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Mr Cameron Playing the Religious Card

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David Cameron has told Britain that we should be more confident about being a Christian country and urged us to "get out there and make a difference". He says it is time for the Church to play a greater role in politics and society and has accused some of "failing to grasp" the role religion has in "helping people to have a moral code".

Of course we could simply dismiss these remarks - along with other similar remarks from the Conservatives - as simple electioneering tactics to get the 'Christian vote' or a response to recent criticism from Church leaders, or as some people have suggested - a response to UKIP attracting some Christians.

On another level it could be seen as a reckless, damaging and divisive thing to say - and a sign of desperation and very poor leadership. Even if he is being entirely sincere in terms of what he believes: just over half the population claim to be Christian - is he prime minister of only half the country?

Mr Cameron has qualified - in some cases contradicted his remarks - for instance he is quoted as saying "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."

In spite of this, the inference must still be that Christians are more moral - contribute more and are all round better than other people in Britain. If he didn't mean that Christians had more to offer, why urge Christians in particular to get out there and do things. Why not urge everyone to do good?

He is prime minister of a very diverse country with many different religions, cultures and different ethnic groups and yet he has decided to highlight the virtues of only one group of people.

What - in principle - is the difference between highlighting that Britain is (by some definitions) a 'Christian country' and, say, highlighting that it is predominately a 'white country'? Setting aside the very racist connotations of the latter, the principle is surely the same. He is identifying a particular characteristic of a large group of citizens of this country and apparently declaring they are better than the rest.

The majority of people in the UK describe themselves as Christian - around 33million out of a population of just under 64million - a narrow majority which seems to declining.

On an average Sunday - only around 800,000 actually attend Church of England services and, according to some estimates, only around one in 10 members of all Christian faiths attend church and only 29% of people described themselves as religious when asked in a YouGov poll in 2011.

By highlighting Christian 'virtues' of responsibility, hard work, charity, compassion, humility - is he suggesting that other groups don't have those virtues? If so most people will not believe him. If he is acknowledging (in among the rather confusing language) that most people share these virtues - again, why highlight the Christians?

Many Christians are indeed hard-working, compassionate and modest but so are many non-Christians and even many people with no faith! Christians do not have the monopoly on being moral and doing good - although they may be better organised than some other groups. Organising atheists would be like organising a herd of cats.

Quite rightly, citizens of this country should be able to hold whatever religious views they feel inclined towards - they should be free to express those views but not at the expense of other people. I know for a fact that many Christians do good things but - but so do other people - no one group should be put in charge.

The Church of England has bishops in the House of Lords as a right - a most undemocratic state of affairs - but this does not mean we are a 'Christian country'. Most people don't describe themselves as religious and even those that simply describe themselves as Christian (culturally Christian?) are barely in a majority.

Mr Cameron is meant to be the prime minister of the whole Country - not just one part of it. Personally - I don't believe in any god or gods or an after-life but I like to think I can be moral and sometimes do good things.

I think he underestimates those non-religious people by accusing them of "failing to grasp" the role of religion in this country - I think people will grasp very well that this Country is about more than just one religion.

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