History provides as many uncomfortable facts as science. Neither can be ignored if anyone is going to talk sense. Last week, the Prime Minister wrote rather movingly in the Church Times about his sense of this as a Christian country.
It followed up other comments from Cabinet Ministers saying similar things, and finished on Tuesday with a very measured intervention by the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, whose own Christian faith is well known.
Judging by the reaction, anyone would think that the people concerned had at the same time suggested the return of the Inquisition (complete with comfy chairs for Monty Python fans), compulsory church going and universal tithes. More than 50 leading atheists wrote to the Telegraph in protest.
It's all quite baffling and at the same time quite encouraging. Christian faith is much more vulnerable to comfortable indifference than to hatred and opposition. It's also a variation on the normal "Sword and Grail discovered" stuff that seems to be a feature of Easter week news.
Yet the Prime Minister and other members of the Government have not said anything very controversial. It is a historical fact (perhaps unwelcome to some, but true) that our main systems of ethics, the way we do law and justice, the values of society, how we decide what is fair, the protection of the poor, and most of the way we look at society . . . All have been shaped by and founded on Christianity. Add to that the foundation of many hospitals, the system of universal schooling, the presence of chaplains in prisons, and one could go on a long time. Then there is the literature, visual art, music and culture that have formed our understandings of beauty and worth since Anglo Saxon days.- See more at: http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/blog.php/20/a-christian-country#sthash.mUWxeFTi.dpuf