David Cameron goes all goddy again

I would have believed this in America, but in England? Granted, David Cameron wants to appeal to a faith-based constituency, but Britain isn’t as religious as the U.S., and when Cameron goes around touting God more often than Barack Obama, there’s something badly wrong.

And, according to the Guardian, Cameron’s gone way overboard.  His explicit and publicly stated faith is detailed in a new piece at the site, “David Cameron: I am evangelical about Christian faith.” An excerpt:

David Cameron has declared himself an “evangelical” about his Christian faith as he criticised some non-believers for failing to grasp the role that religion can have in “helping people to have a moral code”.

In his third effort this week to highlight his own strong faith, the prime minister said he wanted to see a bigger role for religion in Britain as a Christian country and urged fellow believers to be more confident in spreading their views.

What’s scary is that Cameron is buying into the same fallacy that afflicts most Americans: it’s harder for atheists to be moral because they don’t have a “moral instinct” or moral code handed down from God:

The prime minister’s religious messages began last week with an Easter reception at Downing Street, at which he said religion had brought him his greatest moments of peace and claimed “Jesus invented the big society 2,000 years ago”.

He also released a videoed Easter message for the country, in which he talked about the “countless acts of kindness carried out by those who believe in and follow Christ”.

In a separate article for the Church Times, he argued that some atheists and agnostics did not understand that faith could be a “guide or a helpful prod in the right direction” towards morality.

While acknowledging many non-believers have a moral code and some Christians do not, he added: “People who 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.

“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.”

Yes, and some believers do not understand that faith can be a guide or malevolent prod in the wrong direction. Note, too, that Cameron sees missionizing as a duty, a God-sanctioned intrusion of religion into public life.  If he kept his faith to himself, and didn’t use it as a guide for government action, it would be far better. But of course if you have a belief—an absolute belief—in God, and that’s wedded to a set of moral principles that you think derive from God, then it’s almost imperative for you to spread the Good News, in this case by making laws.

And it isn’t only Cameron:

Traditionally, UK political leaders have been more reticent than their American counterparts about religion, with Tony Blair’s former spin chief Alastair Campbell once famously proclaiming that New Labour did not “do God”. However, both Blair and Gordon Brown have always professed strong religious beliefs and Cameron has been clear that he is a churchgoer. In contrast, Nick Clegg is an atheist, while Ed Miliband on a trip to Jerusalem last week set out his desire to become the first Jewish prime minister, although he caused confusion by forgetting about Benjamin Disraeli.

“I have a particular faith. I describe myself as a Jewish atheist. I’m Jewish by birth origin and it’s part of who I am. I don’t believe in God, but I think faith is a really important thing for a lot of people,” the Labour leader said.

This is what reader Sastra calls “The Little People Argument”: we nonbelievers are smart enough and rational enough to reject religion, but it’s a great comfort for the Little People, so let us support it. Can anything get more condescending than this stand, which Dan Dennett calls “belief in belief”?

Why is this happening all of a sudden? According to the Guardian, this goddycoddling is an attempt to repair damaged relations with the Church of England, which has taken issue with Cameron’s stands on welfare (he wants it cut) and gay marriage (praise Ceiling Cat that he’s in favor of it). Regardless, it’s unseemly for a British Prime Minister to break tradition by being so open about his faith, and, especially,  for insulting nonbelievers by claiming that they’re less likely to be moral.

h/t: Adrian


  1. Posted April 17, 2014 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    David Cameron claims membership in humanity in Easter message

    LOS ANGELES, Westminster, Judgment Day (Sky Net) — Prime Minister David Cameron has spoken of the “peace” and “guidance” he finds in roleplaying as a human, as Downing Street released Mr Cameron’s Easter message on YouTube.

    Three times this week the prime minister has talked with conviction about his claim to be a member of Homo sapiens and what he believes humanity brings to the UK, hypothetically.

