“Faith isn’t an optional extra or something like you put on, like a hat on Sundays, and take off for the rest of the week”, says Baroness Scotland, the Attorney General.
“It goes through you like writing on a stick of rock. It is reflected in what you are and what you do. Religion isn’t the icing on the cake, it is the cake itself”, she told delegates at a media conference for churches earlier this week.
Lady Scotland praised faith-based communities for “making a difference” and “tackling local problems” in the community.
People with faith make a huge difference to the vulnerable and marginalised in communities because of values such as “altruism” and “respect”, she said.
In her speech, entitled Faith in the Public Space – A New Enlightenment, she said: “Faith-based values of altruism, respect, care for the vulnerable and marginalised, solidarity and responsibility towards others, are being lived out through practical acts of social concern all over our country.
“They make a huge difference to the quality and meaning of life for innumerable people.”
Her comments echoed those made by the Archbishop of York in February in response to a spate of cases where Christians had been disciplined for expressing their faith at work.
Dr Sentamu said: “Asking someone to leave their belief in God at the door of their workplace is akin to asking them to remove their skin colour before coming into the office. Faith in God is not an add-on or optional extra.
“For me, my trust in God is part of my DNA; it is central to who I am and defines my place in the world. It informs my whole life, not just a weekly service on a Sunday.”