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Stratford Unitarian vicar weighs in on ‘Christian country’ debate

12:29 16 May 2014

Prime Minister David Cameron

Prime Minister David Cameron

PA Wire/Press Association Images

A Stratford vicar has weighed in to the debate over whether Britain is a “Christian country”, as the Prime Minister recently claimed.

Fierce debate has raged since David Cameron’s remarks over Easter calling for Christians to be for “evangelical” in their faith and receive more support from the government.

Rev Julian Meek, of the Stratford Unitarian and Free Church in West Ham Lane, said Britain was technically Christian, but much more of a mixed bag than the PM suggests.

He said: “We are a Christian country, in the sense that the Queen is the head of the Church of England.

“But before we were a Christian country we were a pagan country. People have always been human and had values.

“We need to have a bit of humility and accept that truth and wisdom comes in many forms.

“In our congregation and community in Stratford we have many Christians, but also people from many other wisdoms, including Marxists, Buddhists, Freethinkers, even Humanists, Atheists, Agnostics, or who don’t have any label at all.

Rev Julian added: “Truth and wisdom are deeper than any one tradition. When we realise that we will be living in a more harmonious country.”

The Unitarian Church’s national chief officer, Derek McAuley, signed a letter to the Telegraph newspaper to complain about the Prime Minister’s remarks, along with scores of writers and professors, including Terry Pratchett, Professor Jim Al-Khalil and author Philip Pullman.

It argued his claim Britain is a Christian country risked alienating millions of people and “fostering division”, as it ignored census data that show a drop in people identifying as Christian and a rise in non-believers.

What do you think? Write to us at adam.barnett@archant.co.uk.

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