    He said his “moments of greatest peace” occurred every other Thursday morning, when he attended his garage for an oil change and reactor core alignment.

    Mr Cameron held a reception Downing Street on Wednesday, to which he invited actual humans. He thanked the humans for the work they did with the poor, at least insofar as it made up somewhat for his work against them, before slaughtering the lot in phaser fire.

    In 2009, Mr Cameron told BBC One’s Songs of Praise: “I believe I am a human and should behave like one, at least on special occasions.”

    He added, “I find a little bit of peace and hopefully a bit of gui-gui-gui-gui-gui-gui-Rebooting. Checking drive C.”

  2. Posted April 17, 2014 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    He’s running scared of UKIP, so it’s simply a fillip, as we approach easter, to placate the more right wing religious constituents who are more likely to vote UKIP these day. That and the issues mentioned above.
    Expect normal service to resume post easter, although religiosity may rear its ugly head again as we approach election time next year.

    • Posted April 17, 2014 at 6:22 am | Permalink

      Yes. It’s basically an attempt to culturally dogwhistle to Ukip voters without being explicitly racist.

      His main trouble is that some of the loudest opponents of his policies are from the Church, who are doing the charitable mop-up after him. So this makes his claims immediately not terribly credible.

  3. Grania Spingies
    Posted April 17, 2014 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    It’s to win votes.
    The Conservatives have lost voters to even-more-right parties like UKIP and BNP. Right about now they will say anything to get votes. And hey, it worked for their counterparts across the Atlantic, so it’s worth a try.

    It may backfire on them though, because the average UK citizen is not used to having the Christian God wedged into the political arena. In addition, those who have absconded from the Tory party to the righter-right probably didn’t do it because they felt there wasn’t enough religion in government.

    Pro-tip to Cameron: it’s the economy, stupid.

  4. GrahamH
    Posted April 17, 2014 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    To be fair to Milliband what he said is just a statement of fact. Religion is important to a lot of people, just not as many as it used to be.

    I seem to remember that before the last election Cameron claimed not to have much interest in religion.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted April 17, 2014 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      Cameron claimed not to have much interest in religion.

      He’s been reading the ratings.

  5. Linda Grilli Calhoun
    Posted April 17, 2014 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    “He also released a videoed Easter message for the country, in which he talked about the ‘countless acts of kindness carried out by those who believe in and follow Christ’.”

    Does this mean that, in response, we get to talk about the countless acts of despicable nastiness and violence carried out by those who believe in and follow Christ? L

    • Posted April 17, 2014 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      How ’bout the nastiness and violence Christ himself is supposed to carry out when he returns Real Soon Now™, or the same nastiness and violence he commanded his disciples to carry out to prepare him the way (Luke 19:27)?


  6. Jeffery
    Posted April 17, 2014 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    “Helping people to have a moral code”: yeah, Islam has certainly done well at that, if your “moral” code involves the subjugation of women, barbaric punishments, and violent intolerance of anyone who holds different beliefs than you do. In addition to just trying to garner votes, I think this is a subconscious expression of a feeling that is growing in England: “Maybe we were wrong in allowing the Muslims to come in and do whatever they wanted to”- I fear that the “tipping point” has already been reached so far as Islam’s influence (domination) on English society is concerned- a good lesson for the rest of us!

  7. Posted April 17, 2014 at 7:10 am | Permalink


  8. Greg Esres
    Posted April 17, 2014 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    I’m skeptical that, in general, Europeans are more rational than Americans. Their irreligion looks more a result of apathy than of philosophical rejection. This lack of a philosophical infrastructure means that they aren’t as immune to religious arguments as we might expect if they were a continent of skeptics. One might say that their irreligion is only skin-deep.

    • Posted April 17, 2014 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      Most of the Brits I know (by far) are atheists, and have become so because they’ve thought about it, not through apathy.

