From the article, it is evident that religion and politics are two hotly contested subjects in society. While the prime minister made his honest opinion regarding the place of religion in society, it was perceived differently from various quarters.
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Nonetheless, it is prudent to mention that the politics of the state and religious beliefs can never be compatible with each other. For example, while the state is usually run by solid rules and regulations, religion largely relies on the aspect of faith, an entity that is shared by only those who believe in the presence of a Supernatural Being (Minkenberg, 2010).
Cameron should not be crucified on this matter. As much as Britain may not be considered to be a fully Christian country, the prime minister and other citizens of this honorable nation still have the freedom of expression as guaranteed by the constitution. Also, Cameron merely made a statement and never demonstrated any signs that he wanted to coerce anybody into his religious belief system.
Perhaps, we should be in a position to distinguish between personal statements and political undertones that may interfere with legislation. Democracy should not be linked with the various elements of faith. The prime minister may have gotten it wrong when he cemented his assertion with another piece of writing. At first, he may not have been taken very seriously. However, the article on the Church Times newspaper told it all.
It is common knowledge that religion and politics cannot ride in the same boat. However, our value systems in societies across the globe are closely embedded in religion. Britain’s constitution may be something far from Christian faith. Nonetheless, a closer look at the same constitutional document reveals that we are a highly religious (or better still a Christian) society.
For example, the instruments of democracy are tagged the common and fundamental premise of fairness (Minkenberg, 2010). On the same note, Christian teachings usually revolve around care, fairness, and love for one another.
Why then should the clergy and political elites be too quick to judge the prime minister? Such overreactions against Cameron may compel the sober public to imagine that the term “Christianity” has become an offensive word to be used by a politician.
It is interesting to mention that close to 60 % of individuals in Wales and England are Christians, according to the 2011 census report (D’Ancona, 2014). If the latter figure is anything to go by, then it implies that Britain is predominantly a Christian nation. The joint letter signed by the so-called ’56 notables’ was not necessary at all because of two main reasons.
First, it created a grim picture of a latent religious struggle in Britain. In other words, the letter signaled a wrong message to the global village that Britain is not ready to accommodate specific statements that tend to defend Christianity as a religion.
Second, the letter painted the prime minister as a religious adherent who was trying to force the Christian faith to both non-Christians and other non-believers. Some critics of the prime minister may argue he was trying to seek cheap publicity by arousing the bitter subject of religion and state politics. David Cameron clearly understands that state politics cannot be mixed with religion because they are two different entities.
D’Ancona, M. (2014). Cameron’s Evangelical Turn. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/30/opinion/dancona-camerons-evangelical- turn.html?_r=1
Minkenberg, M. (2010). Party politics, religion and elections in western democracies. Comparative European Politics, 8(4), 385-414.