David Cameron: Britain should be 'more confident about its status as Christian country'
David Cameron has encouraged Christians in Britain to be "more evangelical" about their faith, saying that they "make a difference to people's lives".
It the Prime Minister's third positive statement about the Christian faith and role of the Church in a week that has taken many Christians in the country by surprise.
Writing in the Church Times, Mr Cameron said Britain should be "more confident about our status as a Christian country", adding that churches were "vital partners" and that he had personally experienced the "healing power" of the Church of England.
He admitted that he was "not that regular" in attending the Church of England and "a bit vague on some of the more difficult parts of the faith".
The Prime Minister further contended that Christians should be "confident in standing up to defend" the Christian values of "responsibility, hard work, charity, compassion, humility and love", and feel able to speak up about their faith in an "ever more secular age".
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His comments come at a time when many bishops in the Church of England have been at odds with the Prime Minister over welfare reforms and their impact on the most vulnerable in society.
Others have been unhappy at the way the Tory Party drove the legalisation of gay marriage through Parliament, with concerns being raised over whether clergy will face lawsuits if they refuse to conduct gay wedding ceremonies, despite government assurances to the contrary.
In the past week, Mr Cameron has claimed that the Big Society initiative was invented by Jesus and that "we should stand up against persecution of Christians and other faith groups wherever and whenever we can".
In his Easter message, he said the season was "not just a time for Christians across our country to reflect, but a time for our whole country to reflect on what Christianity brings to Britain".