      • Posted April 17, 2014 at 7:39 am | Permalink

        As a UK atheist myself, when I see Cameron saying things like this, I too am inclined to say “Oh, God”.

      • Greg Esres
        Posted April 17, 2014 at 7:52 am | Permalink

        Thinking about it isn’t sufficient. Many of such people are still vulnerable to arguments they don’t know how to refute, such as the present one that religion helps people be good. Large numbers of atheists buy into that one. While we may regard these “faitheists” as harmless, it does create an atmosphere more favorable towards religion than would otherwise be the case.

        Being fully immunized requires a great deal of research which most people aren’t motivated to do.

        • Posted April 17, 2014 at 8:20 am | Permalink

          Being fully immunized requires a great deal of research which most people aren’t motivated to do.

          Aren’t we so fortunate that we’re so much better and cleverer than they are?

          Just out of interest: You say that “I’m skeptical that, in general, Europeans are more rational than Americans. Their irreligion looks more a result of apathy than of philosophical rejection.” Upon what do you base this diagnosis?

          • Greg Esres
            Posted April 17, 2014 at 9:00 am | Permalink

            Aren’t we so fortunate that we’re so much better and cleverer than they are?

            Inappropriate sarcasm, as well as intentional distortion of what I wrote.

            “Upon what do you base this diagnosis?”

            It’s implied with the prevailing analysis that religiosity is correlated with and caused by social dysfunction, rather than a mysterious increase in rationality.

            It’s also consistent with European attitudes that allow religious institutions and practices to persist, including state religions, and their permissiveness regarding the increasing Muslim influence.

            And in the book, “Society Without God”, there was a pervasive sense of indifference, rather than hostility; many people identified as Christian and complied with Christian rituals, in spite of claiming not to believe.

            In the end, most people are mentally lazy and the percentage probably doesn’t vary much among populations.

            • Posted April 17, 2014 at 9:36 am | Permalink

              intentional distortion of what I wrote

              Um: you implied that the European atheists are only atheistic because, essentially, they’re apathetic maroons. I pointed out that, of the hundreds of Brit atheists I know, most (I’d guess overwhelmingly so) are atheist not through apathy but because they’ve actually, y’know, thought about it. You then say that mere thinking about it isn’t enough . . .

        • stephen
          Posted April 17, 2014 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

          Greg,I think you may have the wrong end of the stick here. Many Europeans are atheists because they have thought about it, but far more are unbelievers because of the wars which engulfed Europe and the world in the first half of the 20th century and their accompanying atrocities.These events made Epicurus’s argument on the problem of evil manifest even to those unaccustomed to thinking.

      • Chris
        Posted April 17, 2014 at 9:24 am | Permalink

        To be honest, as a Brit, most people that I know who aren’t religious are due to apathy.

        Religion is irrelevant, or an embarrassment, in a lot of eyes.

        • Posted April 17, 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink

          To be honest, as a Brit, most people that I know who aren’t religious are due to apathy.

          We may move in different circles — or, to rephrase, I may move in more elderly circles than you do. 🙂 Most Brits I know grew up in a far less secular society than the country has now: they had to decide to abandon religion. I imagine that a lot of younger folk [insert phthisic cough here], having grown up in the secular society we old codgers created, haven’t really thought the issue through so much.

          • Julia
            Posted April 17, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

            I think I’m fairly typical of English people from a working-background, and I doubt if religion has played any part in my family’s life (other than christenings, weddings and funerals) for well over a century. My great-grandparents never went to church and I’d be very surprised if any of my great-great-grandparents did. If people in Britain “haven’t thought about” religion it’s because it doesn’t matter to them and they don’t feel the need for it.

            • Julia
              Posted April 17, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

              Oops – that should have been “working-class”!

            • Posted April 17, 2014 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

              This is why the Alpha Course does as well as it does: a simplistic cultish brain ‘sploit that bypasses the thought processes as efficiently as it can.

