s votes in them thar congregations, and the deluded are so much better at swallowing bull-shit than critical educated people.

    • In reply to #25 by Alan4discussion:

      . . .he has personally felt the “healing power” of the Church of England’s pastoral care and highlighted its role in “improving our society and the education of our children”.. . . . . . . This sounds a bit like his quackologist ministers “healing power” of introducing homoeopathy into the NHS, and climate-change-deniers leading debates on energy and environmental policy
      .

      I wondered what he meant by ‘healing power of the church’. I came to the conclusion that he might be referring to any comfort he and Samantha received when they lost their dear child a few years ago. I’m not sure he was referring to any claims to divine medical/physical healing.

      • In reply to #27 by Lonevoice:

        In reply to #25 by Alan4discussion:

        I wondered what he meant by ‘healing power of the church’. I came to the conclusion that he might be referring to any comfort he and Samantha received when they lost their dear child a few years ago. I’m not sure he was referring to any claims to divine medical/physical healing.

        You could be right – but as it is facing in all directions at once, Dave Cameron, he is probably pandering to the bishops in the House of Lords in hope of a bit of support! – after all he has made cuts to the living standards of the poorest, (Food banks see ‘shocking’ rise in number of users) and told doctors they are not worth a 1% cost of living rise, – but priorities are priorities, so he has, defended the poor little old-school executive banker chaps, when the meanie Europeans were going to cap their bonuses to 100% or 200% of their salaries!
        I don’t know many Xtians who would see this as Xtian charity!
        Old school Tory – the grasping hand behind the arrogant smiling face!

  16. A very simplistic, rose-tinted view of Religion, and what evangelism actually means. But hey, we’re talking about David Cameron.

    Many people tell me it is easier to be Jewish or Muslim in Britain than in a secular country precisely because the tolerance that Christianity demands of our society provides greater space for other religious faiths, too.

    Or, being free to run your own little religious microcosm, perversions and all, as long as you don’t look too close at mine. God bless relativism.

    Crucially, the Christian values of responsibility, hard work, charity, compassion, humility, and love are shared by people of every faith and none – and we should be confident in standing up to defend them.

    Which really means, those views DC espouse aren’t exclusively reserved to Christianity. Therefore, what’s the point of the evangelising your bullshit on top of it all?

    People who, instead, advocate some sort of secular neutrality fail to grasp the consequences of that neutrality, or the role that faith can play in helping people to have a moral code. Of course, faith is neither necessary nor sufficient for morality.

    Yes it is. You don’t need faith (believe in unsubstantiated claims) to have a code of conduct that everyone can agree on. That’s why we have secular laws. It is completely irrelevant, and in fact harmful. Thinking the plebs cannot possibly conduct themselves morally without your make-believe happy pills is asinine, but frankly not really surprising. And, I don’t think DC understand what secularism actually means, which is frankly worrying, coming from a PM. It doesn’t mean ‘neutral’.

    In short, a useful idiot for the evangelists.

  17. No need to panic. This is a politician messaging (or is that massaging) a particular audience. Note he is saying this in a paper that secular people probably don’t read so he can mutter some bollocks without drawing too much attention and some of the god botherer’s votes might be useful. He is hardly going to say that xtians are nutters is he?

    • In reply to #33 by crookedshoes:

      Sooooooooo…… Christianity has to change in response to a “new” environment???

      HMMMMMMMM…..

      No No Nooooo! It has to appear to change!

      They “openly appear” to consult the people in a survey – but if the results are not to their liking …. . ..

      The Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has turned down a request by members for the results of a sexual ethics survey to be made public.

      The unprecedented worldwide poll was commissioned by Pope Francis.

      Reformers said refusing to publish the results would suggest the Church was not sincere about sharing responsibility with lay people.

      A Church spokesman said a senior Vatican official had expressly asked for summaries to remain confidential.

      • Yes, yes, I see!

        BTW, I went to mass a couple weeks ago. Almost every response has changed since the last time I was there. You mean the actual ceremony of “celebration” of mass is subject to change??? It was a far far cry from the latin in the 1950′s…. witnessing today’s iteration, one might be “tempted” to say that it has “evolved”….

        In reply to #34 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #33 by crookedshoes:

        Sooooooooo…… Christianity has to change in response to a “new” environment???

        HMMMMMMMM…..

        No No Nooooo! It has to appear to change!

        They “appear” to consult the people in a survey – but if the results are not to their liking …. . ..

        The Roman Catholic…

        • In reply to #35 by crookedshoes:

          Yes, yes, I see!

