February 14, 2014

It’s About Values Not Labels

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate use

Christians on the Left Say It’s About Values Not Labels

The UK has a rich Christian heritage that continues to inform much of our national life and a majority of people describe themselves as Christian - 59% of people in the last census. A Tearfund survey found that 4.9 million people attended church weekly and 7.6 million attended monthly. Churches continue to be vital agents in their local communities, for example providing food banks, as Ed Miliband noted in his Easter message. In this sense, one could say we live in a Christian country.

However, it’s not just about numbers or labels.  

From a theological point of view the notion of a ‘Christian country’ is difficult. The New Testament is clear that individuals can be Christians, but we would never talk about a Christian street, town or city, so can that be extrapolated out to a Christian country?.

Christians on the Left believe this is too vague a notion which allows one to hide away from having your policies measured against Christian values. Values matter more than labels when asking what sort of country we live in.

Andy Flannagan, Director of Christians on the Left, said:

“There is often a problem when a politician talks about faith because immediately his or her motives are questioned. This is healthy in one sense because we need to be on our guard against those who talk about faith in a crude attempt to gain votes.  But we should start by welcoming comments about faith and taking them at face value, whether from David Cameron or from politicians in any party. It should not be controversial.

“However, faith is about putting belief into action. We need to ask ourselves if Christian values, such as equality, fairness, and a concern for the poor, are being lived out as they should in our national life. With many people stuck in debt, relying on payday lending and increasingly on food banks, that is a difficult question for this government to answer."

 

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Notes to editors

Please contact Stephen Beer, political communications officer, for further information.

Christians on the Left, formerly the Christian Socialist Movement, brings together Christians on the left of politics. It is affiliated to, but independent of, the Labour Party, and counts many Labour MPs and peers amongst its members. For more information please visit www.christiansontheleft.org.uk

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