            • Posted April 17, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

              Call theesen an atheist, lass? When I were a lad we was up at two o’clock in t’morning, chipping ice off t’font to desecrate it, then t’were straight down t’pit for twenty hours of burning Bibles and taking t’name of t’Lord in vain before we were back ‘ome to get our beating. Now that were being an atheist . . .

              More accurately, when I was a kid everyone went to church every Sunday, there were Bible classes at school, not to mention a Christian morning assembly service, etc., etc., etc. Most of us were expected to go on to confirmation (first communion for the Catholics), and most of us indeed did. The church was a central part of the community; everyone said grace at mealtimes; most people prayed before bed. And this was by no means regarded as a religious area — it wasn’t Ulster or wherever.

              How many people believed in their heart of hearts? Obviously near-impossible to tell, but I’d suspect it was almost all — even those who doubted the details would still regard themselves as having some relationship or other with God, and do the praying, grace at meals, the business.

              A measure of the sea change is that, a few years ago, when my Xtian daughter had my grandson christened, she had great difficulty finding anyone “qualified” (i.e., believing) to be the boy’s godfather.

          • Filippo
            Posted April 17, 2014 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

            I was “consumed” with a desire to call upon my favorite etymological dictionary to find out what “phthisic” means. 😉

            • Posted April 17, 2014 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

              Yerst. When yer gets to my age yers can’t helps yer consumption gettin’ conspicuous . . .

    • aljones909
      Posted April 17, 2014 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      “Their irreligion looks more a result of apathy than of philosophical rejection.”. Exactly. And what’s wrong with not taking a philosophical stand with regard to religion? For most of my friends and relatives it simply does not register on their radar.

  9. Posted April 17, 2014 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Xtianity’s a bit different in the UK than in the US. The CoE has probably been telling Cameron that things like cutting welfare aren’t Xtian, so he’s responding in typical hypocritical fashion by wrapping himself in the Bible rather than mending his ways.

    Here, of course, the Xtians would be praising the welfare cuts, for did not the Good Lord Himself say, “Make the little children suffer if they try to come unto me”?

    • Graham
      Posted April 17, 2014 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      Cameron is undoubtedly trying to a)counter the appeal of UKIP amongst his more ‘traditional’ supporters and b)trying to mend fences with the C of E. An opportunist move which is quite risky given the British attitude to religion. Could he be the first Tory PM not to read the Telegraph? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/10771044/UK-among-most-sceptical-in-world-about-religion.html

      The C of E is upset with him because he doesn’t seem to care about poor people. Yet the C of E itself is intent on taking over the State school system, where they deliberately favour middle class families and filter out the poor. If the C of E is so concerned about the poor why do C of E schools have fewer children on free school meals than other schools? If they were as “christian” as they would have us believe then C of E schools should be havens for the poor, not smug self-satisfied ghettos for the driven middle-classes.

      {And by “C of E school” I mean of course a school built and maintained with my taxes to which the C of E either makes a zero or at best a nominal financial contribution. Yes I know – makes no sense whatsoever)

  10. Sastra
    Posted April 17, 2014 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    If anything else was needed to emphasize WHY the gnu atheists need to be so extreme and go after faith itself instead of just “extremism” — this is it.

    The religious can’t keep it up. They can’t continually compartmentalize what they believe in their religion from what they do in the world because this division does not make any sense. IF you honestly believe that God exists and that this matters more than anything else then of course you are going to begin to allow this knowledge and wisdom to creep into how you understand the world and how we ought to live. And this super special revelation is not going to end up being secular humanism with metaphors because the whole freaking point of spirituality is to go above the rationality of the world to find greater insight and see a larger picture. Then you live your faith.

    As I see it, if someone believes that being religious is necessary for becoming the best kind of person, then they’ve got two strategies they can follow when it comes to how they interact with others:

    1.) The supernatural ‘facts’ will be used to reframe the discussion.

