Is Britain Christian? Does it matter? A divided country debates

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David Cameron

Photo courtesy Number 10 via Flickr

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron (right) and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (left) disagree on many issues, including the idea that Britain is and should be a Christian country.

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British politicians and pundits are at each others’ throats---again---debating whether or not the United Kingdom is and should be a "Christian country." As with all things British, the answer is complicated, controversial and tied up in history.

  • larry

    The United Kingdom is as Christian as it is a Monarchy. Something of former importance but of zero practical effect on the modern society. If they dumped both, society will still function the same with no major changes.

    Cameron is using “Christian Nation” the same way American fundamentalists do. To proclaim sectarian prejudices are part of the government and marginalize those whose beliefs differ from his

  • gilhcan

    No, it doesn’t matter whether Britain is Christian, or of any other religious persuasion, or none at all. The only thing that matters is that it is a civil nation, better than the United States, presently, that the genuine majority are in genuine control, and that they live in ways that prove they care for each other. You don’t need any religion to be like that.

    Every nation should be like the very first clause of the First Amendment to our Constitution claims we must be, free and separate from any established religion. Of course, technically, thanks to Henry VIII, the monarch of Britain is the “Protector of the Faith,” head of the church. That title and position are meaningless now, in spite of any formalities like the queen approving the recent appointment of the new Archbishop of Canterbury.

    Britain is loaded with meaningless antiquities. Those antiquities may be glamorous and full of super-expensive pageantry, just like the Catholic Church’s Vatican headquarters and the mansions in which many of its bishops reside–and many of its parish priests–at the expense of the stupid people in the pews. They are costly and they are showy, but they serve absolutely no good for the people.

    However, until the masses realize and admit that religion changes like everything else–you know, evolution–there can be no genuine freedom of religion or any other aspect of societies. Until there is freedom of religion that includes the clear understanding of freedom from religion, there can be no freedom of any kind, there can be no real democracy. That goes for money, also.

    The United States is a case in point. We are still searching to be a genuine democracy. We started out with that goal in our original break from Britain, but our original Constitution legalized slavery of particular people. Our original Constitution did not recognize women’s rights, they could not vote. We still keep women subservient to men in wages, opportunities, and control over their own bodies.

    We all have a very long way to go. At times like the present, we seem to take one step forward and two steps backward. Things will continue that way as long as people are not genuinely equal, as long as we have civil or religious monarchies, as long as we have oligarchies like the Koch brothers, the Walton family, the Romneys, and the thieves of Wall St. and corporation heads who are permitted by the masses to keep them subjugated.

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  • gilhcan

    I’m not so sure that Britain will or can “dump” its monarchy. The people have always paid mightily for it, but just watch the events in which they parade their royals, in which the Archbishop of Canterbury plays a vital role. The people form mobs. They love it. They eat it up.

    I recall a time, 1972, when I was visiting London and stopped in a tavern hoping to be able to locate a “cold” beer. The beer was “refrigerated” in an open tray of ice cubes at the edge of the backbar, hardly chilled. A gentleman struck up a conversation and asked how I was enjoying London. I responded that I loved it, but I thought the statues and other royal symbols were rather overdone–including the huge initials, “ER,” reverencing “Elizabeth Regina,” at the bottom, center corners of the very large stage curtains at Covent Garden. His cute British response was, “And let me tell you, it’s mighty f…ing expensive, too.”

    The people in the pews spend a mighty dollar on the monarchy of churches. Consider the recent flap, quieted already, over the audacious expenditures for sumptuous mansions for the Catholic archbishops of Newark, NJ, and Atlanta, GA–following the superbly more audacious expenditures spent by the brazen Bishop “Bling” of Germany on his palace. There are numerous others, old and current. They have happened and continue because “the people” allow it.

  • gilhcan

    British Work and Pension Secretary Iain Duncan Smith hopefully knows more about work and pensions than the ignorance he displays about British history and religion in his country or anywhere else. “Historical and constitutional reality” doesn’t make anything “eternal.” When it comes to religion, religion had always been whatever its adherents and non-adherents have made it.

    Countries may legislate about many behaviors, but not belief. Belief is whatever people believe, and no two people, Catholics, Anglicans, or any others, have ever shared the same details of religious belief. No country or church can legislate belief. Religion is in the mind. Thinking cannot be legislated.

    When politicians like David Cameron for Iain Duncan Smith start talking religion, beware. Some of the most dangerous behavior we are still seeing brazenly demonstrated in our own country are the efforts of some people and their politicians to unconstitutionally mingle politics and religion.

    In spite of the awful history of evil practices by religious people, many have still not learned the necessary wisdom of peace by maintaining a separation of religion and churches from politics and government. Freedom of religion and freedom from religion are two sides of the same coin. That should be the coin of every realm, whether civil or monarchical.

    David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith need to study all history, religious and church history included, to learn the vital lessons that study can provide in bringing all ways of life, civil, religious, constitutional, and legislative, to honorable reality. They are currently rank examples of the terror that has always resulted from mingling religion with civil government.

  • Billysees

    Enjoyed your very interesting commentaries about Britain and her ways.

    I think we can easily summarize England’s and America’s obvious greatness and excellent civility —

    1. Righteousness or Godliness exalts a nation…Pro.14:34
    2. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God….Phil. 1:11

  • Larry

    Ugh. You enjoyed the commentaries but ignored them completely in favor of some homily.

    1. Godliness makes a mess of nations since nobody has a clear idea of what that is beyond their specific faith and sect.
    2. Righteousness does not require Jesus.

  • Leonora

    I really enjoyed his Easter message actually! I think England is very lucky to have him as the prime minister!

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