David Cameron has declared that Britain is built on “Christian values” – and must defend them against terrorism.
In his message to mark the Christian festival of Easter, the Prime Minister said the religion had “helped to make our country what it is today” and that its values appealed to people “of every faith and none”.
“Values of responsibility, hard work, charity, compassion and pride in working for the common good and honouring the social obligations we have to one another, to our families and our communities,” he said.
“These are values we treasure. They are Christian values and they should give us the confidence to say yes, we are a Christian country and we are proud of it.
“But they are also values that speak to everyone in Britain – to people of every faith and none. And we must all stand together and defend them.”
But citing the recent terrorist attacks in Brussels, the PM said Britain should not be “cowed” by such violence.
The PM added that the UK must “defeat the pernicious ideology that is the root cause of this terrorism” – without naming it explicitly.
The Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury argued in his Easter message that Christians should not be overcome by “fear” because of the attacks.
“In much of life fear is a valid and reasonable emotion, but hope always overcomes fear. We fear what we do not know, do not understand or cannot control,” Justin Welby said.
“But on Easter Day we remember that Jesus Christ overcame death so that the end of all things is known.”
By contrast the Roman Catholic Pope used his address in Rome to condemn those who did not help migrants, arguing that the refugees often “met with rejection from those who would offer them welcome and assistance”.
Britain is among those countries which has refused to admit refugees who have travelled to Europe from Syria – instead transferring 4,000 a year from camps near the conflict zone and providing humanitarian aid to the region.
But contrast Germany has said it is expecting to accept a million refugees a year.
Mr Cameron has previously declared that Britain is a “Christian country”, in April 2015, last Easter. He has previously said he is an “unapologetic support of the role of faith in this country”.
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