    2.) Ordinary human values and virtues will be labeled “supernatural.”

    They don’t have to choose — they can do them both. But both tactics will screw over the atheists.

    The first one leads to laws and programs and “theories” which don’t make sense on a secular basis. This is where you get religion intruding into government or science.

    But the second one leads to the denigration of atheism. If Love and Reason and the capacity to strive for progress can only really be understood if they are grounded in an acceptance of God or Spirit — then people who reject this, people who can’t see this, are problems. They’re sad, or angry, or blind, or cold, or insensitive. They certainly don’t belong on the common ground…. unless they STFU and try to blend. Leave faith alone.

    And then watch that first one creep over. There’s nobody to stop it anymore, npoobody to keep pointing away from the supernatural and towards nature. When the religious police themselves on not going “overboard” and going all extreme, you’re not dealing with what makes secular sense. It’s all faith. You just get a neverending war over who knows God and who doesn’t, who is open to the loving message behind the universe and who is not. And breaking news: everyone thinks that first one is them.

    • Charles
      Posted April 17, 2014 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      Excellent comment, thanks for putting it so well.

  11. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted April 17, 2014 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    The most prominent advocate of the “little people” argument was Napoleon, although to be fair Benjamin Franklin held it as well.

    From Napoleon: “Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich”

    From Ben Franklin: “Think how great a Proportion of Mankind consists of weak and ignorant Men and Women, and of inexperienc’d and inconsiderate Youth of both Sexes, who have need of the Motives of Religion to restrain them from Vice”

    Nowever, in an age of universal literacy, the Internet, and an increasingly bizarre religious right I fail to see how this makes much sense.

    • Daoud
      Posted April 17, 2014 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      Don’t forget Karl “Religion is the opium of the masses” Marx.

      • Philip.Elliott
        Posted April 17, 2014 at 8:46 am | Permalink

        But surely, Marx was not justifying ar advocating religious belief for the masses, merely explaining its appeal. Napoleon and Franklin in the quotes above are advocating for belief for the masses.

      • Posted April 17, 2014 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        If you read Marx in context, he is saying that it is a *bad* thing that people need the opium, for they are in pain, suffering, etc. And like many drugs, it is a false hope. Now you can disagree with his “genuine cure”, but he is not saying that it is a good thing that people are faithy.

  12. Posted April 17, 2014 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    I fucking hate Cameron, I thought he was an idiot even before all this god stuff. Now he’s showing how stupid he is by appealing to a tiny minority of the UK population, which due to our poorly-constructed 2011 census, he thinks shows that 60% of us are Christians.

    How did a man this dumb ever get into politics? Actually, strike that, it’s a daft question.

    The damage he’s doing by handing over responsibility for key issues (like education) to people and organisations that are not fit to handle them scares me witless. Now he’s trying to turn my country into a theocracy.

    What a cunt.

    • Kevin
      Posted April 17, 2014 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      The people who change humanity are remembered for a long time. I expect Cameron will not be one of them (honestly I have no idea who he is).

      If you are unhappy with today’s people, just think of yesterday’s people: Darwin, Newton, Einstein, Maxwell, Shakespeare, Beethoven, Renoir, Miles Davis…you could spend a lifetime occupying your time with people who have helped shape what we are. Cameron is not one of those people.

  13. Leigh Jackson
    Posted April 17, 2014 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Marine Le Penn recently came out with a cunning political ploy “We will not accept any religious demands in school menus. There is no reason for religion to enter the public sphere, that’s the law.” Muslim and Jewish children are to be denied pork-free lunches in areas where her party won in local elections. Good staunch secularists those French fascists.

    By contrast Nick Clegg recently gave assurances that religious rituals were safe in his hands. Kosher and Halal slaughter are ok with him because they are religious rituals.

