David Cameron: “I didn’t invent the Big Society, Jesus did”

David Cameron: “I didn’t invent the Big Society, Jesus did” April 10, 2014

UPDATE: In a follow up to the speech outlined below Cameron issued an Easter message that covered some of the same points and included a mention of the Alpha Course! You can watch the video before the original post:

In a remarkable speech at a Number 10 gathering of Christian leaders PM David Cameron made a few bold statements in his speech.

Cameron began by admitting it was a hard day for him and asking for a few volunteers to help bear his burdens. I believe this took place the day a minister was forced to resign.

He then said that he was pleased to host receptions for various faiths in the country, but that he was “proud to be a Christian myself” and that during church services “I find a little bit of peace and hopefully a little bit of guidance.”

He spoke about the reality of suffering that he himself experienced, “I remember 5 years ago when we had to mourn the loss and bury my son Ivan, I can’t think of anyone who was more loving or thoughtful or kind than Mark [his local parish minister]. And of course, Ivan would have been 12 yesterday, which has had me pause to think about that.”

He then said something that even evangelical christians don’t dare to about our nation, “I am proud of the fact we’re a Christian country and we shouldn’t be ashamed to say so.

He made a commitment that he would,

“expand the role of faith and faith organisations in our country. This has been a consistent theme of this government; I’m sure there’s more we could do to help make it easier for faith organisations . . . Whether its providing services for children at risk of exclusion, whether it’s teaching prisoners to read, whether it’s dealing with breakdown, whether it’s provision of food banks, there are some extraordinary organisations run by faith groups and Christians in our country and I want to see the possibilities for that to expand . . .

And if there are blockages, if there are things that are stopping you doing more, think of me if you like as a sort of giant Dyno-Rod in Whitehall: I want to make it easier, I want to unblock the things that help you do what you do.”

This is massive, and no doubt has something to do with the fact that religious charities often deliver services more efficiently, and yet more compassionately than bureaucracies. The bottom line is, faith groups can make it easier for governments to cut public spending.

Perhaps the most interesting claim he made was that he had not invented the Big Society, a concept that has been much mocked in the secular press here:

“People sometimes say, you know, “You talk about the Big Society; don’t you realise this is what the Church has been doing for decades?” And I say yes, absolutely. Jesus invented the Big Society 2000 years ago, I just want to see more of it and encourage as much of it as possible.”

It is almost as if this political has had a religious awakening, as he then turned the spotlight on a subject far too many people are shy to speak of:

“I hope we can do more to raise the profile of the persecution of Christians around the world. It is the case today that our religion is now the most persecuted religion around the world. I think Britain can play a leading role in this . . . We should stand up against persecution of Christians and other religious groups wherever and whenever we can, and should be unashamed in doing so.”

All I can say to that is “Wow!” and to wonder whether this sentiment will be supported by clear action.

Then, he began to sound like my friend the evangelist Rice Broocks when he said,

What we both need more of is evangelism. More belief that we can get out there and actually change people’s lives and make a difference and improve both the spiritual, physical and moral state of our country, and we should be unashamed and clear about wanting to do that.”

In another policy commitment that will please Christians he said,

This year we are going to pass through Parliament a bill to outlaw modern slavery,” which could finally complete the task that renowned evangelical politician Wilberforce began.

What do YOU make of all that then?

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  • On a positive note these statements are timely, err!!! the elections due, have we not seen at the beginning of this parliament the knock on marriage (man and wife), only to be side tracked when there was a backlash from middle England, then without any mandate push through same sex marriage, as through they needed it?
    When it comes to votes, he like all the politicians want to be seen to say the right phrases to certain people…timely. If they can push through laws to suit whoever and for whatever price people are willing to pay into the parties coffers, they have the biggest pressure to have these laws past to suit them not society as a whole.
    Sad times we live in, I’m sure that the Old Testament will reveal the historical events that the kings of Israel show, the sins of the nation will be judged, PRAY that the Lord will come with revival and save our nation from the judgement we so deserve for our sins, Come on Mr Cameron let’s here a call of Repentance, let’s here it from the top to the bottom…Ninevah repented at the sight of Jonah!!! Even so Lord Jesus, Come, we await your call…Maranatha!!!

  • DaveTea

    What a load of hollow rhetoric! Honestly Adrian, if you can’t see that Cameron’s desperate for votes you really need to open your eyes.

    If you hadn’t realised by now, Cameron is an enemy of the Gospel. It’s time to wake up – don’t be fooled!!

  • neilhza

    He can start with Boris Johnson’s alleged persecution of Christians where he allegedly interfered in TFL to allow Stonewall’s London bus adverts and block those of Christian activist groups.

    • If that’s your bar for persecution ….

      Reaching a little?

      • Kim Kaze

        it’s clearly not just. Either both adverts were offensive or neither were/are. Personally I don’t want to see adverts on that topic as it isn’t interesting to me and I don’t think it changes the way ppl think. But injustice is injustice.

        • Injustice, even oppression, is not quite the same as persecution, though.

  • Geoff Stratford

    Hmm.. didn’t Hitler try to use the church?

    • I’m read “DIETRICH BONHOEFFER,” Metaxas, Eric. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2010.

      On reflection there is much to learn from this man’s life…


      Confirmands today are like young soldiers marching to war, the war of Jesus Christ against the gods of this world. It is a war that demands the commitment of one’s whole life. Is not God, our Lord, worthy of this struggle?


      My dear lady, we have fallen into the hands of criminals. How could I ever have imagined it!


  • John Norman

    I suppose the fact David Cameron felt it necessary to say he is Christian shows we as a nation have not totally sold out to the Humanist/Secular/Atheist agenda. He must think it will not damage his election prospects, and possibly improve them with some Tory supporters (apparently many Christian Tories are moving toward UKIP).
    However, he is responsible for arguably the most anti-Christian piece of legislation in years and for appearing to advance the welfare of the rich at the expense of the poor. He is silent when the rights of Christians are eroded in this country and also silent about serious persecution that is rife in many other countries.
    Whether his claim to be a Christian is valid I will leave for a higher authority, but I can’t see any advantage to the Christian Church in the UK to have him as Prime Minister.

  • Andy
  • FallanFrank

    David Cameron like the American indian say He speak with forked tongue..he has pushed through anti Christian legislation eg SSM and ive never heard him condemn the killing of Christians across the world.The man is trying to pull Christians towards him as he sees that politically he is in the last chance saloon.

  • alex grimaldi

    What an enormous amoun of cynicism. Maybe you are all correct to be negative and cynical about what Cameron said. Or maybe you’re not. Either way at least something positive is being said about Christianity from about as high up as it can be. Surely that’s something to be pleased about (if you’re a Christian)…?

  • The most obvious aspect of Cameron’s recent pronouncements on his faith is the hypocrisy. I blogged about my discomfort over the elision of Christianity with some of the more cruel Government policies at the turn of the year: http://janeyoung.me.uk/2013/12/31/on-poverty-and-food-banks-coalition-reveals-true-colours/

    Christians are supposed to be recognised primarily by their deeds. Those Christians who are picking up the pieces of Government policy through the provisions of foodbanks, debt advice and other initiatives are showing their faith by their deeds. But to somehow associate cruel and inept Government policies, that cause widespread hardship and suffering, with a Christian faith, is deeply problematic.

  • Rich Atterton

    It is funny how everyone is judging Cameron’s faith on his deeds. Im no Cameron fan and by their fruits etc… but it seems like SSM is now a defining issue of what a christian is. No one critiques his economic policy and distain for the poor…