During the last week the UK’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, has shown herself to be more aware of the value of Jewish and Christian groups in the country than her predecessors seemed to be.
In her Passover message to the Jewish community on 10th April she noted the central message of the Passover holiday – a celebration of escape from slavery – and quickly linked it to gratitude for the liberty and freedom that we enjoy in this country.
Acknowledging the horrors of the Holocaust endured by the Jews in recent times, she highlighted the importance of the planned national Memorial to the Holocaust, to be built next to Parliament, and reaffirmed her intention to defend the rights of Jews to practice their faith without fear, saying that:
“Your community makes an enormous contribution to the UK and has excelled in every field helping create a successful and prosperous country.”
Then in her Easter message on 16th April, Theresa May highlighted the importance of Easter to Christians. Referring to the values of compassion, community and citizenship, she identified the actions of those who provide comfort for others at difficult times in their lives as something to celebrate, saying:
“In doing so, we should be confident about the role that Christianity has to play in the lives of people in our country.”
She went on to say: “We must continue to ensure that people feel able to speak about their faith, and that absolutely includes their faith in Christ.”
These are most encouraging words for members of these two faith communities in the UK. And it seems that the Prime Minister has started something of a trend, with the leaders of both Labour and the Liberal Democrats also publishing Easter messages.
It seems that speaking about the positive influence upon society of the Jewish and Christian faiths has become more acceptable amongst our politicians.