    Nigel Farage, “We need a much more muscular defence of our Judaeo-Christian heritage.” “Gay marriage shows you [the government’s] twisted sense of priorities”. Cue evangelical Cameron. Message to Church of little Englanders at prayer: I’m so sorry about the gay marriage thing; I think you’re all so wonderfully moral and everything; your vote does matter to me. Now.

    Ah, the sweet and sour smell of religion and politics intermingled in the early dawn of elections.

  14. Dave
    Posted April 17, 2014 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    It will all fall on deaf ears. The constituency for explicit political god-bothering in the UK (outside Northern Ireland, and some heavily muslim-colonised areas)is tiny. The vast majority of Brits are just not interested, whatever box they may tick on their census forms.

    • Chris
      Posted April 17, 2014 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      Aye, outside the big cities most people are CofE in the same way that my mid-70s year-old mother is.

      Classes as Christian, may do a couple of carol services at Xmas, goes to talks by the local vicar put on by the Women’s Institute, and that’s about it. Maybe also rattles a tin in the town centre a couple of times if the local church needs a new roof.

      Heck, I mean that my parents stopped going to church when we moved house in the early 1970s because the local vicar was too “fire & brimstone” and made the little me & brother cry after the first service we went to.

      That’s small-town English Christianity for you! 😉

      • MikeN
        Posted April 17, 2014 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

        Sounds like my mom, though she’d never rattle a tin.

        The old joke that “CofE” stands for “Christmas and Easter” because that’s the only time anyone goes to Church.

        (Christmas for the songs, Easter for the hats.)

  15. darrelle
    Posted April 17, 2014 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    “People who 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.”

    I agree 100% that faith can play a role in helping people to have a moral code. That is indeed one of the major problems with religion. It influences people to adopt reprehensible moral positions, with an imprimatur from the highest imaginable authority. Religion is not the only thing that does that, of course. It’s just the best at it.

  16. Garnetstar
    Posted April 17, 2014 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    I am just dying to read Richard Dawkins’ response to this. It will be reasoned, logical, and absolutely scathing (oh sorry, “shrill”). Has Dawkins’ response been posted anywhere?

  17. still learning
    Posted April 17, 2014 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    1,000 apologies for an OT comment. I just saw a news report that Jews have to register in east Ukraine. Oh, shit. And so it begins…

    • Posted April 17, 2014 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      The authenticity of the document in question has not been verified. It could well be an action by the Kiev Neo-Nazis intended to smear the pro-Russians in east Ukraine. I googled it, and most of the articles are either from Jewish sources or cite Jewish sources, too.

      I found one interesting article on the subject with a photo of the offensive document. Somehow, I feel it was not really issued by the pro-Russian faction in east Ukraine but by agent provocateurs. The whole thing is so messy now that there are bound to be pro-Russians infiltrated in the Kiev movements, as well as Kievan ultra-nationalists posing as pro-Russians and infiltrating the pro-Russian organizations.


      • still learning
        Posted April 17, 2014 at 9:51 am | Permalink

        Thank you. My reaction to that news was reflexive instead of reflective.

  18. Richard Bond
    Posted April 17, 2014 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    It is probably a mistake to get too exited about this. Cameron is basically socially liberal (gay marriage, dismantling the last Labour government’s “security” measures and plans, trying to smooth the path from welfare into work, achieving 0.7% of GDP for foreign aid, and more). I suspect that this current religiosity is a short-term measure to counter opposition from the less liberal wing of his party and from UKIP. Much as I loathe religion, I am not that worried, and I suspect that normal British non-religious politics will be resumed at an appropriate time.

  19. Nilou Ataie
    Posted April 17, 2014 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Dear religious,
    Just because you don’t believe the ridiculous, does not make you immoral. Indeed, being dubious of the ridiculous is the moral thing to do.

    Dear accommodationists,
    Just because you don’t want to insult a person’s intelligence, does not make you immoral. Indeed, respecting a person’s ability to handle truths about the universe is the moral thing to do.

