British PM David Cameron under fire for calling UK 'Christian country'

Apr 21, 2014, 18:27 IST | PTI

British Prime Minister David Cameron has come under fire after he branded the UK a "Christian country" and been accused of "fostering division" within the country.

London: British Prime Minister David Cameron has come under fire after he branded the UK a "Christian country".

A group of public figures in Britain including scientists, novelists and politicians have accused Cameron of "fostering division" within the country with his remarks.

"Apart from in the narrow constitutional sense that we continue to have an established Church, Britain is not a 'Christian country'," write the authors in the letter published in 'The Daily Telegraph'.

British PM David Cemeron
British PM David Cemeron

"Repeated surveys, polls and studies show that most of us as individuals are not Christian in our beliefs or our religious identities. At a social level, Britain has been shaped for the better by many pre-Christian, non-Christian, and post-Christian forces.

"We are a plural society with citizens with a range of perspectives, and we are a largely non-religious society," they add.

Signatories to the letter include novelists Terry Pratchett and Philip Pullman, philosopher AC Grayling, and prominent scientists including Alice Roberts, Simon Singh and the Nobel-prize winning Harry Kroto.

Cameron's increased religious rhetoric in recent weeks has included an article written in the 'Church Times' in which he said Britain should be "evangelical" about its Christianity and a separate claim made earlier this month that the Conservative party's "Big Society" initiative was continuing Jesus' work.

"It is the case that Christians are now the most persecuted religion around the world," he said most recently at an Easter reception in Downing Street.

"We should stand up against persecution of Christians and other faith groups wherever and whenever we can."

A Downing Street spokesperson stressed that Cameron has maintained his Christian views for long and referred to a speech made three years ago to mark the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible where he said the UK was a Christian country and should not be afraid to say so.

"He [Mr Cameron] also added that this was not to say in any way that to have another faith or no faith was somehow wrong.

He has said on many occasions that he is incredibly proud that Britain is home to many different faith communities, who do so much to make the UK a stronger country," she said. 

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