I missed this earlier in the week, but my Townhall colleague Sarah Jean Seman didn’t. Prime Minister David Cameron’s Easter address on Wednesday focuses in large part on the beneficial efforts by Christians in British society, and pledged to expand partnerships between those organizations and his government. Cameron also pledged to raise awareness of the persecution of Christians around the world, demanding freedom of religion as “an absolute, fundamental human right.” Cameron called Christianity “the most persecuted religion around the world”:
Second thing is I hope we can do more to raise the profile of the persecution of Christians around the world. It is the case today that our religion is now the most persecuted religion around the world. I think Britain can play a leading role in this. We have met our obligations in terms of the aid we give to countries around the world. We’re seen as a country which is engaged internationally, and I know that William Hague shares my view about this as does Sayeeda Warsi who leads on this issue in the Foreign Office. We should stand up against persecution of Christians and other religious groups wherever and whenever we can, and should be unashamed in doing so.
Cameron also wants to see more “evangelism” in improving his nation:
Whereas actually, what we both need more of is evangelism. More belief that we can get out there and actually change people’s lives and make a difference and improve both the spiritual, physical and moral state of our country, and we should be unashamed and clear about wanting to do that. And I’m sure there are people here of all political persuasions and no political persuasions, and I’m certainly not asking you to agree with everything the government does, but I hope you can see – hopefully more than moments, but real moments of evangelism, enthusiasm and wanting to make our world a better place.
It’s an interesting speech, chiefly in contrast to what American politicians usually say and do about the “spiritual” and “moral” state of our own nation. We tend to shy away from that language except within specific groups who are most receptive to it. It would be at least a little surprising to hear an American President talk in a national address about Christianity as even one vehicle to “improve both the spiritual, physical and moral state of our country,” and that’s not a reference to this current President, either. Citing only one religion in that context would create a firestorm of controversy no matter who would be President.
Cameron’s words on global Christian persecution are both correct and welcome. Perhaps it will prompt more heads of government to speak out as well.