Christianity has, over many centuries, formed the foundation upon which the indigenous people of Britain created their culture and history. Whether you believe in a God or not, it is part of who you are, your history, your culture, your country, your very identity.
Christianity is the bedrock of British history & culture and part of our identity.
The whole of the British Isles is steeped in Christian history – our national identity is linked to Christianity – St. David’s Day, St. George’s Day, St. Andrew’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day.
Our Monarch promises to uphold Christianity. Church of England leaders vote in Parliament within the Lords. Our anthem, “God Save the Queen”; our M.P.s on entering Parliament, swear allegiance “I (name of Member) swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God” ; Jury Service – “I swear by almighty God that I will faithfully try the defendant and give a true verdict according to the evidence.”, our Monarch’s motto “Dieu et mon droit” meaning “God and my Right”.
Christianity is tolerant and inclusive. It welcomes people of other faiths and none. How can we be a secular country if it ruins Christian culture and removes what makes us all distinct?
In a recent report two years ago, someone said that religion is moribund and that Christianity was probably gone forever. If we are to base this on attendance in churches, then perhaps that comment is correct, but to base it on religion per se, I do not agree. In 2018, ONS Statistics show that the majority of people in the U.K. are Christians (over 32 million), Buddhists (over 200,000), Hindu (over 991,000), Jewish (over 348,000), Muslim (over 3 million), Sikh (over 405,000), any other religion (over 1 million).
But this isn’t about religion; it’s about culture, history.
In 2016, a debate was started in the House of Commons by Shaliest Vara, Conservative MP for North West Cambridgeshire, who called on the then Prime Minister, Mrs May, to send a ‘loud and clear’ message to Council officials to appreciate that minority groups should ‘respect mainstream Britain’. He said: “Will the Prime Minister take the opportunity to send a loud and clear message that the best way to secure a harmonious society is not only for mainstream Britain to respect minority traditions such as Diwali, Vaisakhi and Eid. “But also council officials and minority communities should respect the views and traditions of mainstream Britain. Christmas is NOT ‘Winterland’ and Christmas Trees are NOT ‘festive trees’. A report by Dame Louise Casey (read report The_Casey_Review_Report ) criticised councils for not promoting British traditions for fear of appearing ‘racist’!
One recommendation within that report “The promotion of British laws, history and values within the core curriculum in all schools would help build integration, tolerance, citizenship and resilience in our children”. “To achieve this everyone must have a real sense of belonging and they must share common values… All citizens, whether by birth or naturalised, White or from a Black and Minority Ethnic group, whatever their faith, need to be able to see themselves as ‘British’, whether or not they add their cultural identity to the term.”
We remain a predominantly religious country, with nearly 7 out of 10 of us belonging to a religion and Christians remain the majority. According to respondents in the 2008 Citizenship Survey, Sikh (68%), Muslim (61%) and Hindu (47%) were more likely to mention respect for all faiths as an important value for living in Britain.
So much comes from Christianity and is embedded within our culture; part of the patchwork of our Constitution and history.
- Our thought and work ethic – enhancing humanities and science (Gen 2:15). It influenced the development of the industrial revolution. Our Calendar (Gregorian) revolves around Christianity – Christmas, Easter, Lent; feast days Michaelmas etc. Mother’s Day in its origin.
- Our language – names like David, Daniel, Christopher to phrases such as ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’, ‘preaching to the converted’, ‘hell to pay’, and ‘a cross you’ll have to bear’. Most past Prime Ministers have been Christians with no doubt strong Christian moral views but not serving with Christian ideology, but like most of us, with a Christian upbringing and faith. As Mrs May said at the time, “…. a moral backing to what I do, and I would hope that the decisions I take are taken on the basis of my faith.” Sport – players seen doing the sign of the cross, putting their hands together in prayer when hoping the referee won’t book them, to crowds singing ‘Abide with me’ and ‘Bread of Heaven’.
- Remembrance Day – Why do crowds remain silent and bow their heads in prayer, when giving a minute’s silence? Politics, law – Every law is based mainly on a moral principle. Politics generally discusses control, rules, freedom of the people it serves. Christianity is in architecture – churches, cathedrals, Westminster Abbey with many people visiting places throughout the U.K. that is steeped in Christian tradition and history. Christianity is in music, literature, poetry, medicine, philosophy, science and technology. Even our food inherits Christian tradition – Christmas meal, turkey or goose, mince pies, Christmas pudding, Easter cake to name a few. It may have begun from Pagan ideology, but Christmas is now the festivity of Christians.
- Education – universities are regarded as an institution that has its origins in medieval Christianity. Universities, higher education were held in Christian cathedrals or monastic schools for hundreds of years. Many universities still today, hold Christian names to their colleges and buildings. Schools over the years would celebrate Christian tradition with the Christmas Nativity and a hymn & prayers were often the first call of the day prior to classes beginning.
- According to the 2018 Forces statistics, over 69% of the Armed Forces are of Christian denomination and more than 73% of reservists subscribing to Christianity. Chaplains give support publicly and privately at every level and support all of other faiths with a network of religious advisors.
This is not to say that other religions are not welcome or should not be recognised, but tolerance works both ways – non Christian religions and non-believers must recognise, respect and uphold the fact that our country, the country they call home, is built on Christian teachings and Christian beliefs should never, if we are to save our heritage, be ‘killed off’ for fear of being racist’ for to do so would be to eradicate our culture, our history, of who we are.
So, as you see, Christianity has, over many centuries, formed the foundation upon which the indigenous people of Britain created their culture and history. Whether you believe in a God or not, it is part of who you are, your history, your culture, your country, your very identity.
To deny our Christian history and culture would be to deny our country, to deny our very existence.