Friday the 5th of March

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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

‘Real reason for Christmas’ needs to be celebrated

MPs believe communities need to be encouraged to celebrate the ‘real reason for Christmas’.

The importance of Jesus Christ’s birth has been stressed in a motion tabled in Parliament by Democratic Unionist Jim Shannon (Strangford) and supported by Conservative Fiona Bruce.

Every person in the UK also has the right to say ‘Happy Christmas’, the motion adds.

It follows recent remarks by Prime Minister Theresa May, who said people must be able to “speak quite freely about Christmas” with Christians also free to speak about their faith.

Her comments came after a report from the ResPublica think tank warned religious freedoms are being eroded – and teachers, magistrates and other professionals have been disciplined and even sacked for living according to their beliefs.

Mr Shannon’s early day motion (EDM) states: ‘That this House reaffirms the right of every person in this country to use the phrase Happy Christmas.

‘(It) notes that we encourage communities to remember and celebrate the real reason for Christmas which is the birth of Christ, and to take the opportunity to enjoy time with loved ones as we a nation celebrate together.’

An EDM is a formal motion submitted for debate in the House of Commons, although very few are actually debated.

Ms Bruce (Congleton) has previously warned that too many people feel their faith is being “privatised” and that they cannot talk about it in public.

She added a series of cases relating to work practices and adoption that have contributed to a “chilling effect on the freedom of speech of Christians”.

Picture: Actors perform in front of the Nativity scene in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican in 2013. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia).