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A defence of "Christian Britain"

Eric Pickles has written a rather interesting piece in the Daily Telegraph that seeks to defend Britain's Christian ethos :
Christianity in all its forms has shaped the heritage, morality and public life of Britain; and Christian belief continues to influence our society for the better. The fact that Britain has welcomed people of many other faiths to live among us over the centuries in no way detracts from this. Indeed, it is the Christian ethos that has made Britain so welcoming. As the Prime Minister declared in December, we are a Christian nation – and should not be afraid to say so.

Christians continue to be positively involved in public life, from the role of Anglican bishops in scrutinising legislation in the House of Lords, through the moral leadership offered by Christian leaders, to the contribution of thousands of churches and Christian charities to the social fabric of our neighbourhoods with their volunteering and sacrifice. Religion is the foundation of the modern British nation: the Reformation is entwined with British political liberty and freedoms, the King James Bible is embedded in our language and literature, and the popular celebrations of the Royal Wedding and Diamond Jubilee placed the Church side by side with our constitutional monarchy.

Faith communities provide a clear moral compass and a call to action that benefits society as a whole – and the Government is grateful for this. The Coalition has an explicit “integration” strategy to bring communities together. While we should confront extremists who spread hate and division, I believe that mainstream, tolerant religion binds society together.
Interesting comments, especially coming after a week which has seen have spoken out against the discrimination of Christians in Britain. Roger Bolton warned that those in charge of broadcasting suffered from a “suicidal” ignorance about religion. Part of the problem of course is that the institutional church is rather weak. A big problem for Christians in the UK is that the British public's view of God is shaped by the hypocrisy and liberalism of the institutional church. This  makes it difficult for evangelical Christians to evangelise because stereotypes stands in the way of truth. Indeed, unless you belong to the institutional church you are immediately labelled a fundamentalist. The result is that evangelical Christians have come to exist only inside their church walls. They have been in retreat in the face of increasing secularism. Perhaps the seed must die and fall to the ground before it bears much fruit. So we must remain hopeful!   

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