  20. Bruce Gorton
    Posted April 17, 2014 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    If you are British and you say you’re not worried, you’re being an idiot.

    Learn from the rest of us – it starts with an election tactic, proclaiming a love of God to win the votes of the religious.

    If you let it work, at some point it stops being a tactic and starts being policy.

    South Africa had a relatively secular government, we legalised gay marriage before you did, but now we have a ruling party whose parliamentary leader just declared the president’s house holy ground.

    We let the asshole get away with allying with sodding pastors.

    Do you think American politics ended up so god-soaked stupid overnight? No, it all started with much the same crap that Cameron is pulling now.

    Vote the bastard out before the goddy shit overtakes all the rest of your politics.

    • Dave
      Posted April 17, 2014 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      Sorry, but I think this is a hysterical over-reaction. The UK isn’t South Africa or the USA. The public image of religion in the UK means the Vicar of Dibley at best, kiddie-fiddling Catholic priests, Abu Hamza or the Reverend Ian Paisley at worst. The vast majority of us treat it either as a joke or a threat and will completely ignore this latest waffle from Cameron. There is no constituency for religious revivalist politics over here. Cameron isn’t stupid, he must know that. This latest stuff is just soundbites intended to claw back some of the votes he fears may go to UKIP in the euro-elections.

      • Bruce Gorton
        Posted April 17, 2014 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

        If there was no constituency he wouldn’t be trying to play to it to get votes.

        He is relying on the fact that secular British people will ignore this, thus making the religious vote more powerful.

        And then his opposition will do the same.

        If you allow it to continue, he will drive British politics further towards American style God-mongering.

        Do not ignore him on this, it is legitimately dangerous. Vote him out in the next elections.

        • Posted April 17, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

          In this regard, Ed Miliband (a secular Jew) comes out way ahead.

          (If only he weren’t such a pillock.)

          (I speak as an old Labour dinosaur here.)

          • Dave
            Posted April 17, 2014 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

            “He is relying on the fact that secular British people will ignore this, thus making the religious vote more powerful”

            Well, we obviously have different views on this, but I still maintain that outside of Northern Ireland, there is no significant Christian religious vote worth appealing to.

            “If you allow it to continue, he will drive British politics further towards American style God-mongering”

            American style god-mongering would be a quick route to electoral suicide in the UK. It would repel far, far more voters than it would ever attract. For historical and cultural reasons we are a very different society from the USA, and I don’t believe there is any likelihood that we will head in that direction. Evangelical Christianity is a distinctly minority pursuit here, a quaint eccentricity akin to Morris-dancing or dressing up as Vikings at the weekend. It will never be a significant cultural or political force. That horse has well and truly bolted and it ain’t coming back.

          • Posted April 17, 2014 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

            Will we ever see the like of Tony Benn again?


            • Posted April 17, 2014 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

              Will we ever see the like of Tony Benn again?

              Yep: There was some wistful nostalgia here in New Jersey the other day when I learnt of his death.

              I’ll never forget the piece Jill Tweedie did about him for I think t’Grauniad in the ’70s or ’80s when she pointed out that, if you actually looked at what he was saying, he was far from the barking loon the media portrayed him as; she then listed a bunch of his proposals and they all made perfect sense. It was only because the Fail, the Torygraph, etc., had succeeded so effectively in framing him as a loony that people failed to listen to and likely agree with his policies.

              That said, I was more of a Michael Foot man, myself.

              • Dermot C
                Posted April 17, 2014 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

                Dennis Skinner. Dave Nellist.

            • Dave
              Posted April 18, 2014 at 1:49 am | Permalink

              “Will we ever see the like of Tony Benn again?”

