So Ed Miliband says he doesn’t believe in God. Good.

Obviously not in the sense that I don’t want Mr Miliband to be a follower of Christ rather in the sense that all three party leaders have been straightforward (transparent, even) about where they stand on personal faith. I remember chatting to a friend in the run-up to the 1992 General Election ‘Are you going to vote for Labour?’ I enquired ‘No, Kinnock says he’s an atheist’ was the firm response ‘What about Major?’ was my follow-up ‘I don’t know but he’s not said he’s an atheist’ was the come back. On that basis Mr Major won his vote. Nick Clegg has been open about his atheism, though married to a Catholic with children brought up as Catholics. David Cameron, though not a regular churchgoer, has described Christian faith ‘as part of who I am.’ It seems we have moved on a long way from the era of politicians being afraid to declare one way or another, in one case doing God in private and definitely not in public. Surely it’s always better to have a culture of openness and honesty, rather than concealment and speculation. What we desire is that they take time to understand the communities they represent rather than relying on easy caricatures. And it’s encouraging to note that Ed Miliband met with members of the Christian Socialist Movement so soon after his election. In recent times there has been too much suspicion of the motivation of faith-based policy and provision and an unhealthy acceptance that secular initiatives are neutral and non-biased. The tide appears to be turning and to encourage the trend we should not knock politicians for being straight-up; we should demonstrate the power of faith at work in our attitudes and actions.


One thought on “So Ed Miliband says he doesn’t believe in God. Good.

  1. The worry for me is not an athesist as party leader or PM, but the narrative that may develop within the church. The evangelical church of the 1970’s-1990’s seemed to have a natural affinity with the Conservative party (for reasons that confounded my thinking). This was reinforced and justified for many by the Kinnock position (John Major as you say simply acted less openly about his thinking on faith matters – or was he more shrewd?). Once again we have a Conservative party who are openly stating that they do God (although to hear Eric Pickles say this at the same time as some of his other statements, one wonders what part of the churches thinking he will really be open to) and my concern is that some parts of the church will seize on the Ed Milliband statement to write off the party for the forseeable future.

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