Labour vice chair says Britain needs more Christians to shape its future for the better

Traidcraft Chief Exec Paul Chandler, Stephen Timms MP and Chino Henriquez of Chilean co-operative ApicoopEkklesia reports that Stephen Timms, the Labour Party’s vice-chair with special responsibility for faith communities, has highlighted the critical role of Christian organisations in shaping modern Britain.

Speaking at the national conference of Traidcraft, the Christian-based fair trade organisation he said:

“There is positive impact when Christians are involved in the lives of their community, because these people bring valuable qualities in their service which are rare elsewhere and they are qualities modern Britain urgently needs,”

“If our aim is a new world freed from the injustice and poverty, we need active input in our communities from people whose starting point is Christianity, and Traidcraft is a very good example of what can happen when we get it.”

 His remarks have upset Muslim groups who……..okay, okay so he didn’t say that. What he actually said was:

 “There is positive impact when people of faith are involved in the lives of their community, because these people bring valuable qualities in their service which are rare elsewhere and they are qualities modern Britain urgently needs,”

 and

“If our aim is a new world freed from the injustice and poverty, we need active input in our communities from people whose starting point is faith, and Traidcraft is a very good example of what can happen when we get it.”

The point is if when speaking to a (thoroughly noble and admirable) Christian organisation he can generalise about them being a faith-based organisation why does he not generalise about them being a charitable organisation, a social-justice organisation or a part of civil society. Surely that would hardly be a slap in the face to them and wouldn’t tkae anything away from their amazing work. 

But making faith-based organisations out to be a special case is an insult to those who “have a vision of a world freed from the scandal of poverty, where trade is just and people and communities can flourish” that is not based on belief in a God.

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