I heard Nick Clegg's revelation that he does not believe in God this morning on Radio Five and was, a little shocked and surprised he did not elaborate more on his answer (he did have the opportunity to do so and did so on other questions). But you have to admire his honesty and his ability to give a straight answer to a straight question.
Since then the BBC in particular seem to be wetting themselves in excitement over what Nick Clegg said. It was being discussed on Radio 4 and Radio Five on the way home form work this evening. But in what must have come as a surprise to the BBC, the Reverend Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and other religious people being interviewed did not seem to think it matters at all if a person believes in god or not. in their view it was your own personal values and morality that counts. I couldn't agree more.
The point was made very well for me when the Tory brought on to speak about the issue showed us why it is what people do that matters more than their religion. Tory MP mark Pritchard, who recently led a commons debate on "Christianaphobia" chose not to attack Mr Clegg for what he said, but then sought to misrepresent the Lib Dems real poll ratings in the most recent opinion poll and the party's policies as well questioning Nick Clegg's honesty over some policy areas.
To me, Mr Pritchard showed us all that although he is a Christian, he is not averse to bending the truth in a way that I would describe as being far from the values I associate with Christianity.
I believe that the values that Christianity teaches us, of fairness, honesty, selfless giving and of love and compassion are good values for anyone to follow, believers and non believers alike. Simply telling people you are a Christian but acting in a way that shows contempt for Christian values is hypocritical, and we have had enough of that from Tony Blair in recent years. I know a large number of Christians who are thoroughly decent people who are an example to others, but I have known a few over the years and met some on doorsteps when doing my politics, whose actions are reprehensible and the very opposite of the compassionate caring creed that I believe Christianity teaches.
So give me Nick Clegg, a man who may not believe, but allows and encourages his children to be Christians, a man who can shows understanding and tolerance of something he does not believe in himself any day over pompous and eluded Christians who talk about the values of Christianity but show contempt for them in their own actions.