Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has said he doesn't feel marginalised as a Christian in the UK, but said that Christians should expect to struggle as they 'go against the grain' of society.
'The moment you show any signs of actually believing in this creed, of thinking that this stuff about Jesus might even be true or that this faith might in any way impact on your conscience or your life choices... well, we don't like that one bit. So are Christians especially marginalised? I'm not sure, but if we are then we are probably doing something right,' Farron wrote yesterday in a comment piece for the i.
Farron's Christian faith took centre stage in the UK's latest general election, particularly as he came under increasing fire for his ambiguous position on whether homosexuality is sinful. After the election Farron resigned as his party's leader, citing an incompatibility with leading a liberal, progressive party and being a faithful Christian.
A recent survey by the Christian media group Premier said that nine in 10 British Christians feel marginalised for their faith. In contrast, despite previous comments, Farron said that he didn't feel marginalised as a Christian in politics.
He wrote: 'Now, being harangued by journalists or slagged off by political opponents for my faith, hardly compares with the struggles of being a Christian in North Korea, where you have a one in four chance of being imprisoned for your faith. But the point is that Christian faith will go against the grain, if you aren't struggling at least a bit against the expectations and assumptions of the world – then well, you should be!'
He said that 'Christianity is counter cultural and it always has been', and that Christians who take the teachings of Christ seriously – those for whom faith is not merely 'cultural' – should expect some conflict with society and politics.
'My own experience during the election tells me that people don't mind people of faith in politics – so long as their faith is only of the cultural variety,' Farron wrote.
He added: 'If you had to pick a country in the world in which to live freely as a Christian, you'd probably pick the UK. However, many Christians do feel marginalised, and they are meant to...the Bible tells us regularly that our faith will go against the grain, that we'll suffer for being a Christian. Being Christian is not meant to be easy.'