British Prime Minister Theresa May on Sunday used her Easter message to strike a conciliatory note post-Brexit, saying people were “coming together” and uniting behind the opportunities that lie ahead following the vote.
She also said that people should feel “confident” about Christianity’s role in the society and feel free to speak about their faith.
“This year, after a period of intense debate over the right future for our country, there is a sense that people are coming together and uniting behind the opportunities that lie ahead. For at heart, this country is one great union of people and nations with a proud history and a bright future,” May said in her video message released by the Downing Street.
“And as we face the opportunities ahead of us — the opportunities that stem from our decision to leave the European Union and embrace the world — our shared interests, our shared ambitions and above all our shared values can –and must — bring us together,” she noted.
The daughter of a vicar who has been vocal about her faith in the past, May said, “We should be confident about the role that Christianity has to play in the lives of people in our country.”
“We must continue to ensure that people feel able to speak about their faith, and that absolutely includes their faith in Christ.
“We must be mindful of Christians and religious minorities around the world who do not enjoy these same freedoms, but who practise their religion in secret and often in fear,” she said.
She asserted that more needs to be done to stand up for the freedom of people of all religions so that they can practice their beliefs openly and in peace and safety.
Opposition leader and Labour party’s chief Jeremy Corbyn used his Easter message to call on the people to use the principles at the heart of Christianity to overcome society’s problems.
“We hear painful stories every day, of homelessness, poverty or crisis in our health service — or across the world, of the devastating consequences of war and conflict, including millions forced to become refugees,” Corbyn said.
“It would be easy to retreat into our private lives because the challenges seem overwhelming, or allow ourselves to be divided and blame others. But we need to respond to these problems head on, through action and support for social justice, peace and reconciliation,” he said.
Those principles are at the heart of Christianity, he said, noting that Christians throughout the world will this weekend be remembering Jesus’s example of love and sacrifice, and the Easter message of redemption and peace.
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron hit out at the sense of nostalgia and nationalism which came through the British Premier’s message.
“Given that we are turning the clock back to the early 1970s with Brexit (or indeed the 1580s if we do end up declaring war on Spain), then nostalgia is most definitely the mood of the moment,” Farron said.
Nostalgia and nationalism have become the fuel for an aggressive and irrational brand of politics that is the opposite of what liberals stand for, he asserted.