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What have the leadership contenders said about Christianity?

James Mildred

Downing St

The contest to become the next leader of the Conservative Parliamentary Party and Prime Minister of the UK continues to gather pace. But have the candidates said about Christianity and their faith? Find out below.

Please note, this content first appeared in an article published by Premier Christianity.

Rishi Sunak

Mr Sunak caused a strong reaction from Christians after he quoted from 1 Corinthians 13, saying that ‘love is patient, is kind”. He was speaking in the context of defending the Government’s decision to temporarily remove the 0.7 per cent target of GDP to International Aid. Mr Sunak is a Hindu. In 2020, Mr Sunak described Britain as a secular country in comments welcomed by Humanists UK.

Liz Truss

The current Foreign Secretary has reportedly described herself in the past as a Christian, but there seems to be no record of which denomination she belongs to. In recent year, she’s spoken a lot about the importance of freedom of religion and free speech.

Tom Tugendhat

Mr Tugendhat is a Catholic and former solider. In 2017, he asked the then Foreign Secretary if he’d consider asking the head of the Anglican or Catholic Church to help negotiate for the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Penny Mordaunt

There seems to be some Christian influence in Ms Mordaunt’s upbringing. It’s possible she went to a Catholic school. She’s been a vocal proponent of the conversion therapy ban, tweeting recognition of faith leaders who are in favour of the new law. She was a supporter of Westminster politicians imposing new abortion laws on Northern Ireland.

Kemi Badenoch

Ms Badenoch was the Minister for Government, Faith and Communities which included being the government’s lead for interaction with faith leaders. She has described herself as a ‘cultural Christian’. Her maternal grandfather was a Methodist Minister, and her paternal grandfather was a Muslim. Ms Badenoch is Catholic.

Suella Braverman

Ms Braverman is a Buddhist. She has repeatedly criticised ‘woke ideology’ and elements of the trans debate. When launching her leadership bid, she said she wanted to get back to a situation where a man is a man and a woman is a woman.

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt has said he is a Christian. He’s described his faith as ‘regular Church of England’ and said he sometimes prays. When Foreign Secretary, Mr Hunt was on office when the Bishop of Truro’s report into the persecution of Christians around the world. He’s supported doing more to tackle religious persecution including against Christians.

Sajid Javid

Mr Javid has said in an interview that he acknowledges his Muslim heritage but is not a practicing Muslim himself. His wife is a Christian. Mr Javid has said in recent days that the sermon at the National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast convinced him to resign, triggering the ultimate downfall of the prime minister. In the past he has said that faith is undoubtedly a source for good. He has also said he thinks we should acknowledge the UK is a Christian country.

Rehem Chisti

Mr Chisti is a Muslim and the first son of an Imam to be a sitting MP. He’s spoken out against the persecution of Christians around the world. He has said it was being free to live out his Muslim faith in a Christian country that has led to him championing the right of religious freedom around the world.

Grant Shapps

Mr Shapps is Jewish although in an interview with the Jewish Chronicle he said his relationship with Israel was far from straightforward. He also said he wasn’t sure if there’s a God or not. But one thing he’s certain of is that if there is One, He wouldn’t care if you were Jewish, Muslim, or Christian.

Nadhim Zahawi

Mr Zahawi is thought to be a Muslim. He was the Minister responsible for the vaccine roll out and he has praised the contribution of churches to local and national life. As Education Secretary he said he was ‘proud’ to call the church his partner and he attended the 17fth anniversary of the founding of the Catholic Education Service.

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