May 24, 2011

PM in trouble again for Christian remarks

by Jan Harris

David Cameron’s religious views have caused controversy again after he jokingly told church leaders at a Downing Street reception that they would be right to claim that Jesus founded the Big Society.

According to the Cabinet Office website “The Big Society is about helping people to come together to improve their own lives.

“It’s about putting more power in people’s hands – a massive transfer of power from Whitehall to local communities,” the site proclaims.

At the reception Mr Cameron reiterated this view saying: “One of the best things about our country is that people step forward as individuals, as families, as communities, as organisations, as churches, and do extraordinary things… helping to build a bigger, richer, more prosperous, more generous society. And all I’m saying is, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we did more of that?’”

All of this sounds like the government expects people to help themselves, and with government funding cuts affecting benefits and causing councils to cut services to the most vulnerable members of the community, it seems that this is precisely what people will have to do.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Jonathan Bartley, co-director of the religion and society think-tank Ekklesia said “Jesus’s harshest words were reserved for those who had wealth and power and who failed to protect the most vulnerable.”

Labour MP, Chris Bryant, who was formerly an Anglian priest, also criticised Mr Cameron saying: “He is just using decent people in the church and charities to mask the unfair way he’s cutting services for the vulnerable.”

Mr Cameron’s views on Christianity caused controversy earlier this year when he commented on the case of Christian couple Eunice and Owen John.

Mr Cameron said that Christians should be “tolerant, welcoming and broadminded” after the couple were banned from becoming foster parents because they said they would not be able to tell a child in their care that a homosexual lifestyle was acceptable.

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