Gordon Brown has set out his ‘Christian’ vision of politics and said that religion should not just be tolerated, but encouraged in public life.
The Prime Minister’s comments come in a new book in which the three main party leaders write open letters to the churches.
“I have always believed that the public square is more than a marketplace. Our common realm is not and cannot be stripped of values – can never be merely a place for calculation, contract and exchange” Brown writes.
“So I do not subscribe to the view that religion should somehow be tolerated but not encouraged in public life – that you can ask people to leave their faith at the door when they enter a Town Hall or the Commons’ chamber.”
Referring to the Christian contribution to British politics in general and the Labour Party in particular, he says that both congregations and Christian charities “have been Britain’s conscience on issues from debt cancellation to child poverty, to the good stewardship of the Earth.”
“Each of these great campaigns mounted by the churches is rooted in the idea that we are each our brother’s or sister’s keeper. It is that ideal which inspired the Labour Government as we trebled aid and cancelled debt, lifted half a million children out of poverty and signed the world’s first ever Climate Change Act.”
“The lessons of the gospels need not be kept separate from political life. If Christians engage with politics, we can together build a society where wealth helps more than the wealthy, good fortune serves more than the fortunate and riches enrich not just [the rich] That is why I entered politics, and [it is] the vision which inspires me still.”
In their respective contributions, David Cameron talks about the contribution of the churches to society and Nick Clegg about the contribution of children.
The book, entitled: “No Spin, Sleaze or Scandal…. Just politics” has been written jointly by Labour MP Andy Reed, Conservative MP Gary Streeter, Liberal Democrat MP Steve Clegg and Krish Kandiah, the Evangelical Alliance's Executive Director of Churches in Mission.
The book, published by Authentic Media, is aimed at "political novices" and is being promoted as offering “spiritual inspiration for political involvement, practical advice for getting started, creative suggestions for connecting with digital democracy as well as stories, twitter feeds, interviews and case studies.”