Last week saw the 70th anniversary of the Council of Christians and Jews. UK PM David Cameron used the venue to stump for his 'Big Society' initiative, relaunched again, this year. Cameron stated that the success of 'Big Society' is dependent on faith-based organizations.
The initiative is based on Cameron's idea that services falling in between government and the individual can be provided by religious groups in the private sector. Services that neither the government nor individuals can offer.
Cameron's initiative is a re-launch of a program that was the launched in 2010 by the UK Conservative party, and became a part of their manifesto. The initiative is now part of the Conservative – Liberal Democrat Coalition Agreement.
Reports have surfaced that Cameron, himself, believes that Jesus Christ is the founder of 'Big Society,' which immediately put him at odds with British secularists. The secularists argue that the 'Big Society' community is a religious one, and not representative of the entirety of British citizens.
Other politicians have also embraced the idea that religion is of great importance to the 'Big Society' initiative. Liberal Democrat Andrew Stunell has repeatedly stated that faith groups are an integral part of the creating the 'Big Society' vision.
Others such as Baroness Sayeeda Warsi and Eric Pickles have equally supported the need for religion to be a part of the initiatve, with Pickles being quoted as stating,
"The days of the state trying to suppress Christianity and other faiths are over."
British secularists have expressed concern in the past for this initiative, claiming that there are inherent dangers when government attempts to categorize its citizenry into a small number of specifically defined faith groups.
Their contention is that any projects take on by the community should involve a wide spectrum of representatives not only from all faiths, but from those who are unbelievers, as well. The British Humanists have stated that working with people through their religious identity, rather than as individuals, will increase tensions and cause wider division.
In addition to his role as Prime Minister, Cameron also First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service and leader of the Conservative Party. He represents Witney as its Member of Parliament (MP).