              I certainly hope not. He was the very epitome of a Champagne Socialist, a millionaire aristocratic yoyeur, endlessly potificating about a “Working Class” that, in reality, he knew absolutely nothing about. He was on the wrong side of every major political argument throughout the 1970s, 80s and 90s, a sycophantic lickspittle of trade union gangsters, communist or muslim dictators, and anyone else who shared his clapped-out sixth-form politics. He was an economic illiterate, whose preferred solutions would have led to utter catastrophe has they ever been put into practice. Yes, he was a nice old duffer and an entertaining after-dinner speaker, but as a politician – good riddance.

              • Bruce Gorton
                Posted April 18, 2014 at 4:22 am | Permalink

                Okay, lets see:

                He was the postmaster who oversaw the creation of the British Girobank, the first bank designed with computerised accounts in mind, the first UK bank to offer individuals free acccounts, and the first bank in Europe to offer telephone banking.

                Obviously an economic illiterate.

                As secretary of state he improved worker pay and introduced The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. He attempted to keep struggling companies afloat through worker’s collectives.

                Obviously he was 1000% worse that Maggie Thatcher, the sainted one whose reign destroyed Britain’s manufacturing capabilities, doubled its unemployment, and led to the same deregulation of the banking sector that eventually proved disastrous in 2007.

                That’s what we call a legacy of economic savvy hey?

              • Posted April 18, 2014 at 6:09 am | Permalink

                Thank you, Bruce!

  21. aljones909
    Posted April 17, 2014 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    I doubt if his faith runs very deep. The Guardian article gives a previous quote where he describes his faith as:- “a bit like the reception for Magic FM in the Chilterns: it sort of comes and goes”. It is extremely unusual. I can’t remember any prime minister making such statements. Blair was a true believer but kept scrupulously quiet.

  22. Raphael
    Posted April 17, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    After having watched the original House of Cards, I cannot help but think Cameron is an incredibly weak PM with more than one parallel to the beleaguered fictional PM Collingridge (and they look rather similar too, ironically)

    The political cynic in me wonders if this newfound religion is not just a way to shore up the religious vote in Britain ahead of the next general election, assuming most of them would vote Tory. The Tories are facing a rather serious threat of vote siphoning from the UKIP, particularly over the UKIP’s commitment to get Britain out of the EU. So what better to try and maintain a right wing Christian electorate than by praising Jesus.

    Additionally, it would allow him to stand out as this supposedly sole, moral man in a political field of untrustworthy atheists. I doubt this will work as well as the tactic would in the US, where the electorate always falls for the sleaziest politicians as long as they thank The Lord enough in their speeches. But still, going into the next general election and trying to not only remain in power but to do so without a coalition from the LibDems, the Tories may be getting a bit desperate.

    That said the whole thing just made me shake my head, because we do have this idea that Europeans are naturally all enlightened. But this is definitely not the case.

  23. Craig Gallagher
    Posted April 17, 2014 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    An all too transparent attempt to win back votes from disillusioned Daily Fail readers. The man is an embarrassment and a complete tool.

  24. Toby
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 3:24 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on skyeblogdotme.

  25. Barney
    Posted April 20, 2014 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    An open letter (published in the Telegraph) signed by many leading British scientists (2 Nobel prize winners), and people in the media and other jobs in the public eye (among those well known on this website, Professors Steve Jones, Jim Al-Khalili and Anthony Grayling):

    David Cameron fosters division by calling Britain a ‘Christian country’

    SIR – We respect the Prime Minister’s right to his religious beliefs and the fact that they necessarily affect his own life as a politician. However, we object to his characterisation of Britain as a “Christian country” and the negative consequences for politics and society that this engenders.

    Apart from in the narrow constitutional sense that we continue to have an established Church, Britain is not a “Christian country”. Repeated surveys, polls and studies show that most of us as individuals are not Christian in our beliefs or our religious identities.

  26. Nick Evans
    Posted April 22, 2014 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    There’s not much of a Christian religious constituency here (except in NI), but such of it as there is has been wooed away from Cameron’s Tories towards UKIP over issues such as gay marriage. This is him trying to woo them back ahead of the elections next month.

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