          BTW, I went to mass a couple weeks ago. Almost every response has changed since the last time I was there. You mean the actual ceremony of “celebration” of mass is subject to change??? It was a far far cry from the latin in the 1950′s…. witnessing today’s iteration, one might…

          Ah! The language, the advertising, the sales-pitch and the packaging have changed – but the core product???

          This survey may be eventually published after the sheeples have been “trained to use faith understand it”, so we will have to wait and see!

  18. So he gets his moral code from the bible. Well, I’m pretty sure he’s not into stoning to death gays and women who aren’t virgins when they get married so he must have another source for the moral code he uses to cherry-pick the bible.

    I assume this sudden spouting of his religiosity is part of persuading older voters to vote for him next year. They’re already being bribed with their own money by the chancellor.

    • In reply to #36 by gcb01:

      So he gets his moral code from the bible. Well, I’m pretty sure he’s not into stoning to death gays and women who aren’t virgins when they get married

      I mostly ignore people like Cameron but from what little I know I wouldn’t be too sure about that.

  19. I didn’t know that responsibility, hard work, charity, compassion, humility and love were unique to Christianity. How on earth did we manage to survive prior to JC? And how do all non Christians manage without the sage advice of the son/father?

  20. Dear England,
    Will trade you David Cameron for all of the religious nutters in the US with the condition that we keep him trussed up like Hannibal Lector and locked in a cage.
    Yours,
    The USA

  21. I do wish DM keep well away from Religion. Politics and religions are not very good bed fellows. The supernatural sky daddy has no more place in our society then a turd in a bath or swimming pool. Please don’t forget that the Christian faith stole Easter from the pagans and I do have a certain regard for pagans.

  22. One little amendment I would make…
    “Crucially, the Christian values of responsibility, hard work, charity, compassion, humility, and love are shared by people of every faith and none – and we should be confident in standing up to defend them.
    Should be:
    “Crucially, the values of responsibility, hard work, charity, compassion, humility, and love are shared by people of every faith and none – and we should be confident in standing up to defend them.

    Calling the country Christian, or implying that these values we all share are Christian in nature or origin is a horrible misrepresentation and an affront I think.

    Sounds like pandering to me. Disgusting.

  23. I just wonder why God permits a society of inequality where, in this case, the CoE has to help out by doing good deeds ?

    I suggest 3 possible answers:

    1) God doesn’t care about inequality.

    2) God can’t do anything about inequality.

    3) God doesn’t exist.

    My money’s on 3 !

  24. It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his own mind as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not really believe in, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime.

    Thomas Paine

  25. I wish to punch his shiny face just to see if he turns the other cheek

    then kick Eric Pickles in the balls repeatedly while saying “you’re getting kicked in a sensitive area, get over it”. that’s more for fun than curiosity

  26. There’s a general election next year, UKIP have taken up much of the ground usually occupied by the Torys, and as desperate times call for desperate measures, it’s probably “catch-as-catch-can” as my old dad used to say.

  27. I see IDS has joined the chorus calling atheists “delusional”

    as someone looking forward to the next general election I must applaud Dave, Eric and Iain for their tireless efforts to remind us they are a committed christian party in an increasingly secular country

    • In reply to #54 by SaganTheCat:

      as someone looking forward to the next general election I must applaud Dave, Eric and Iain for their tireless efforts to remind us they are a committed christian party in an increasingly secular country

      It’s a system of circular thinking and actions.
      Those nice Christian Tories “charitably” cut services, put people out of work, and make them do without benefits as an insurance safety net for the poor, so those “nice Christians” can feel really good – handing out a pittance to the desperate at food banks, while some of the desperate, can foolishly go to the profitable exploitative free enterprise and profitable “pay-day loans sector”.
      Religion and Tory capitalism hand-in-hand!

  28. @OP – Christians should be “more evangelical” about their faith and “get out there and make a difference to people’s lives”, David Cameron has said.

    In his strongest intervention on religion to date, Mr Cameron said that in an increasingly “secular age” Christians need to be even “more confident” and “ambitious”.

    ..and yet, – when having created an atmosphere of schools “free from LEA supervision and accountability” :-

    conservative Muslims are “more evangelical” about their faith and “get out there and make a difference to people’s lives”,

    and . . .. .. “in an increasingly “secular age” fundamentalist Muslims are even “more confident” and “ambitious”, in influencing eduction in English schools,

    . . . he is panicked by the consequences of his party’s legislation, and begins ranting about “Britishness” and “British values”! (Tory right-wing Xtian values of exploitative capitalism anyone?) -

    Such is the nature of the ideological blinkers of “faith thinking”!

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