PM says Christians should not leave faith at the door

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has admitted ahead of the general election that Christian engagement in politics is beneficial for building a better society.

In a video released this week, Mr Brown said the public square was more than just a market place and that it could not be stripped of values.

“I don’t subscribe to the view that religion should somehow be tolerated but not encouraged in public life, that you can somehow ask people to leave their faith at the door when they enter a town hall or a Commons chamber,” he said.

Speaking of his handling of the financial crisis, the Prime Minister said he was reminded of what he had learnt in church as a child.

Referring to the story of the Good Samaritan he said: “Where there is hardship you cannot and must not pass by on the other side.”

“So the lessons of the Gospels need not be kept separate from political life,” Mr Brown added.

He said: “If Christians engage with politics then all of us together can build a society where wealth helps more than the wealthy, good fortune serves more than the fortunate, riches enrich not just some of us but all.”

Mr Brown’s address will be received with skepticism by those who say recent laws have made it difficult for Christians to live out their faith in public.

Christian nurses, doctors, teachers and care workers are among those who have faced problems at work because of their beliefs in recent months.

Several Christian groups have warned that the Government’s new Equality Bill could pose a further threat to Christian freedoms.

In December a Government equalities minister admitted that churches should be “lining up” lawyers to defend themselves against secular legal challenges under the Equality Bill.

The Bill was described by one media commentator, George Pitcher writing for The Daily Telegraph, as an attempt to “drive religion from the public sphere”.

Under Mr Brown’s premiership the Government has also introduced the Children, Schools and Families Bill which seeks to make sex and relationship education compulsory from the age of five.

Last year the Government tried to delete a free speech protection to a controversial ‘gay hate’ law using the Coroners and Justice Bill. However, the move was defeated in the House of Lords.

In October the Prime Minister controversially called for gay couples to be allowed to have civil partnership ceremonies inside Parliament.

Mr Brown has made a number of moves recently to encourage homosexual voters to back Labour.

In July he told the organisers of a gay pride march taking place in London that they had “changed the world”.

Earlier in the year he invited the organisers of a controversial month-long drive to teach schoolchildren about homosexuality to a reception at 10 Downing Street.

At the reception he attacked as “unacceptable” a measure reserving marriage for one man and one woman passed by public vote in California.

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