DAVID Cameron's statement that the UK is a ‘Christian country’ has been backed by East Lancashire politicians and religious leaders.
Responding to claims that his public comment was ‘divisive’, MPs Jack Straw and Gordon Birtwistle, Lancashire Council of Mosques chairman Abdul Hamid Qureshi and Archdeacon of Blackburn, John Hawley said it was true.
Writing for the Church Times, the Prime Minister said British people should ‘be more confident about our status as a Christian country’.
Fifty prominent individuals including authors, broadcasters, comedians and scientists hit back claiming his view was ‘divisive’ in ‘a largely non-religious society’.
Mr Qureshi said: “It is a largely Christian country in terms of heritage. We have no problem with this or Mr Cameron being a Christian.
“Muslims share many basic value with Christians and we do not think it is divisive.”
Blackburn Labour MP Mr Straw, a regular churchgoer, said: “Historically and culturally, this is a Christian country and people who live here need to understand that history and culture.
“It’s not people of other faiths who object to this but militant atheists.
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“However, I believe it is better for politicians not to wear their Christianity on their sleeves but if they are asked they have to give an honest answer.
“I don’t think it will have any effect at all.”
Archdeacon Hawley said: “Whether or not it is a cynical political ploy to raise the Christian profile by David Cameron, it is good to hear our Prime Minister speak up for the Christian church when the voices of secularism are constantly trying to undermine and marginalise the voice of the church.
“Certainly, it seems to me that our national heritage is one that has been forged and shaped by a strong attachment to the Christian Faith since the seventh Century and earlier. The Christian voice has a legitimacy to be heard as any other.”
Burnley Liberal Democrat MP Mr Birtwistle said: “The Prime Minister is absolutely right to say this is a Christian county and he is a Christian.
“People of other faiths are quite happy about that. ”