British Prime Minister David Cameron said in his annual Christmas message that Christian value have been essential to making the United Kingdom a "successful home to people of all faiths and none." Paying tribute to the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing mostly Muslim intolerance, Cameron noted the importance of peace and security. “If there is one thing people want at Christmas, it’s the security of having their family around them and a home that is safe.”
 
The prime minister acknowledged the work of volunteers and others who work at Christmastide to help those who are “ill, homeless or alone.” In Cameron’s message, he also spoke about “millions of families” who are homeless and away from family during Christmastide, especially those who are “spending this winter in refugee camps or makeshift shelters across Syria and the Middle East, driven from their homes by Daesh and Assad."
 
“Christians from Africa to Asia will go to church on Christmas morning full of joy, but many in fear of persecution,” Cameron said. “Throughout the United Kingdom, some will spend the festive period ill, homeless or alone.”
 
Cameron also praised Britain’s military, some of who are engaged in defeating the Islamic State. "Right now, our brave armed forces are doing their duty, around the world: in the skies of Iraq and Syria, targeting the terrorists that threaten those countries and our security at home; on the seas of the Mediterranean, saving those who attempt the perilous crossing to Europe; and on the ground, helping to bring stability to countries from Afghanistan to South Sudan. It is because they face danger that we have peace."
He added, “And that is what we mark today as we celebrate the birth of God’s only son, Jesus Christ – the Prince of Peace,” said Cameron.
 
He added, “As a Christian country, we must remember what his birth represents: peace, mercy, goodwill and, above all, hope. I believe that we should also reflect on the fact that it is because of these important religious roots and Christian values that Britain has been such a successful home to people of all faiths and none.”
 
Those opposed to religious observances were quick to speak out. Stephen Evans of Britain’s National Secular Society expressed disappointment in what he called Cameron’s “divisive rhetoric” and for referring to Britain as a ‘Christian country.'" Evans said, "Christianity is just one influence among many that shape our current ways of life and Mr Cameron would do well to remember that we also have enlightenment values and secularism to thank for the freedoms we enjoy today.” He added, “David Cameron needs to appreciate that he isn't a leader of Christians, he's the Prime Minister of a diverse, multi-faith, and increasingly non-religious nation. We look to political leaders for leadership, not theology, and this kind of language reveals him to be less than statesmanlike."

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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