The Corner

‘As a Christian Country …’ (!)

A few days ago, I had a post on Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain’s Labour party, who was said to have “canceled” Christmas because he refused to issue a traditional Christmas message. I mentioned that Castro (Fidel) actually banned Christmas, for about 30 years.

I thought I would note the Christmas message of the leader of Britain’s Conservative party, the prime minister, David Cameron. It’s kind of … pointed. Referring to his country’s armed forces, he said,

It is because they face danger that we have peace. And that is what we mark today as we celebrate the birth of God’s only son, Jesus Christ — the Prince of Peace. As a Christian country, we must remember what his birth represents: peace, mercy, goodwill and, above all, hope. I believe that we should also reflect on the fact that it is because of these important religious roots and Christian values that Britain has been such a successful home to people of all faiths and none.

Was it really necessary to state that Britain is a “Christian country” (never mind that there may be more believing Muslims there now than believing Christians)? In the current climate — with Europe up for grabs — it is a bracing, I would say nervy, statement.

P.S. Have a snippet of a piece I wrote last year (“The Book in the Drawer: On the Gideon Bible and American culture”) — kind of interesting:

Quite possibly, the last figure to describe America as a Christian nation was the governor of Mississippi, in 1992. It was at a Republican governors’ conference. Kirk Fordice said, “The United States of America is a Christian nation.” Another governor, Carroll Campbell of South Carolina, sensing the political danger, said, “The value base of this country comes from the Judeo-Christian heritage, and that is something we need to realize. I just wanted to add the ‘Judeo’ part.” Fordice snapped back, “If I wanted to do that, I would have done it.”

(He was later revealed to be having an affair with an old high-school flame. He divorced his wife of 40-plus years. He married the flame, and they too divorced. As he lay dying, in 2004, his first wife was at his side.)

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