Prime Minister David Cameron has joined the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury in using his Easter message to remember the victims of Christian persecution worldwide.
"Easter is a time when we can reflect on the true values of Christianity: responsibility, charity, compassion, humility, forgiveness and love. We should be confident in our faith and in standing up to defend these values," he said on the Conservative Christian Fellowship website.
"We should particularly remember those followers of Jesus in other countries who are unable to celebrate their faith because of fear of persecution or even death. That is why we are redoubling our resolve to contend for religious freedom and tolerance not just in our own country, but around the world.
"The Gospels remind us that Jesus gave us this golden rule: 'Love God and love thy neighbour'."
He also praised the work of the churches in opening their doors to those in need, as well as the volunteers on the streets helping those hit by poverty and other afflictions. Cameron said: "This lies at the very heart of what that golden rule is about, and underpins the enormous contribution Christianity continues to make to building a bigger and stronger society and enhancing the wellbeing of this country."
His official message contrasts with one he wrote earlier for Premier Christianity magazine, when he described himself as an unapologetic supporter of the role of faith in Britain and used the Christian faith that he shares to justify his government's austerity measures. He said then: "The core of our recovery programme – dealing with the deficit to restore confidence in our economy – is based on enduring ideas and principles: hard work, fair play, rewarding people for doing the right thing, and securing a better future for our children."