The United Kingdom is a “Christian country” and has its institutions rooted in the “Judaeo-Christian tradition”, Education Secretary Damian Hinds has said.
Commenting specifically on the tradition of daily prayers in the House of Commons, Mr Hinds said they were appreciated regardless of the MPs’ religious beliefs.
However, his comments have sparked the ire of humanists who called on him to change his views.
In an interview with the Conservative Home website, Mr Hinds was asked about the “role of Christianity in politics”.
Acknowledging the UK is a multicultural country, he said it is still a “Christian country”.
He added, “it still has, at the core of its institutions, traditions which are rooted in the Judaeo-Christian tradition”.
He added that the prayers that are said in the House of Commons before debate begins are helpful for all.
Mr Hinds said, “whether people are Anglican or some other denomination, or an atheist, actually the majority of Members of Parliament I think appreciate that as a moment of reflection and thinking about the day ahead, thinking about why we’re here”.
Damian Hinds, who was appointed to his current post in 2018, is a Roman Catholic. He voted against legalising assisted suicide but in favour of same-sex marriage.
In response to his comments, a humanist group acknowledged that the UK is a Christian country but claimed saying so was “disenfranchising and demeaning” to non-Christians.