‘Politicians have a ridiculous attitude towards public faith’

Politicians in the UK have a “ridiculous” attitude towards the role of faith, which is a fundamental part of our lives, the Work and Pensions Secretary has said.

Speaking in an interview with the Huffington Post, Iain Duncan Smith said he has “nothing but the highest respect” for faith-based organisations that help change lives.

He said that sometimes politicians “get very wary” about people changing lives and “converting to faith”.

Faith-based charities

“But my simple answer is if you look back in the 19th century and into the early 20th century, who were the organisations that were driving change, whether it was anti-slavery or the ragged school movement?

“It was faith-based charities. Who was ending the factory hours, who got children off the factory floor? It was again campaigns faith-based.”

Christians such as Lord Shaftesbury, William Wilberforce and Josephine Butler were heavily involved in politics to help bring about positive change in people’s lives.

Real life change

Duncan Smith said he admires those who help drug and alcohol addicts: “As a politician we often deal in big numbers but the truth is that real life change takes place at a human level.”

He noted that in other countries, faith is a natural part of political discourse.

He commented: “We are a much more secular society now in the UK. But it is interesting when an event like Paris or whatever happens, people need to know that there is something else in their lives.”

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