Sunday 27 April 2014

Ed Miliband cannot be England's first Jewish or atheist Prime Minister

Mr. Cameron turns out to be a Christian, though, as he self-deprecatingly once said, his faith fades and reappears
“like Magic FM in the Chilterns."
Mr. Clegg also told us this week that he is not an atheist, but an agnostic.  His wife and mother are both devout Catholics, his grandmother a devout Russian Orthodox, so he says that perhaps he will come to believe in God.

An article in the Spectator this week says that Ed Miliband won't be our first Jewish Prime Minister but can be our first atheist Prime Minister. This is inaccurate. Ramsay Macdonald was an atheist and Attlee believed in the Christian 'ethic but not the mumbo jumbo' and therefore was also an atheist. 

Chamberlain was a Unitarian and so not a Christian, but not, I assume, an atheist. (Many Unitarians in our day are atheists, though not in Transylvania, where they are numerous.) 

Most modern Prime Ministers were Christian. Wilson, Callaghan ( a lay preacher), Home, Macmillan, Mrs Thatcher and Mr. Blair were all very religious. Is Gordon Brown? I suspect so, son of the manse that he is. Edward Heath's first job was on the Church Times but I know no more of his religious ideas than this. Churchill was not, though he talked about 'the man upstairs' - he was too much the Edwardian progressive. Bonar Law I think was a freethinker, but my memory might be at fault. Lloyd George liked singing hymns. Salisbury and Balfour were deeply religious Christians. 

Disraeli was a Jew as regards his race but converted to Low Church Anglicanism. Michael Howard, had he become Prime Minister, would have been our first adherent to the Jewish religion to be Prime Minister, as he occasionally enters a liberal synagogue.

I have forgotten whatever I might have known about Asquith and Eden's religious views. Can anyone assist me? 


  1. I suppose it could be a little awkward for the Queen (...or King) of England once the new PM goes to Buckingham Palace being that the monarch is also the head of the Church of England in some manner. Of course; my comment may be influenced by Deism as an American. What really matters is that whoever runs any country be a moral, pragmatic, compassionate and strong person. Churchill must have been a High Anglican but he was so busy and you know why. KK

    1. There would be no problem for the Queen(or King) with an atheist PM as although Bishops in the Church of England are appointed by the Queen on the advice of the PM, the PM's advice is based on the recommendation of the Church Nominations Committee

  2. Who gives a fig WHAT their religious leanings may be! The point of contention should be whether or not they are qualified to lead a country. The questions of importance should not be "what is your faith?" but rather "what are your views on foreign policy?"

    1. I find it interesting just as I am interested in what books Prime Ministers like.

      But religious convictions are a much bigger part of the whole man than a taste for Jane Austen