David Cameron says Christians should be 'more evangelical'
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."