Easter: I don’t think that word means what David Cameron thinks it does

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Crown Copyright

I’ve hesitated for a few hours, but I can’t managed to hold back any longer. David Cameron’s Easter message is dreadful. I’m used to the charm-offensive-say-something-nice-to-Christians-at-Christmas-and-Easter type of message, but this is in a league of its own. Here are a few extracts and my only slightly restrained commentary.

In a few days’ time, millions of people across Britain will be celebrating Easter. Just as I’ve done for the last five years, I’ll be making my belief in the importance of Christianity absolutely clear.

As Madeleine Teahan has already noted, it’s not clear whether it’s David Cameron’s belief in Christianity or the importance of Christianity that he’s making clear. And by the end of the piece the reader is still not clear what Cameron is making clear, perhaps other than the fact he has a confused understanding of Easter and wants you to vote for his party.

But I’m an unapologetic supporter of the role of faith in this country. And for me, the key point is this: the values of Easter and the Christian religion – compassion, forgiveness, kindness, hard work and responsibility – are values that we can all celebrate and share.

I’m not going to try and suggest that compassion, forgiveness, kindness, hard work and responsibility are not values driven by Christian belief – I believe they are – but this is an incredibly reductionist and secular attempt to read the Easter message in a pliable and acceptable way.

But even so, in the toughest of times, my faith has helped me move on and drive forward. It also gives me a gentle reminder every once in a while about what really matters and how to be a better person, father and citizen.

This is the bit designed to show the personal, honest, side of David Cameron’s faith, and it has been paraded as such. Everyone has their own beliefs and I’ll let him have his. But I have one question that rears its head whenever David Cameron talks about Christianity: he talks about faith as though it is an end in itself, faith in what, faith in the role of faith, faith in the importance of Christianity, or faith in Jesus?

As Winston Churchill said after the death of his opponent, Neville Chamberlain, in the end we are all guided by the lights of our own reason. ‘The only guide to a man is his own conscience; the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions.’

Way to go Dave, imploring relativism in an Easter message to an audience committed to the timeless truth of the death and resurrection.

This government has consistently taken decisions which are based on fundamental principles and beliefs.

Vacuity 101: everything we do is based on some sort of fundamental principle and belief. When I leave the house I walk on the pavement because of the belief that cars will stay on the road. The more important question is what those beliefs are, whether they are good ones, and whether actions match up to the principles they are supposedly based on.

Easter is all about remembering the importance of change, responsibility, and doing the right thing for the good of our children.

No. It’s not. My four year old niece has a better understanding of Easter than Mr Cameron. Maybe I’ll get her to lend the Prime Minister her VeggieTales DVD and fuzzy felts from Sunday School.

I have no problem with politicians appealing to any audience they can get in front of them, and I appreciate their warm thoughts about the contribution Christians make to the country. But an Easter message without mentioning God, Jesus, the Cross or the Resurrection is an incredibly poor effort.

And when it is done to suggest that he is ‘one of you’ (even if a lazy and not a very good one) the crime is even more egregious.

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17 thoughts on “Easter: I don’t think that word means what David Cameron thinks it does

  1. Well said, Danny. I think a lot of people talk about ‘my faith’ but as you say the important thing is what or whom you put your faith in. Happy Easter.

  2. Reblogged this on Strangers at the Gate and commented:
    The only thing I would add to this, is to pick up on Cameron’s use of the phrase ‘gentle reminder’. At the time when we remember the pain, suffering, persecution and isolation of Jesus at the hands of unjust politicians, the word ‘gentle’ seems as inappropriate a word as he could have chosen. Christianity demands a very courageous kind of gentleness, which often engenders suffering on behalf of the weak and in the name of Jesus. Being Christian, Mr. Cameron, means repudiating the very methods of power play that you employ. It means repentance. You acknowledge that you are not a good Christian. Do you repent? Do you seek amendment of life? Do you recognise, in Christ, your Saviour before whom, you must mend your ways?

  3. Great analysis. Was very heartened to see the editorial in today’s Guardian quietly debunking Cameron’s speech too, and proclaiming the real message of Easter.

  4. You can always vote for the son of the Communist who didn’t leave the CPGB after the cruel suppression of the Hungarian revolution.

  5. This is a helpfully insightful article when one can often just see a barrage of nice-sounding-jargon, I think you have fairly and positively critiqued what was said. Thank you for the time and effort you have put in to it. :)R

  6. Cameron is in power and could have used his faith as a great example, sadly he uses his own gain for votes, as that he wants and not God’s will. He thinks he can please all people, when you can’t but most importantly he is not pleasing God.

  7. I’m not sure it’s worth Christians getting hot under the collar about is it? OK it seems to have little or nothing to do with the story of the crucified and risen Jesus but it’s all very benign. Contrast this with the pernicious misguided zeal of Tony Blair who dragged God along, or was he the Almighty himself (I forget), to justify the slaughter of thousands and who stirred up a hornet’s nest of terrorism for the next thousand years. I know which of the two I’d rather have. Cameron’s faith may appear wide of the mark but it’s not going to harm a flea.

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