News story

Keeping faith in the Big Society

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Andrew Stunell has said that faith groups are making a vital contribution to national life, and are integral to creating the Big Society.

Speaking to a large audience at the annual meeting of the Inter Faith Network for the UK, the Communities Minister told delegates that inter faith activity and faith groups were inspiring people to contribute to public service and providing support to those in need.

Mr Stunell, said:

“Faith communities make a vital contribution to national life, guiding the moral outlook of many, inspiring great numbers of people to public service, providing succour to those in need. They are helping to bind together local communities and improve relations at a time when the siren call of extremism has never been louder.

“Inter faith activity is more important than ever in our work towards the Big Society, so I want to push for more inter faith dialogue and action rather than individual faith groups delivering social projects.”

For the greater good

He added:

“People of faith are at the heart of civic society in local communities, and have been for decades.

“Of course there are many different approaches, but there is a shared goal: building understanding between people from different backgrounds - not just sitting round tables but working together for the common good and tackling shared problems - be it picking up litter or challenging the far right.

“It is not about compromising our individual beliefs - indeed we often come to understand and appreciate our own faith more when we are called upon to explain it to one another. But it is about respect for the other, the recognition of shared values and shared needs, and the will to action.

“Interfaith groups are part of what we want to see: people reaching out to each other across boundaries of religion to make life better for all.”