Former Prime Minister Tony Blair recently spoke out about his faith and his concerns that Christianity is being marginalized in the increasingly secular UK. He is proposing that it is time for Christians to speak out in support of their faith.
He admits that as Prime Minister he was in a somewhat unique position where he felt like he was representing the whole country and really didn’t speak out about his faith as much as he probably should have. Since leaving office he has converted to the Roman Catholic Church.
In his talk, he criticized some of the recent “ludicrous decisions” in the UK that have led to Christians being punished for expressing their faith- such as Caroline Petrie, the community nurse who was suspended for two months for offering to pray for an elderly patient, and Jennie Cain, the primary school receptionist who still faces termination after she asked for spiritual support and prayer from friends when her daughter was reprimanded for talking about Hell in the playground:
“I hope and believe that stories of people not being allowed to express their Christianity are exceptional or the result of individual ludicrous decisions. My view is that people should be proud of their Christianity and able to express it as they wish.”
Here are some other worthy quotes from the former PM in a Telegraph article: (NLA)
“Sometimes I think we as Christians are more sensitive than we should be although I say that as someone who when I was in office, although I was perfectly open about my Christianity, nonetheless kept it within certain boundaries that were restricted in terms of what I said publicly. The position of prime minister puts you in a unique category.
“But in general terms in British society there is a risk that people see faith as a personal eccentricity.”
“The real test of a religion is whether in an age of aggressive secularism it has the confidence to go out and make its case by persuasion.”
Tony Blair’s wife, Cherie also spoke out recently on this issue in an interview done for a Channel 4 documentary about Christianity possibly being in a ‘terminal decline’ in the UK:
“Everywhere you look today churches are being closed, Christians are often being marginalised and faith is something few people like to discuss openly.”
Response: This is a soul-searching issue for the former PM who seems to be regretting that he didn’t do more to support the church in the UK.
Interestingly, in the last couple of years I have read a number of articles about Christianity making a come back in the UK through non-traditional churches. Some actually founded by African immigrants who believe that God sent them to England as ‘missionaries’.
There is an obvious decline in the Church of England and a tilting toward secularism in the dominant society, but revival may be on the horizon. There are dozens of small non-traditional church movements and hundreds of independent churches which do show a lot of vitality and growth in the UK.